She may be young, but Miley Cyrus loves what she does, fearlessly embracing new creative directions every chance she gets. That's the meta-message in "Breakout," her brilliant new Hollywood Records album.
"Breakout" is nothing less than Miley's declaration of artistic independence. Unlike the previous CD, half of which featured her performing as Hannah Montana, the new one is 100% Miley. She co-wrote eight of the album's 13 songs and put her stamp on every aspect of production.
Starting with the debut single, "7 Things," Miley establishes she is first and foremost a rocker. Co-written with Antonina Armato and Tim James, the song is pounding rebuke of faithless love, seen through the eyes of an angst ridden teen. Yet the video, directed with restrained simplicity by Brett Ratner ("Rush Hour"), brings out the vulnerability below the surface.
Miley keeps the tempo fast and furious with "Breakout" (co-written by the Go-Go's Gina Schock), a cry for freedom from regimentation (read: school). Even a heartbreak ballad like "Driveway," co-written by Miley with producers Scott Cutler and Anne Preven, pumps up the volume. Miley sings about global climate change on "Wake Up America," but does so in an upbeat way young fans can take in. And dance to.
Don't think you can catch a breath yet, because Miley's take on "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" converts the Cyndi Lauper classic into an iPod-ready anthem. The same goes for "Full Circle," a sparkling rocker with a Spector-esque wall of sound and sensational vocal from Miley, who co wrote the tune with Cutler and Preven. And then there's "Fly in the Wall," a fun and freaky rocker right down to the handclaps and bug-eyed tremolo refrain.
Miley throws a curveball with the gently pulsing "Bottom of the Ocean," a ballad that captures the pain of loss so precisely, it's hard to know how a happy 15-year-old could have conceived it. She keeps that theme going with "Goodbye," a beautiful ballad about a foundering relationship that still feels too alive to be over.
And then there's "Four Walls" and the (ironically) sonically complex "Simple Song," two tracks that push Miley ever further into self-reflection. Normally, kids don't indulge in this level of sophistication, but it became clear long ago that Miley Cyrus doesn't do things the normal way.
Born November 23, 1992, in Nashville, Miley grew up watching her father - country music superstar/actor Billy Ray Cyrus - perform. Soon enough, she caught the acting bug herself. After gaining experience as an extra in her dad's television projects, Miley acted opposite him in a recurring role on his television series, "Doc." She then went on to appear in the Tim Burton film, "Big Fish."
When a 12-year-old Miley first auditioned for the title role of the Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana," she was considered too young for the part, but that didn't stop her from pressing ahead.
Two years later Miley won the part she had worked so hard for, and her ascent to superstardom began. "Hannah Montana's" first season raked in some of the highest ratings ever for a Disney Channel original series.
In November 2006, the first "Hannah Montana" soundtrack came out on Walt Disney Records, featuring eight songs performed by Miley as Hannah Montana. The album shot to the top of the charts and became the first TV soundtrack to debut at #1 on the Billboard Top 200. The set finished the year as the #8 best-selling album, and is now certified triple-platinum.
Then came her 2007 two-disc set, "Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus," featuring ten original songs as Hannah, and ten songs as herself. Miley co-wrote eight of the ten tracks on that triple platinum debut CD, setting the stage for her record-shattering box office take on her 2007 "Best of Both Worlds" tour. She also had the #1 film in the country with the Walt Disney Pictures 3D release, "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert."
Currently, Miley is still riding high with "Hannah Montana," and she is wrapping up work on "Hannah Montana: The Movie," filmed in her hometown of Nashville. The film is scheduled for release on May 1, 2009. The third season of the hit television series "Hannah Montana" will resume production in Los Angeles in August 2008. Miley will also star in Walt Disney Pictures' upcoming animated feature "Bolt," due out November 2008. In the spring of 2009, Miley will release a book sharing her inspiring story, spanning from her Southern roots in Tennessee to the excitement of her record-setting triumphs in TV, music and film.
But as "Breakout" shows, Miley takes singing and song-writing as seriously as any other aspect of her career. And while she certainly has the momentum to carry this and every other project to success, it all starts with the creative spark that burns brightly within her. As she sings so movingly in the song "Full; Circle, which she co-wrote, "There's miles to go but we both know/That we'll make it/I know why."