Her hotly-anticipated album began streaming Monday (September 30) on iTunes, one week ahead of release (and two days before the premiere of her MTV documentary "Miley: The Movement.") And much like we gleaned from those small sneak peeks, Bangerz definitely, downright defiantly lives up to its name.
On "SMS," Cyrus dismisses an indecisive lover, raps with a twang and drops an f-bomb and over a roiling, raucous Mike WiLL beat and some slurry vocal samples (Britney Spears adds some serpentine vocals of her own). Oh, it kind of sounds like Salt-n-Pepa's "Push It" in parts, too.
"4x4" mixes hip-hop with hoedown, and finds Cyrus rapping about driving so fast she relieves herself — and trading verses with Nelly and Pharrell — and "Love Money Party" gets a big-time boost from guest star Big Sean.
There are rebellious moments, too, like "FU," where Cyrus plays the part of the jilted lover to the hilt, over a theatrical beat, and "Do My Thang," her bid for a self-empowerment anthem.
And those songs pair nicely with Bangerz's marked mature moments, like album-opener "Adore You," where she somberly sings, "Baby, are you listening?/ Wonderin' where you've been all my life," over plaintive pianos and softly shuffling drums.
Then there's "My Darlin'," a slowly simmering, boozy-and-woozy broken-heart ballad that features Future; and "Drive," which details a decaying relationship over a cold, coiled electronic beat. They're markedly mature efforts, suggesting that perhaps everything you think you know about Miley may be wrong.
But that's just our take. One thing's for certain, Miley certainly reveals plenty on Bangerz ... you can take from it what you will. It's a fully-realized, all-encompassing pop experience, one that's sure to thrill her fans and maybe — just maybe — silence some of her naysayers, too.
Don't miss "Miley: The Movement," premiering Wednesday, October 2 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on MTV!