Breakout | 3 stars out of 5
Disney sensation and budding amateur photographer Miley Cyrus “breaks out” on her new album, which is to say that her restrictive blond Hannah Montana wig has been shoved into the closet.
On Breakout, Cyrus favors an edgier, rock-centric sound, one that would get her squeaky-clean pop-star counterpart grounded for listening to it. Of course, “edgy” is a relative term, and we're still dealing with bratty mall-pop here.
Breakout is well-constructed, spunky pop, and Cyrus somewhat unconvincingly plays the role of Everyteen. For the world's most famous teen, whose photo scandals are the stuff of international uproar, being bored in history class and wanting to hit the snooze bar a few extra times would seem to represent the least of her problems.
Cyrus is better when discussing the tribulations of boys and girls in America. The Driveway reminds you how important that slab of concrete in front of your house can be to a young relationship, and the first single, 7 Things, shows how love and hate are the flip sides of the same coin when you're at the age when “dating” means holding hands between classes and walking each other to your lockers.
Cyrus — credited with co-writing more than half the album's tracks — is admittedly over her head when taking on bigger themes. Wake Up America is a call to action that is too lazy to even know what kind of action its asking for — but at least she's honest about it. “Everything I read's global warming, going green, I don't know what all this means,” Cyrus sings, “but it seems to be saying wake up America.” And if you wake up and figure it all out, America, be sure to let Cyrus know what's up, mmmkay?
But when it comes down to it, Breakout's thesis statement can be found in the title of the 25-year-old Cyndi Lauper tune Cyrus covers: Girls Just Want to Have Fun. And sometimes, that's all that matters.
Adam Graham, The Detroit News