Miranda Cosgrove is best known as the star of Nickelodeon's hit show "iCarly," but she has been gradually building a reputation as a top shelf pop singer over the past few years. Her debut album Sparks Fly was one of the most underrated gems of 2010, featuring exquisite writing and production care of the likes of Max Martin, Dr. Luke, Avril Lavigne and Rodney Jerkins. Cosgrove's natural charisma and sharp voice sat at the center of the proceedings, bringing together the beats and teasing out the hooks. Her new EP High Maintenance just hit stores, and its five tracks expand on the ideas first set forth in Sparks Fly. With the help of friends both old (Lavigne and Martin both return) and new (Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo contributed to the title track), High Maintenance could elevate Cosgrove to a whole new level in the pop world.
The reviews concur. "Cosgrove comes back stronger — and sharper — on High Maintenance," wrote Entertainment Weekly critic Mikeal Wood. "'So what if I break a few glasses, kick a few asses?' she sneers over a menacing synth riff on the electro-stomping title track. Fathers, lock up your sons."
The Boston Herald also digs Cosgrove's movement from teen star into more adult pop. "On this five-song EP, 17-year-old 'iCarly' star Miranda Cosgrove positions herself somewhere between a less-moody Avril Lavigne (who co-wrote lead single 'Dancing Crazy') and a Ke$ha-in-training party girl," wrote critic Lauren Carter. "High Maintenance is mostly high-octane fun, Cosgrove's all-grown-up soundtrack to letting loose and testing the rules without breaking them."
Other writers thought Cosgrove's new EP suffered from growing pains. "Though her duet with Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, with its bratty talk of crashing Ferraris, might be funny or appalling, depending on whether you pay the insurance, the party-all-night anthem 'Dancing Crazy' never gets more provocative than a kiss," Brian Mansfield wrote for USA Today.
The Washington Post also felt the EP's general tone felt a bit off, but critic Allison Stewart was impressed by the EP's lead single as a sort of modern pop catch-all. "[The] lead single, 'Dancing Crazy,' tries everything, all at once: the bratty speak-singing of Avril Lavigne (who co-wrote it), the stuttery electro-pop of Lady Gaga, the age-appropriate party heartiness of Miley Cyrus," she wrote.
What do you think of Miranda Cosgrove's new EP? Let us know in the comments!