July 23, 2008

Miley Cyrus’ ‘Breakout’

The push to turn 15-year-old Miley Cyrus into an adult verges on ridiculous these days. She's at that awkward age, where she's part kid and part adult and not really sure she wants to act as either all the time _ a problem magnified by her superstar status and the current drought of big new talent _ and, generally, she handles it all pretty well.

Her new album "Breakout" (Hollywood), however, captures her awkward in-betweenness and puts it on display. "Breakout" is supposed to be her debut as a "serious" artist, the album that shows she's ready to match up with the adults. Truth is, she's not.

The smash hit "7 Things" is a clumsy, but fun, mishmash of country jangle verses and pop-punk rave-up choruses, with vocals that are girlish, but trying to be more. Cyrus fares so much better on the bouncy title track and the peppy "Full Circle," which are both closer to her "Hannah Montana" material, and the pretty country-tinged ballad "These Four Walls," where she sounds far more accomplished.

The ambitions for "Breakout" also seem mixed. Cyrus' take on Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" sounds like it was recorded just so they could do a video or a sitcom bit. The synth-laden, '80s wanna-be "Fly on the Wall" sounds more like a cartoon theme song than something to be taken seriously.

For all the hype about Cyrus and her intentions for "Breakout" and her "adult" poses in Vanity Fair, the album really does seem to reflect who she is at this moment.

With all its advancements, "Breakout" may be the best tween-pop album ever to come from a 15-year-old TV-star-turned-singer. Unfortunately, that's not saying much. Lucky for Cyrus and her handlers, that won't matter to all her die-hard fans.


THE ALBUM "Breakout"


BOTTOM LINE She's a girl, not yet a woman and not yet an artist, either.


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