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Miley Cyrus' 'Bangerz' album ambitious, but falls short

This CD cover image released by RCA shows

This CD cover image released by RCA shows "Bangerz," the latest release by Miley Cyrus. Credit: AP

If they handed out Grammys for marketing campaigns, Miley Cyrus would be a shoo-in for the rollout of her new album "Bangerz" (RCA).

Unfortunately, it seems like she spent way more energy honing the launch and her twerk-tastic, attention-getting performance at MTV's Video Music Awards than finishing the rest of the album, which hits stores Tuesday, but began streaming on iTunes Tuesday.

While Cyrus shows a lot of ambition on "Bangerz," trying to unite the worlds of pop, country and hip-hop into a single sound, she falls short over and over again.

The album's lead-off singles -- the hip-hop-flavored "We Can't Stop" and the electronic-tinged chart-topping ballad "Wrecking Ball" -- capture the 20-year-old's plans best, declaring herself an adult artist and leaving all memories of "Hannah Montana" behind.

However, she can't keep up that momentum, resorting to blandly sampling "Stand By Me," passably rapping on "Do My Thang," and vaguely referencing her breakup with fiance Liam Hemsworth in "FU."

Her duet with Britney Spears, "SMS (Bangerz)," intriguingly sounds like a chopped-and-screwed version of Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It" before it peters out.

On the dance number "Someone Else," Cyrus sounds like she's struggling to keep up with the tempo changes, her vocals often falling behind the beat. In "4x4," which tries to mix country vocals with hip-hop rhythms and ends up failing on both accounts, especially after Nelly swings by to show her how its done, she asks, "I'm a female rebel, can't you tell?"

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Yes, Miley, the foam-finger fondling and tongue-wagging were good clues. But being a rebel without a cause these days seems like such a waste, especially when you have captured the world's attention.

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