Mitchell: Spotlight grabber
Yeah, yeah, yeah—the inappropriate twerking, the unwanted nakedness, and the constant off-putting grabbing herself controversies. I’ll leave that for the gutter press and titillating TV shows.
On a strictly musical basis, Bangerz isn’t a bad recording and far better than expected. Lets not forget H. Montana (which is what Cyrus wants her fans to do) had a huge recording career and it left Cyrus with a big, big bank-full of money.
But the thing is all about being there—at the top and in the limelight, proving your success “too high to come down” as Cyrus sings on Hands In The Air. And Cyrus has made her point with this album that has made its debut as the No.1 selling album in America.
On Bangerz, Miley sings a few power ballads, oddly starting this disc with the moody Adore You, while her co-opting of hip hop is aided and abetted by some of the genre’s biggest luminaries with Pharrell, Nelly, Ludacris, Big Sean, Future and probably a few more I can’t make out in the barely legible liner notes.
These guys can smell a cash cow when it is flashed in front of them, but again, these songs all stand up.
Check out the interesting ska undertones of the pop/hip hop of 4X4 and the retro ’60s girl group of FU featuring French Montana where Cyrus sounds like Lesley Gore trying to riff off I Put A Spell On You.
And, surprisingly, there is a lot of spare productions here where Cyrus and crew tend toward understatement musically.
Even the three bonus tracks on the Deluxe Edition wear well and are some of the better songs with the rootsy country hip hop of Rooting For My Baby and the Michael Jackson-inspired On My Own that wants to borrow the bass line from The White Stripes 7 nation Army.
But only time will tell if this new version of Miley ex-Montana Cyrus will stay on top.
Brave Enough (Epic)
Her fans will be wondering why there is a new album from Sara Bareilles just a few months after her fourth studio disc titled Brave.
Well, Brave Enough is a concert album and hence the new title that is subtitled Live At The Variety Playhouse...a small 800 seater in Atlanta Georgia.
This is a two disc CD&DVD set where Bareilles plays a bare bones gig with just her voice accompanied by her own piano and acoustic guitar.
The focus here besides saving on production costs is to showcase Bareilles remarkable voice which is abundant in spades and there are a few pleasant surprises for the ultra fan.
When she originally recorded the song Love On The Rocks a lot of people commented how it sounded a lot like Elton John’s Bennie And The Jets and so Sara B. has combined these two for an intriguing medley.
She also offers her unique slowed down version of Otis Redding’s classic Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay while she also performs her small but well loved selection of hits lsuch as her signature Love Song, King Of Anything and of course Brave.
The biggest surprise here is her closing encore song which is a nifty cover of Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road making this a nice little stocking-stuffer for the big Sara Bareilles fan...and perhaps best for fans only in spite of the intimate concert video.
TLC; 20 [EPIC]
TLC were one of the most successful acts of the ’90s with multi-platinum album sales and huge hit singles along with a couple of Grammy Awards.
They only released four albums but managed a dozen or more hits before the group broke up with inner tensions, squabbles and the tragic death of their best songwriter in Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in an automobile accident.
The trio has been anthologized more times than they released regulation studio albums and this new one isn’t particularly good.
TLC already have a definitive Best Of set with Now And Forever: The Hits that came out a decade ago. That collection had 19 tracks compared to this new 14-track CD title 20 which is the number of years ago that the group started, not the misleading number of tracks here.
This disc has come on the heels of the VH1 film release CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story and is mostly a cash cow in light of the former far superior Best Of.
However, this collection does have all their biggest hits including the early, energized street cred songs Hat 2 Da Back and Ain’t To Proud To Beg as well as their later sultry boudoir songs such as Creep, Waterfalls and Red Light Special.
The only selling point for this release is the single new song Meant To Be which is a pretty and honeyed harmony homage to their past successes. All the songs here are grade A songs but this collection is just too calculating.
Go pick up the aforementioned Now And Forever.