"Every time I do something, I want to remember, 'This is what separates me from everyone else,'" Cyrus says in the upcoming MTV documentary "Miley Cyrus: The Movement." "Bangerz" is neither the best nor worst pop album released this year, but it's inarguably the most fiercely individual. Never mind the "z" at the end of the album title, because one thing Miley Cyrus' "Bangerz" won't do is put you to sleep.
Which tracks on "Bangerz" are absolute stand-outs? Check out our track-by-track breakdown of Miley Cyrus' new opus.
1. Adore You - "I just started living," Cyrus sings over canned drums and string whispers. "Bangerz" wisely begins with a song that is emotionally mature but not overly provocative -- instead of immediately wagging her tongue at listeners, the singer proves that her passion can reside in short, vulnerable proclamations of romance.
2. We Can't Stop
Oh, you've heard this one already? "We Can't Stop" remains one of the more undeniable pop songs of 2013, with meme-able lyrics, delightfully zonked-out production from Mike WiLL Made-It and without a doubt the best intro of any summer smash.
3. SMS (Bangerz) feat. Britney Spears - Miley has described Britney Spears as an idol, and here, she emulates the pop queen's penchant for cheeky, "It's Britney bitch" button-pushing (sample line: "They ask me how I keep a man?/I keep a battery pack!") while shoving Spears to the second verse. "SMS (Bangerz)" is admittedly sloppy and rife with gimmicks… but that won't prevent anyone from at least scoping out a Britney/Miley duet on the LP, if only for the sake of curiosity.
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4. 4x4 feat. Nelly - Nelly has not been shy about collaborating with Nashville stars, and while Miley Cyrus is by no means a country artists, she might as well be on "4x4," a rhythmic hoedown about a "female rebel" trying to get her main squeeze some bail money. The deceptively simple arrangement grows on the listener after repeated listens; kudos to Cyrus, Nelly and co-writer Pharrell Williams for seeing this oddball concept through.
5. My Darlin' feat. Future - Those wondering why Ben E. King is listed as a co-writer on "My Darlin'" will have their answer as soon as Future and Cyrus croak a few bars of "Stand By Me" over a lilting Mike WiLL beat. Whereas Future's gonzo approach to R&B abetted Rihanna's "Loveeeeeee Song" last fall, he actually distracts from a pretty solid Cyrus performance here, and "My Darlin'" ends up getting swallowed by a sea of blinking synths and unthawed crooning.
6. Wrecking Ball
The power and purpose of "Wrecking Ball," Cyrus' first No. 1 single on the Hot 100 chart, is amplified after a handful of good-but-not-great love songs on "Bangerz." Although "Adore You" and "My Darlin'" showcased a young singer trying to mesh her revamped style with time-honored romantic tropes, "Wrecking Ball" is a blunt, bruising breakup song she immediately understands how to handle.
7. Love Money Party feat. Big Sean - Cyrus pounds on the ground and begs Mike WiLL Made It to concoct a grimy, haunted-house beat to match up her fired-up manifesto. Unlike Mike WiLL's own single "23," in which Cyrus awkwardly spat bars to keep up with the bullet-time rhymes of Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J, the singer sounds more at ease next to Big Sean's start-stop punchlines on this bleary-eyed banger.
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8. Get It Right - In 2012, way before his "Blurred Lines"/"Get Lucky" resurgence, Pharrell Williams added two mid-track list standouts to a pair of high-profile pop albums, Usher's "Looking 4 Myself" ("Twisted") and Adam Lambert's "Trespassing" ("Kickin' In"). The producer does the exact same thing on "Bangerz" with "Get It Right," a stylish breeze defined by whistling -- yes, whistling -- and a chopped guitar lick. Cyrus sounds absolutely in love with the vibe here, as she should.
9. Drive - Mike WiLL's murky energy slams head-on into Cyrus' shock over a betrayal, with mixed results. The production zig-zags impressively, and while Cyrus delivers another compelling performance, one wishes that the metaphor-laden hook contained the same impact as the dazzling "Wrecking Ball."
10. FU feat. French Montana - Whoa, when did Miley Cyrus transform into Lady Gaga? This campy piano flare-up is the lone howler on "Bangerz," with lyrics ("Then I accidentally saw a few things in your cell/I even LOL'd, man I should've known") that will cause plenty of SMH-ing. French Montana's brief appearance on the track is just as inexplicable as the song itself.
11. Do My Thang - Cleanse your palate of the flat-footed "FU" with the official anthem of "Bangerz," musically and lyrically. "Do My Thang" finds Cyrus doing just that, tossing out lines that grow more absurd by the second as the gooey synthesizers and snapping percussion combine for a lovably ratchet cocoon. It's takes guts to present words like "Bang bitch, you think I'm strange, bitch?/It's bananas like a fucking 'rangutan, bitch" with a straight face, but Cyrus' fearlessness was never in doubt on the album.
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12. Maybe You're Right - Walloping drums and guided by a far-off chorus of "whoa-oh-oh's" as Cyrus relates her predictably deteriorating romance to the chapters of a book she knows all too well. With hints of gospel influence, "Maybe You're Right" can be interpreted as an autobiographical glimpse inside Cyrus' dynamic with her ex-fiancee; after admitting, "You might think I'm crazy… Maybe you're right," the singer strides forward and unapologetically belts, "This chapter's done."
13. Someone Else - It's fitting that Cyrus' last declaration (on the standard edition of the album, at least) of her new self and dismissal of past baggage comes alongside a Mike WiLL Made It beat that finds the hip-hop maestro spilling over into shimmering synth-pop. "Someone Else" does not completely resonate, especially at its running time, but it makes for a fascinating listen nonetheless -- much like "Bangerz" in its entirety.