Miley Cyrus – Breakout

More people seem to be invested in Miley Cyrus’ trip to adulthood and maturity than will vote in the election. Ever since her conception at the hands of the robots at Disney, Miley’s been sheathed with the unavoidable fixation of the media and the unyielding adulation of fans everywhere. From the iniquitous Vanity Fair pictures to other shots of Miley in various stages of undress, her maturation has been a veritable goldmine for our celeb-obsessed culture and pervy granddads.

All the while, Ms. Cyrus has been coated in the ditzy gloss of Disney mania. Given the mantle of the Innocent Teen, Miley betrayed us all by acting like the Normal Teen and getting busted cold for it. The truth came crashing down like a ton of glitzy bricks: Miley Cyrus was ours and she blew it.

This girl can’t grow up. Not yet. We’re not prepared.

So Miley apologized for the Vanity Fair stuff, denied a few rumours here or there, and was back in our good graces right up until the moment she started talking about a Sex-less show and her new album. Her new one was going to be more adult, more mature, and it was going to have nothing to do with that Hannah Montana crap.

Uh-oh.

Called Breakout, Miley’s latest is amazingly quite good and often very telling. The most evident and distinguished characteristic of the album is her voice. It’s quite good, not “OMFG good” just yet, but it’s certainly quite satisfying to listen to. And she’s not afraid to take risks with it. I expect she’s able to exhibit her vocal qualities better than any member of Danity Kane. Yeah, I went there.

Don’t worry, parents, Miley’s not going all Madonna on your asses. The “provocative” nature ofBreakout is largely confined to being dissatisfied, missing out on life a little, and kissing boys… ever so lightly… on the cheek. No bare skin, no backseat romps, no drugs, no smuggling immigrants across the border in the back of Billy Ray’s pickup truck.

Instead, Miley’s talking about being stuck in class (“Breakout”) and how she doesn’t understand it fully, but believes we should take care of the environment (“Wake Up America”). Refreshingly candid, Cyrus is impressive on the latter when she claims to not know what the issue is all about but knows we need to take better care of our world.

And “Fly on the Wall” kicks all sorts of butt thanks to its immaculate production and swirling dance-rock stuff.

There are moments that feel torn from an Avril CD, but Miley’s able to bring things up a touch and exceeds the Canadian pop-punk princess in go-getting energy on “Full Circle” and “The Driveway.”

There are some clunkers on here, of course, but even the bad songs show some signs of life. Take “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” for instance. Miley takes the Lauper cover and tries to conquer the feebly-produced track with her vocals, only to come across sounding more like a girl who just wished she could finally have some fun and less like a girl who knows what fun actually is.

So, like, yeah. Trust me, I’m as worried about this as possible. Not only does Miley have the nerve to think about growing up and adulthood and all that stuff, but she didn’t just go all Avril-lite on us.

Other reviews have Ms. Cyrus’ vocals on Breakout coming off a bit like a young Bonnie Raitt. At first I laughed at this assessment, but after a few listens it becomes clear that Miley Cyrus is capable of something special in music. Breakout may not be watertight, but it is certainly a good record and exceeded my expectations a great deal.

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