Hannah Montana is growing up - but not musically. Miley Cyrus's second solo endeavour is 8 tracks of sentimental samey slush, displaying no musical innovation, skill or soul. The Montana Money Machine rolls on.
It may be a tad cynical, but for someone like Miley Cyrus, quality is never really a factor that weighs heavily on her mind. For a millionaire teen star who has the majority of her decisions made for her by record company executives, all the Hannah Montana star has to do is turn up at the studio, sing the song's she's been told to sing, and watch the millions roll in.
An overly rudimentary way of looking at things? Perhaps. On the other hand, you could view Cyrus's modus operandi as being that of a singer/performer/actress, rather than a musician or songwriter, which is equally fine, of course. No doubt about it, the 16-year-old spawn of Billy Ray's loins can hold a tune - and as she grows up, she's eager to leave the Hannah Montana moniker behind, and flex her acting and musical chops in front of a different audience.
This 8-track EP follows up last year's dreadful full-length debut 'Breakout', and shows little to no development since. The fact that it was recorded especially to promote a clothing line speaks volumes: these are slushy, sentimental songs with no heart, no personality and no individuality whatsoever. There's puerile, processed pop ('Party in the USA'), Avril Lavigne-esque rock-chick schtick ('Kicking and Screaming'), several obligatory overwrought ballads, and even a 'heartfelt' live duet with the Jonas Brothers ('Before the Storm'). Most of these songs are written by other people, and it's no wonder, considering that when Cyrus does lift a pen ('Obsessed'), her unskilled lyrics unsurprisingly come across as a peek into an inarticulate 16-year-old's lovelorn diary.
It could be argued that people like Miley Cyrus are ultimately more damaging to the music industry than illegal downloading; by unleashing her vapid, soulless songs on the general public, she instigates a 'dumbing-down' of a young generation's musical taste. The fact that she was terrifyingly ranked on Time's '100 Most Influential People in the World' list in 2008 says it all: let's stop the rot before it really is too late.