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'Bangerz' Reviews Find Critics Split: Is Miley Cyrus' Album 'Utterly Fresh' Or 'Attention-Seeking'?

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BANGERZ
This CD cover image released by RCA shows "Bangerz," the latest release by Miley Cyrus. (AP Photo/RCA) | AP

Miley Cyrus' "Bangerz" has officially landed. Blasting its way onto the music scene following a week of online streaming, the album extends Cyrus' cultural dominance for yet another news cycle -- not that it needed much assistance. Released opposite new albums from Korn, Panic! at the Disco and Sleigh Bells, Cyrus is all but guaranteed the No. 1 spot on the Billboard chart next week, but critics are divided on the quality. Some heap praise on "Bangerz" while others chastise Cyrus for its amalgam of sounds. Here's what some top critics are saying in reviews that have been published as of Tuesday morning.

Jon Carmanica, The New York Times: "In its lineup and sound, 'Bangerz' serves as a catalog of the now, borrowing from several of the latest movements without being beholden to a single idea or crew. ... The results are scattershot, but sometimes great, reflecting an artist still making sense of new inputs."

Nick Catucci, Entertainment Weekly: "'Bangerz,' executive-produced by shrewd Atlanta beatmaker Mike Will Made It, is the onetime Disney star's fourth studio album, but her first as the master of her own destiny and — with the two lead singles already landing at No. 2 and No. 1 — a pacesetter in music. It's also utterly fresh, a pop blitz from a hip-hop blueprint, and proof that Miley won't settle for just shocking us."

Marlow Stern, The Daily Beast: "'Bangerz' might be the most schizo album of the year. It isn’t a bad thing, but may prove disorienting to some listeners. ... No other singer in recent memory has assumed as many vocal inflections as Cyrus does on 'Bangerz.'"

Jessica Hopper, SPIN: "The entertainment value of Cyrus' work is more than simply typical pop pleasure: It is the slow-motion horror of watching toxic sleaze replace toxic purity (cf. Dave Hickey). Her work has always engaged our puritanical American mores at their most Plasticine extremes — from saccharine virgin to knowingly fellating a sledgehammer with doe-eyed upward gaze, at once both banal and pernicious."

Jon Dolan, Rolling Stone: "'Bangerz' is the sound of Hannah Montana gone 'Miami Vice.' ... It's strange but it's also traditional: Her Disney-steeped voice never takes a back seat to the wide-ranging production (from the likes of Pharrell, Will.i.am and Dr. Luke), and Billy Ray's daughter rocks a country vocal during several tracks."

Mikael Wood, The Los Angeles Times: "There's plenty more provocation on 'Bangerz,' which moves away from the glossy electro-pop sound of Cyrus' earlier records toward a grittier, hip-hop-inspired vibe. ... Yet for all the attitude here — there's also 'Do My Thang,' a live-it-up club jam co-produced by will.i.am — 'Bangerz' reveals that Cyrus isn't just a twerk-bot programmed to titillate (though there's always a need for one of those in pop music)."

Kitty Empire, The Guardian: "'Bangerz' feels stitched together in the dark, and the attention-seeking begins to grate. ... It might be a different story if many of the hip-hop- and R&B-inspired cuts were better."

Robert Copsey, Digital Spy: "The opener in question, 'Adore You', is a swooping yet low-key ballad about an intense relationship that feels neither showy nor disingenuous. ... What ensues from there is a mess of sounds that shift dramatically and unexpectedly between pop, hip-hop, funk, country, R&B and dance. Fortunately, it's a mess of the 'strategically hot' kind she recently spoke of in the LP's accompanying documentary."

Amy Sciarretto, PopCrush: Essentially, with ‘Bangerz,’ Miss Miley was allowed to be wound up and let go and to run musically amok as she wished. Ultimately, she has cast the net wide and fast. Listeners are left guessing who and what the real musical Miley Cyrus is, which was likely her intention.

Jason Lipshutz, Billboard: :"'Bangerz,' Cyrus' fourth studio album and RCA Records debut, is, for better and worse, the sound of a singer following a pair of enormous singles with a full-length completely from the perspective that birthed those two hits. ... Sometimes, the 20-year-old's vision needs to be adjusted. ... But more often than not, Cyrus' daring attitude guides her to invention."

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