After months of think-pieces and faux outrage and Nicolas Cage GIFs, Miley Cyrus‘ Provocative Adult Phase has crested, in the form of the hyper, not-as-hip-hop-as-advertised, kitchen sink jumble that is Bangerz. And it’s a lot to take in. Miley left seemingly no pop genre unturned, sneaking in a fair amount of country twang and lovelorn balladry amidst all the sex and drugs on the album.
With a full-length that’s so all over the place, it’s probably not surprising that the reviews run the gamut as well. It would appear no two reviewers heard the same record. In his 2.5/5 review, our own Sam Lansky wrote that Miley’s “talent gets muddied in pursuit of a something less enduring,” arguing “Bangerz isn’t as satisfying a listen as anyone would want; the highs are high but the lows are pretty abysmal.”
That’s our take. Head below to see the rest of the reactions to Bangerz.
:: SPIN was even rougher on Bangerz than we were, smacking it with the Worst New Music label. “Bangerz is a precise album that flits between bombastic and turgid; it is not very fun… It’s strange to think that anyone could find this record offensive or controversial.”
:: Rolling Stone gave the album a respectable 3.5/5, calling it a “party grenade.” “‘I just started living,’ she sings on the starkly beautiful album opener, ‘Adore You.’ There’s as much terror as power in that realization. That’s what makes it stick.”
:: Billboard scored Bangerz a 70/100, saying it’s “neither the best nor worst pop album released this year, but it’s inarguably the most fiercely individual. Never mind the ‘z’ at the end of the album title, because one thing Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz won’t do is put you to sleep.”
:: The UK’s Observer slammed the LP with a 2 out of 5, saying “Bangerz feels stitched together in the dark, and the attention-seeking begins to grate,” while pointing out that “when it’s not an almighty attention-seeking device, Bangerz is an album about very public heartbreak.”
:: The L.A. Times scored the record a 3 stars out of 4, positing that it “reveals that Cyrus isn’t just a twerk-bot programmed to titillate.”
:: Pretty Much Amazing handed out the harshest critique, with a D+ for the “largely embarrassing” album. “What I wanted when I sat down to listen to this album was an album that would validate the most exhausting internet buzz cycle I’ve ever lived through,” the reviewer laments. “This album needed to live up to its title, and, well, it doesn’t. It’s as tedious as the buzz cycle itself, maybe more so.”
:: Entertainment Weekly had nothing but praise, handing out an A-. “[Bangerz is] utterly fresh, a pop blitz from a hip-hop blueprint, and proof that Miley won’t settle for just shocking us.”
:: The AV Club graded it a B, arguing “there are weak points on Bangerz, but not very many,” and concluding, “With its fresh, smart takes on youth, heartbreak, and modern culture, Bangerz is a record that could very well legitimize Miley Cyrus.”
:: The funniest and probably most honest take of the whole bunch came from Noisey’s ALL CAPS review: “I ENJOYED A COUPLE JOINTS ON HERE BUT WHATEVER, COUPLE OF THESE SONGS ARE OK MOST OF THEM SUCK… I GIVE THIS SHIT 2.709 PILES OF PILES DUTCH GUTS OUTTA 5 THIS SHIT LOST POINTS FOR BEING WACK AND GAINED POINTS FOR BEING OCCASIONALLY NOT WACK.”
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