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Friday, June 25, 2010

Track-by-Track: Miley Cyrus - Can't Be Tamed

Ah, teen pop. I approach these albums with lowered expectations but am often happy when they offer more than I expected. Miley Cyrus has been quite consistent this way, no matter the genre. The music is always better than it has to be, and you get the sense (whether right or wrong) that she's actually got some say in what she performs. In other words, it's convincing. It probably doesn't hurt that she's getting the best writers and producers. Still, Can't Be Tamed is a solid pop album, another to add to her solid pop career.

1. Liberty Walk - Ushers in her new phase of Gaga-esque dance pop with a chanty verse, big chorus and some great processed drums. I'm not sure if it's the perfect album opener, but as a declaration of intent it's pretty damn good. 9/10

2. Who Owns My Heart - Delving even further into dance/club sounds, this is another strong, melody-driven song written about the pitfalls of fame. The chorus is as instant as it gets, but the pulsing beat stays with you. 9/10

3. Can't Be Tamed - It seems to have split listeners' opinions down the middle, but I still think it's a flawless 2010 pop single. Sure, it follows trends, but it's tight, performed well and has a great middle eight. 10/10

4. Every Rose Has Its Thorn - As with her Cyndi Lauper cover a few years ago, this shouldn't work. But it turns out that Cyrus's raspy vocals fit the song perfectly. The production cheapens a bit after the first chorus, but it's still a strong version of the song. 9/10

5. Two More Lonely People - Combines a galloping beat with a sugary pop melody to stunning effect. The surging middle eight is all too fleeting. It's exactly the kind of song I'd like to see more of in the U.S. 10/10

6. Forgiveness And Love - A slow, Beatle-esque ballad. It's an odd choice for Cyrus (almost too grown-up?), but the melody's nice. Never really gets beyond "nice," but that's okay. 7/10

7. Permanent December - My favorite song on the album, an anthemic club track that's got more vocoder on it than an army of Katy Perrys. But it doesn't matter when the chorus is so good. In fact, in this case the stupid lyrics don't even matter. Get this on the radio! 10/10

8. Stay - The strongest ballad on the album, it's a gentle, piano-led track that's similar in sound to Cyrus' own Goodbye. 9/10

9. Scars - A rockier, uptempo track, though it gets a little lost in the shuffle for me. It's adequately sung and produced, but not very original. 7/10

10. Take Me Along - Got a little bit of Coldplay grandeur to it, with an extended piano intro and some anthem-in-waiting choruses. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite gel. Feels too serious without a serious melody to support it. 7/10

11. Robot - A big, aggressive rocker with a vitriolic chorus sung by what sounds like a hundred Mileys. Usually these "angry about fame" tracks fall short, but the sound here is so massive that it works. It's all about that high note in the chorus, though. 9/10

12. My Heart Beats For Love - A hymnal closing ballad with the trademark Tedder-drums (though I don't think he produced this). The melody's quite good, if a bit repetitive. 8/10

Album Grade: 8.7/10

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