CNN — Miley Cyrus promised a different sound with her new album, "Bangerz," and it sounds like the 20-year-old pop star has delivered.
Her fourth studio release, which was officially released Tuesday but has been streaming online for about a week, has been largely well-received, with several critics noting how much of a departure it is from her prior three albums:
"Miley Cyrus spent a good portion of her adolescence playing two people on a television show, so it makes sense that her new album has something like a split personality," critiques the Los Angeles Times. "There's plenty more provocation on 'Bangerz,' which moves away from the glossy electro-pop sound of Cyrus' earlier records toward a grittier, hip-hop-inspired vibe."
Rolling Stone agrees that "'Bangerz' is the sound of 'Hannah Montana' gone 'Miami Vice' ... It's strange but it's also traditional: Her Disney-steeped voice never takes a back seat to the wide-ranging production (from the likes of Pharrell, Will.i.am and Dr. Luke), and Billy Ray's daughter rocks a country vocal during several tracks."
"Bangerz" is also, for "better or worse," largely from the point of view and sonic perspective that birthed chart-toppers "Wrecking Ball" and "We Can't Stop," Billboard observes. While that may bode well for her sales success, it causes the record to falter in places.
"In other words, the album finds Cyrus working with who she wants to work with, singing about what she wants to sing about, as if she's a kid in an arcade with a pocket of limitless quarters," Billboard says. "Sometimes, the 20-year-old's vision needs to be adjusted."
But that sense of freedom and strong-willed independence is what sets this disc apart from Cyrus albums of the past.
"'Bangerz,'(is) ... her first (album) as the master of her own destiny and — with the two lead singles already landing at No. 2 and No. 1 — a pacesetter in music," Entertainment Weekly says in its review, which awarded "Bangerz" an A-. "It's also utterly fresh, a pop blitz from a hip-hop blueprint, and proof that Miley won't settle for just shocking us."
Have you taken a listen to "Bangerz"? If so, what'd you think?