Miley Cyrus’ BANGERZ Is The UK #1 Album Despite The Criticism

October 16, 2013

The 1st single from 20-year-old Nashville native Miley Cyrus’ 4th studio album Bangerz: ‘We Can’t Stop’  hit the UK back in June and landed straight at number one. The video met some criticism, but the general consensus was the music was good, so the negativity died down for a while. As the sun set on the UK festival season and Britons were still obsessing over cold cider and the new wave of folk music, countryfied pop and EDM, the distant rumble of the MTV Video Music Awards storm sent a ripple across the Atlantic.

The breeze of controversy that blew in from the US overnight was nothing compared to the hurricane that followed.

Miley Cyrus’ medley performance of We Can’t Stop/Blurred Lines/Give It 2 U  at the MTV VMA’s  and accompanying twerk-fest was hot news the next day in the UK. Suddenly, Cyrus was everywhere you looked. Sunday newspaper supplements were given over to large-scale interviews on this bold new face of pop. Radio DJ’s were clamouring for interviews, people wanted the details.

Then came the Wrecking Ball  video. Cue the media and public reaction that was to follow.

For every person who approved, there were equally people who looked on in disdain. The VMA performance collided with such criticism that soon, the ONLY topic of discussion relating to Cyrus, was that of controversy. Even BBC Radio 2‘s Jeremy Vine hosted a discussion on the subject. On the one hand people were enjoying the music, on the other, they were calling her the token ‘bad influence’ and it wasn’t long before other musicians weighed-in on the matter. Irish singer Sinead O’Connor sent an open letter to he US star via her Facebook page which read:

“Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.”

Ouch! But a surprising defendant came in the shape of Sir. Paul McCartney who balanced the argument by saying:

“I don’t think it was explicit at all. You couldn’t see anything. I watched it as an experiment to check, but you look at it and you say, ‘What’s everyone shouting about?’ She’s a young girl – she’s like only 20 or something – and she’s just having a go. Someone said to me that the world that people like Miley live in is all noise and they’ve got to get above the noise. So they’ve got to do something.”

He went on to add:

“I think it was only mildly shocking, she was dancing with Robin Thicke at the awards. So what? C’mon, we’ve all seen worse than that.”

Love her or hate her, the plan was to get everyone’s attention before the release of  her fourth studio album Bangerz  and it worked. The UK was paying attention and not only did the lead single from the album: We Can’t Stop  debut at #1 back in June, the second single: Wrecking Ball  repeated that success two weeks ago.  Bangerz  topped it all off by debuting at #1 this Sunday making it a back-to-back success story all-round for Cyrus on the UK charts. The album beat  Chase & Status’ Brand New Machine  for the top spot.

Suddenly, nobody is talking about Cyrus the ‘Twerk-Queen’ anymore, the headlines are simply about the success of the music. Rightly so, because taking a step back from the cynicism surrounding the grand marketing scheme, the music is brilliant. Cyrus’ gorgeous native southern tones and fantastic vocals are ever apparent. And, the heightened media frenzy surrounding the release of the music did something very important; it exposed her to age groups that may not have otherwise been aware of the music, thus enabling maximum sales potential.

Whether Cyrus is acting a part or not is irrelevant. She is naturally a strong character, and if anything, her apparent freedom from the usual restraints of the industry are appealing. The phrase ‘She shouldn’t behave this way, she’s a role model’ has become one of the public/media/peer’s mantras that tends to overlook the role of being a parent. It is not up to a musical artist to raise our children; Cyrus is no puppet, she’s a smart, deep thinker who see’s the bigger picture than most, despite her tender years. So perhaps regardless of what some critics may think about her image, she is a better role model for ANYONE than let’s say; someone who doesn’t want to work?

After this initial huge success for Bangerz  in the UK, it will be interesting to see if Cyrus sticks to the tried and tested sexy, chart-dominating approach, or whether she’ll change the game again. Will the shock factor wear off? Perhaps, but as long as she remains true to herself, no matter what that might be, nobody can take her energy and ambition away from her and an artist armed with that is a force to be reckoned with.

Lucy. J.


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