While possibly making lots of musical decisions based on public image, Cyrus’s singular strength of crafting personal melodies couldn’t overcome empty and lackluster collection of short songs this album came to be, thanks to the shallow acoustic sound and the rather lazy, repetitive progressions.

There may have been lots of underlying things Cyrus was trying to accomplish in this album, most likely pertaining to her work on her public image, but all it really became was an empty and lackluster collection of short songs without any musical firepower to keep attention or garner emotion. In the midst of the shallow acoustic sound and the rather lazy, repetitive progressions was the one small but important strength of Cyrus, which was her ability to craft melodies that could make each song personal and mean something beyond the words. However, the wheels kind of fell off in the second half of the album in terms of finding actual substantial intrigue in melodic shape and motion. Still, melody was the most successful element in every song and showed that this was the work of a passionate musician over someone wrapped up too much in cultural significance or icon status. It was especially impressive that the lead single of the album, “Malibu”, was actually the best song and used Cyrus’s strengths to the fullest. That provides the sliver of respectability and worth that this album has. Overall, there was nothing exciting or remarkable about the featured acoustic guitar simply going through motions and providing quarter note harmonic rhythms. Keeping the textures bare and simple, which gave off a sense of insecurity and fear to sound big, didn’t do these songs any musical favors, like in the song “She’s Not Him”. There was a bit of buoyancy in the reliance on the acoustic guitar, as it rarely sounded bothersome and was never out of place. Without any other strong, dynamic additions to the texture, though, it was mostly nothing more than boring. Perhaps it was a decision made based on image or intent to sound mature, but as an isolated work of music the sound was quite a letdown. “Malibu” is a pretty decent song, but nothing is worthy of being remembered past the year. This has a rather high influence score for now, which pushes it into respectable ground, but watch this lose its worthiness as time goes on.

Melodic Intrigue: 31/50
Harmonic Creativity: 24/50
Timbral Effectiveness: 22/50
Intangible Influence: 25/30

Final Score: 102/180

 

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