Oh, to be the most famous teenager in the world — a queen even among Biebers, and the lesser (but still fluorescent) lights of the kiddie-aimed cosmos. So it is that Miley Cyrus’ growing pains, her ”Don’t call me Hannah Montana!” cris de coeur, are not recorded in a padlocked diary or a social-media status update, but writ across an entire album. On a label owned by Disney Inc., no less.
It’s hard not to read an indictment of her time with the House the Mouse Built in many of Can’t Be Tamed‘s defiant lyrics, from the girl-on-the-verge title track to thumping album opener ”Liberty Walk” (”Free yourself, slam the door/Not a prisoner anymore”) and downright mutinous ”Robot” (”Stand here, sell this, and hit your mark/?I would scream but I’m just this hollow shell”). This shell, of course, still has some of the best songwriting and production talent that money can buy: seasoned pros who bring sometimes too much studio-buffed luster to already solid songs like ”Forgiveness and Love,” a sweet, breezy soft-rock redux; the driving, Roxette-esque ”Two More Lonely People”; and fragile piano plea ”Stay.” Elsewhere, ”Permanent December” flaunts Cyrus in full-on Ke$ha mode, all Auto-Tune and talk-rap sass, while the soaring, organ-soaked power ballad ”My Heart Beats for Love,” a song she seems aching to rip into with real force, easily trumps her pale, pasteurized take on Poison’s 1988 hair-metal nugget ”Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Despite her best rebellious efforts, Miley’s just not (yet) that thorny a girl. B?