June 21, 2010

Album Review: Miley Cyrus - Can't Be Tamed

If Miley Cyrus wants her music to be more important to people than what's depicted of her in tabloids and paparazzi photos, she needs to distinguish herself from the countless other pop stars who already do what she does, only better. On her new album, Can’t Be Tamed, the seventeen-year-old starlet not only lacks any hint of individuality but substance as well, sounding as if she's grasping at straws with each track to find one groove, one hook, one something that works. And not much does.

These are just, in the most generic sense possible, tracks to fill the space of an album. And from the monotonous opener, “Liberty Walk,” it slogs through one formulaic, overbearing dance beat after another. Added to that is Cyrus’ singing, which when left alone would likely reveal some potential with its deep tone, yet here too often dissolves into processed, robotic distortion. That there is actually a track called “Robot” doesn’t make such production tricks any more reasonable. Other moments, like the she’s-too-young-to-get-it cover of Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and the stale plea of “Stay” — featuring such trite lyrics as, “I love you more/Than I did before” — follow the same uninspired pattern.

While she's no doubt earned an impressive and sizable following through her lead role in Disney’s Hannah Montana franchise, as a recording artist in her own right, Miley Cyrus has yet to find her own voice, let alone one that can speak to (or for) others. And though the album isn't completely without merit — the last track, “My Heart Beats For Love,” is a refreshing, catchy tune — she’s not doing anything on Can’t Be Tamed that any other teenager with modest talent and comparable resources couldn’t just as well pull off.