Hannah Montana grows up

Hannah Montana grows up

Let's get back to the music, shall we?

Shove those controversies out of the way - Miley Cyrus' twerking at the Video Music Awards, risque publicity shots by Terry Richardson, and the torrent of open letters from the splendidly rebuffed Sinead O'Connor.

So, does Bangerz deliver?

A resounding Y-E-S, if the idea is to swing a Wrecking Ball to the former Disney child star's cherubic image. Bangerz - something "that radiates unbelievable swell or swag", says Urban Dictionary - tries its darnedest to do that.

Committed to getting a rise, it is, sonically, all over the place.

Critiquing/ pining for ex-boyfriend Liam Hemsworth and staking her own identity as someone who has "just started living", it hits all buttons, right and wrong.

On one hand, it's a parent's nightmare (although I'm pretty sure her showbiz daddy Billy Ray Cyrus' heart won't be achy-breaky).

On the other, this, her post-Hannah Montana debut, sounds utterly heartfelt.

Structured like a Michael Bay action thriller stacked to the rafters with effect after special effect, it has the semblance of a rebellious adolescent acting out but means well.

Peddled as "dirty south hip-hop", the album hand-stitches elements of hip-hop and country with the anodyne genius of a teenage Frankenstein - and hooray, it works (sometimes).

"I came in like a wrecking ball/I never hit so hard in love," she emotes in Wrecking Ball, like a love child of Pat Benatar and chest-thumper Celine Dion - although one suspects she's aiming for O'Connor's emotional ambivalence in Nothing Compares 2 U, judging from the teary face-to-camera rip-off in the music video.

It's in such confessionals that you get to know Cyrus better. She sounds exposed in the spectral dirge Adore You, which swirls with strings and a few languorous beats; and genuinely p****d in FU, the Aguilera-esque showboating number featuring rapper French Montana.

And when she yells "you might think I'm crazy" in Maybe You're Right, a pop-stomper that outdoes Kelly Clarkson, you want to applaud. Heart aside, when she wants to have fun - she's only 20, you know - she does it with no qualms.

#GETITTIGHT, produced with finesse by Pharrell Williams, is so ridiculously slinky, you'd almost miss the line: "I'm dancing in the mirror/I feel like I got no panties on." Empowered? Exploited? Who cares. She sets pop culture on fire, and everyone laps it up.


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