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Talk IS cheap, isn't it...?
on August 31, 2010
You ever get that awful feeling that maybe you've prejudged someone harshly? Everyone around you deems it `uncool' to like someone and so you, before even testing the waters, label someone a talentless hack and assume that you hate their music. I was kind of like that with Miley Cyrus. That said, I did have some inclination that she wasn't the most talented star in the sky (I mean, it's impossible NOT to hear her music somewhere) but I never took the time to settle down and really listen to what she had to offer. I remember a few months back (maybe a little more than a few months) when I stumbled across a live performance she gave on a local radio station for her song `The Climb' and before I knew it was Miley I found myself aching to hear who this singer was, because the song was beautiful and the singer was doing a superb job. Then I heard that it was Miley. I shrugged off my feelings and moved on. After watching `The Last Song' and continually hearing `When I Look at You' in my head for nearly a week now I decided that I just needed to listen to her music and judge for myself.
Could I have been wrong all these years?
I decided to snatch up this little EP in my attempt to expand my Miley horizons, namely because I absolutely love `When I Look at You' and I've always considered `Party in the U.S.A.' to be a major guilty pleasure for me (yes, the song gets me kind of giddy). It just seemed like the perfect stepping stone.
With the exception of the AWFUL `Talk is Cheap', `The Time of Our Lives' is a pretty solid if un-ambitious (is that even a word?) offering from this pop star. `Before the Storm', the albums closing live duet with those Jonas Brothers, is a mixed bag for me. I actually like the song, but that main Jonas kid has one of the most obnoxious voices out there (he is trying so hard to sound good that he sounds ridiculous) and it drags the song down for me. Miley also doesn't have the most powerful live voice, and so you can hear the straining there. Some artists really shouldn't release live material, or if they do it needs to be a stripped down intimate feel that allows room (and even encourages) vocal flaws. `The Time of Our Lives' is fun, if not a tad uninspired. It feels slightly dated and certainly serves as a transitional song for Miley (as in, it still feels very Disney in scope). `Kicking and Screaming' opens the album with some edge, a little kick to it, and I like that. It isn't a very strong or memorable song to be honest, but it's effective.
`Obsessed' has a little awkwardness in parts, but overall it's quite the ballad and really shows where Miley hits her stride. Once her vocals are cleaned up in the studio and given the uplifted musical arrangements, she soars.
And still, the pop-princess attitude of `Party in the U.S.A.' and the emotionally stirring `When I Look at You' are the best on the EP and the reasons I purchased this album. They really work on all levels, and Miley has never sounded better than she does on `When I Look at You' (seriously, it baffles me how much I adore this song).
In the end I must admit that she has more talent than I expected. I also must be honest about the fact that she doesn't have nearly as much talent as your twelve year old daughter tells you she does. She's in the middle there somewhere, but I expect that she'll get better with time and I look forward (did I just say `look forward'?) to hearing (and possibly watching) what she does next.
A solid C+ effort here.