Hannah Montana

Hannah Montana Forever

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Collecting songs from the final season of the show that made Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana household names, Hannah Montana Forever doesn’t shy away from the fact that this is the end, or that Cyrus and her fans are growing up. Instead, these songs attempt to showcase the growing range of music Cyrus and her audience are listening to, but the results are all over the place. From “Gonna Get This,” a reggae-pop duet with Iyaz, to “Are You Ready”'s new wave-tinged dance-pop to the quintessentially Miley acoustic ballad “Been Here All Along,” the album sounds scattered instead of versatile. Worse, Cyrus' voice borders on annoying on several tracks, including her talk-singing on “Que Sera”'s verses and “Kiss it Goodbye”'s harsh vocalizing. However, on the Sheryl Crow duet “Need a Little Love,” Crow helps Cyrus find a more nuanced take on her raspy, rootsy singing style. Not surprisingly, the album’s best songs are about farewells and embracing whatever may come next. Cyrus says goodbye to Hannah on “Ordinary Girl,” to Billy Ray Cyrus on the father-daughter duet “Love That Lets Go,” and to her friends on “I’ll Always Remember You,” a sappy but effective ballad tailor-made for middle-school graduation parties. By the time the album closes with “Barefoot Cinderella,” an easygoing pop track that sounds remarkably like Cyrus’ hit “Party in the USA,” Hannah Montana Forever proves that everyone involved with Hannah was ready to move on.

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