Miley Cyrus' 7 Best Pre-'Bangerz' Songs

Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana
The Disney Channel/Photofest

Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana

Miley Cyrus didn’t totally shake her tweeny bopper Hannah Montana image until her 2013 album Bangerz, but that doesn’t mean her oeuvre was without merit before she came into her own as an artist. She snuck in a few great pop songs in the transitional period -- even if we’re not sure whether to credit Miley or Hannah for their finer qualities. Here are a few that stand out.

“See You Again” (2007)

From the confusingly titled Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus album, this one’s so good that Kacey Musgraves gave it a beautifully chill acoustic cover in 2013. But don’t miss the original, either -- the pop arrangement lends a jumpy explosiveness to the chorus. And Musgraves didn’t dare change the best lyric: “You asked what’s wrong with me/My best friend Leslie says, ‘Oh, she’s just being Miley.’”

“7 Things” (2008)

It’s far from perfect -- that chorus is a mess -- but it’s worth noting for one solid lyric: “When you mean it, I’ll believe it/If you text it, I’ll delete it.”

“The Climb” (2009)

This soaring, inspirational entry on the soundtrack to Hannah Montana: The Movie marked her first hit that any self-respecting adult could listen to without apologizing and showcased Cyrus’ serious vocal abilities. Unsurprisingly, it’s since become a staple of singing contest shows.

“Party In the U.S.A.” (2009)

An indispensable party song, the first of Miley’s to break through with the cool kids, and a perfect paean to the power of pop music.

“Liberty Walk” and ”Can’t Be Tamed” (2010)

These twin entries from the Hannah-free Can’t Be Tamed share a theme that is not uncommon for a child star trying to become an adult star: She would like for people to let her do what she wants. Cliché though it may be, it’s a genre that has produced a number of excellent pop songs, from these two to Britney Spears’ “Overprotected” and Christina Aguilera’s more aggressively sexual “Dirrty.”

“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” (2010)

This cover of Poison’s greatest hit also appeared on Can’t Be Tamed, and it's revelatory of Cyrus’ greater-than-previously-believed vocal gifts. In fact, one of her strengths is her ability to own a cover: She’s since performed Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and Paul Simon's “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” to great effect.