Can't Be Tamed is clearly a weak follow up to both the album Breakout and last fall's EP Time Of Our Lives. The feeling is a bit like Miley Cyrus simply painting by numbers in an effort to sound more adult. If Can't Be Tamed is an indication, her teen life was much more exciting and fun than the boredom and posturing of being more adult. Miley Cyrus has stated she intends to take a hiatus from recording following this album to discover more about her true musical style. That sounds like the best direction to take at this juncture. Can't Be Tamed finds her simply treading water musically.
Goodbye to Pop?
In interviews Miley Cyrus has stated that Can't Be Tamed will be her last album and that she needs to find a new direction. After listening to the album, she may have a point. Although most of Can't Be Tamed is laden with dance pop, it sounds like her heart definitely is not in it the way she added teen fire and energy to the breakthrough hit "See You Again." However, one of the best moments on the album is when she takes on Poison's classic hair metal ballad "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." Miley Cyrus has a much publicized friendship with Poison lead vocalist Bret Michaels, and she does a credible job updating his signature song. Perhaps it is simply her family background appearing to reclaim the focus. The songs here that have country or rock edges are clearly the most interesting.
Buried In the Mix
Too many of the tracks on Can't Be Tamed seem so eager to grab a place on dance-pop saturated pop radio that burying Miley Cyrus' voice and personality in the mix is the price to pay. A song like "Who Owns My Heart" glides along on a peppy beat, but the overall sound is faceless and dull. Can't Be Tamed reaches its lowest moments when an auto-tuned sing-speak Miley Cyrus apes Ke$ha on "Permanent December."
Top Tracks on 'Can't Be Tamed'
- "Can't Be Tamed"
- "Every Rose Has Its Thorn"
- "Two More Lonely People"
Miley Cyrus Turning Point?
Cant' Be Tamed isn't so much a bad album, as it is dull and uninspiring. Perky dance-pop, emotional ballads, and trendy cuts are all here, but it feels like we've been down all of these paths before. It is a perfect time for Miley Cyrus to pull back and reassess her musical direction. It's not shown off nearly enough on Can't Be Tamed, but she has a distinctive country-edged voice that also sounds comfortable in the rock ballad context. The next step when Miley Cyrus does return to music will be a closely watched one. For now Can't Be Tamed sounds like a somewhat lifeless holding pattern.
Released June 2010 by Hollywood Records.