Today’s POP RESCUE from an obscure fate is the 2008 album Breakout – the second studio album by American artist Miley Cyrus, but is this album worth setting free, or on fire? Read on…
This 12 track album opens with the drum fill of title track Breakout, which has a distinct guitar rock feel to it. Miley is soon on the mic, singing about how she hates school and can’t wait for the bell. Bass, drums and guitar keep this song well and truly in the rock genre, and Miley’s vocals make light work of this rock style, even if this song was originally a Katy Perry recording.
This is followed by lead single 7 Things, which opens with strumming acoustic guitars and strings. Miley sounds a tiny bit like Natalie Imbruglia in the first verse, but then the chorus picks up the pace and she definitely doesn’t sound like her – more like a female McFly. This song is more mellow than the previous track and feels warmer and catchier. The single stalled – peaking at #25 in the UK.
Chugging guitar leads us into third track The Driveway, and sees Miley show off her vocal range – and she really shines here. However, the chorus feels somewhat generic as if it could be interchanged with either of the previous song’s choruses.
This is followed by a bass and strings version of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – a cover of Cyndi Lauper‘s classic 80s hit. Musically, the mixture of hard snares and bass drum, with strings, electric guitars and Miley’s vocals really works well. I quite like this.
Next up is Full Circle, which opens with some bleeping synths before Miley and yet more electric guitar wall of sound follows. Apart from the synth, this sounds pretty similar to the angst teen-rock-pop we’ve heard so far.
This is followed by Fly On The Wall, which by contrast is a great little song. There’s plenty of echoes of Britney Spears here and perhaps a little Lady Gaga. Miley’s vocal range here is perfect, and she’s playful with the vocals on this fun song. The electric guitar, drums and bass are perfect with the lyrics. Sadly, this third single only took her to #16 in the UK. She was robbed.
Again, by contrast next song Bottom Of The Ocean, is a soft, gentle vocal-focused song – almost a ballad. Synthscapes swell around Miley’s flawless voice. The feint sound of waves and gulls lead this wonderfully mellow song out.
Returning to the snarling teen high school rock style is Wake Up America, which sounds like an eco-friendly themed song in a bid to make young American’s ‘take care of it‘. It feels cringeworthingly as awkward as Rebecca Black’s viral hit Friday, mixed with a Geography teacher trying to be cool.
This is followed by These Four Walls which has a melody that instantly reminded me of Bob Dylan’s hit Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, but with Miley singing over the top. I’m pretty sure that it’d be easy to do a mash-up abomination, if it hasn’t already been done. Having spotted this, the rest of the song felt irrelevant.
Piano ushers in next song Simple Song, which gives Miley another song in which to shine. The piano and Miley alone take the chorus, with some simple ‘sing a-long – la la la la aaaa‘ lyrics. This is quite a catchy little song, and it flows perfectly, again making her sound a bit like Natalie Imbruglia.
Acoustic guitars and finger clicks take us into penultimate song Goodbye, which feels quite summery, and sing-along. Again, Miley’s vocals shine here, and she sounds rich, confident, and at ease singing this kind of song. It definitely feels like it is/was the final track on the album – perhaps this is where it ends for some editions.
The album closes with See You Again (Rock Mafia Remix), a remix of her 2008 single. This mix gives her a dance-rock sound – with a dance beat slapped over the original. The sinister twangy guitar feels at home whilst the europop remix synths sound perfectly in place alongside it. This is a really catchy track, and it went on to help give her exposure to a wider international audience.
Over all, there’s plenty of whiney teen rock-pop going on here. But, amongst these are some real gems – Fly On The Wall, Goodbye, Bottom Of The Ocean, and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, are to name just a few. These are the glimmers of evidence that shows that Miley had some signs of escaping the constraints of her Miley Stewart character and delivering some more mature sounds. It’s worth a listen, but you might want to acquaint yourself with the skip button.
Where is Miley Cyrus now?
Miley has continued to record and release material, as well as court controversy. In the UK, she has seen intermittent chart success with singles either hitting the top 10, or falling outside the top 30. Her most recent charting UK single was 2014’s collaboration with Future and Mr Hudson – Real And True – which flopped at #92.
Despite this, her most recent charting album – Bangerz (2013) provided her with her first #1 in the UK. Her most recent album over all, is 2015’s Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, which was released as a streaming album, and didn’t chart in the UK.
In 2013 she ignited a long-running row with Sinead O’Connor, referring to the latter’s mental health problems. This saw both artists gather increased press exposure, with the pressure on Miley for derogatory comments towards mental illness.
POP RESCUE RATING
- POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 3 / 5
- 2008 UK CHART PEAK: #10, certified Platinum.
- POP RESCUE COST: £2.99 from a British Heart Foundation store.