Miley, Miley, Miley. (Miley, Miley, Miley, Miley – there, is that enough for web search purposes?) The most blogged-about Cyrus spawn (sorry, also-ran Trace) is currently finishing a run of either the most obnoxious or genius (or both) marketing campaigns ever. Because while everyone was busy furiously talking about Miley, the Personal Brand, she was busy readying Miley, the Product – her new album, provocatively titled Bangerz.
With that, she’s almost daring everyone to hate on it. So just how many of these Bangerz are actually bangers? It turns out, not quite so many. But we’ve handily ranked each track on that album with how much it will want to make you do what Miley appears to love so much – shake her butt. (And that’s meant in a totally non-judgey, go-girl-enjoy-your-twenties kind of way).
Let’s strap on our safari helmets and dive into this potential jungle of hot mess….
1. “Adore You”
Sure, Miley has to at least pretend to try every once in a while to be a serious artiste. But when you title your album freaking Bangerz, you don’t start it off with a song that is the complete opposite of a banger. By about 2:17 you’ve gotten the point that this is Sad Miley, so sad she forgot to buy a good album-opening song. The bad part is that there are 2 minutes and 21 seconds still to go after you realize that.
Butt-shake rating: 0, basically comatose.
2. “We Can’t Stop”
All of the background to this song has already been discussed to death – yes, this is infamously the song Miley came up with when she told songwriters she wanted something that felt “black.” This, and many other incidents since, have shown that girlfriend needs many lessons on racial sensitivity and privilege.
The other problem, though, is this is a song about partying but it sounds like the most boring party ever. If you were dancing with the, uh, girls mentioned in the song – like Molly – do you think you would be plodding along at a lazy 80ish bpm? No, right?
You could totally sing along to this drunk, though. The melody is super catchy. But you know that because you’ve heard this a million times if you ever leave your house.
Butt-shake rating: 3, but could vary with intoxication levels.
3. “SMS (Bangerz)” feat. Britney Spears
Finally a real banger, y’all! Miley kind of rips off Ke$ha’s (ripoff) sing-rap style here but it works because of Britney, biatch. Britney has entered an amazing, Dolly Parton-like phase of her career in which she’s become a super-campy, super-exaggerated version of herself and it’s super endearing.
Britney makes this song. The best moment – by which I mean ridiculously over-the-top – is when Miley sing-songs, “You know I’m on that meeee-ow,” and Britney jumps in, all, “Quick to scratch your eyes out.” Fierce, kitties!
Butt-shake rating: 5
4. “4 x 4” feat. Nelly
No matter what we do, country-rap is a thing now and Nelly is wringing every last drop of its juice to come back. Good for him, but Miley, Florida-Georgia Line used him first, and this doesn’t really fit in with the rest of your album at all. This is a smart way to sew all radio-format seeds, though, so good work. Also, we get it, Miley isn’t scared to say “piss” over and over again. Actually, again, Nelly is the most important part of this.
Butt-shake rating: 3 or maybe 4, if you’re in boots.
5. “My Darlin’” feat. Future
That low wail you hear far away is all the R&B/rap-type tastemakers who wanted Future to be some kind of purist dude that they could file away ONLY with Ciara, Miguel, and so on. Too bad, so sad, he “lowered” himself to work with Miley but GUESS WHAT, THE SONG IS ACTUALLY PRETTY GOOD.
The Drake-worthy production here (courtesy of Eardrummerz) works – sad-boy/sad-girl sparse beats with the occasional robo-voice warble which means real feelingz. This is so much better than “Adore You” – how, how, how did that go on the record first?
Butt-shake rating: Okay, only like 1, because it’s a Sad Song but it has some serious low-end so that’s not a bad thing in this case.
6. “Wrecking Ball”
Blah, blah, blah, that hot-mess video. Pretend you never saw it and listen to the song without all the emotional baggage. Not a bad little (albeit somewhat exhaustingly produced) pop ballad, right? This is worth saving for your lonely car cries.
Butt-shake rating: 0
7. “Love Money Party” feat. Big Sean
Oh good, the lyrics here are appropriately at the level of a$$-a$$-a$$ Big Sean. “A party ain’t nothin’ but a party when you party every day it ain’t nothing but a party,” Miley sing-songs after the first chorus. That’s deep, right? While the beat here is in fact banger-worthy, though, the rest of the song falls flat. Plus, Miley’s version of trying to sound R&B or something often just falls back into a country-lite twang, which sounds okay a few songs before with Nelly, but weird and nasal here.
Butt-shake rating: 2.5. You guys tried.
A song with a hashtag as a title usually means it’s really aiming to be an anthem, the kind of thing you type after tweeting some embarrassing nonsense, a la #YOLO and such. This one, “#GETITRIGHT” doesn’t really work like that, but what is weird but awesome about this is that it’s a major-key, sunny pop song about sex.
It sounds like Miley should be singing about soaking up the sun or something, and instead she’s talking about licking some muscle dude. It’s unclear if she really meant it to be so subversive but it kind of is.
Butt-shake rating: 3 or 4, if you are one of those mythical celluloid women in a commercial who dances around in your fabulously huge apartment in unreasonable underwear.
This starts with a really bad brostep-lite beat and just no, no, no. Girl, bye.
Butt-shake rating: 1 for effort I guess
10. “FU” (feat. French Montana)
How about a sleeper surprise near the end of the album? This starts out like a vaguely Latin brass-inflected near-show tune that almost makes the unnecessary brostep grinds forgivable.
Miley shows her Disney performer dramatic roots here but it works a lot better than when she’s trying to sing R&B with a flat, blasé intonation. Christina Aguilera she is not, vocally, but here’s some credit for trying. French Montana is pretty superfluous here.
Butt-shake rating: 4, if they’re slow, sexy butt shakes
11. “Do My Thang”
…And right after that, she goes back to the “R&B” voice with the flat, blasé intonation.
12. “Maybe You’re Right”
This plays like it was conceived as an anthemic, woman-scorned-turned-victorious kiss-off. Well, maybe it was conceived of that way, but it plays out entirely unforgettably. Boring.
Butt-shake rating: 0, just about as comatose as “Adore You”
13. “Someone Else”
Uh-oh. "If you're looking for love, it don't live here any more," starts this song. Watch out, we've got a badass! This is, again angry but still-raw, post-breakup Miley, perhaps. Here's where she also tries some real R&B trilling with her voice, to varying success. The plus side of this thing is a fairly chunky low-end.
Butt-shake rating: Gonna call this at a square 2.5. You know when strippers are dancing but also look really bored? This is the song equivalent of that.
So there you have it – 13 tracks of a couple true bangers, and many songs that are actually not bangers at all. Still, there are some (relative) gems in there among all the other not-gems-at-all…. And do you think any critical reviews are gonna cramp Miley’s style, anyways?
Arielle Castillo is Fusion's culture editor, reporting on arts, music, culture, and subcultures from the streets on up. She's also a connoisseur of weird Florida, weightlifting, and cats.