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Breakout is Miley Cyrus' second studio album that was released on July 22, 2008 by Hollywood Records.

TracklistingEdit

  1. Breakout 3:26
  2. 7 Things 3:33
  3. The Driveway 3:43
  4. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun 3:06
  5. Full Circle 3:14
  6. Fly On The Wall 2:31
  7. Bottom Of The Ocean 3:15
  8. Wake Up America 2:46
  9. These Four Walls 3:28
  10. Simple Song 3:32
  11. Goodbye 3:50
  12. See You Again (Rock Mafia Remix) 3:16

Album BackgroundEdit

"Breakout" is Cyrus' second studio album and her first not be affiliated with the "Hannah Montana" franchise, which was intended to be reflected by the title of the album.

She believed it was her "breakout record", where she was going to "show everyone what Miley Cyrus is all about."

Cyrus further explained the album was also appropriately titled because it portrayed her "stepping away from Hannah but just a little bit different."

She also decided to title the album after the song "Breakout" because it was "one of [her] favorite songs."

Cyrus believed that compared to previous albums, "Breakout" was "grown-up" and "just a little more creative." She aimed to incorporate a sound influenced by rock music, saying "the writing is definitely different...the lyrics mean more than my last couple of records".

According to Cyrus, the album documented, in depth, the events that occurred in her life in a year span.

Most of the songs were written as Cyrus traveled on the Best of Both Worlds Tour from October 2007 to January 2008.

The recording commenced immediately after the tour came to an end, and seized in March 2008 as Cyrus was filming "Hannah Montana: The Movie" in Tennessee soon after. She expressed that, through each song, a listener could discover something about her and about themselves.

Of connecting with her fans through "Breakout", Cyrus claimed she wanted "girls to feel to be able to feel empowered and just feel like they can kind of rock out", going on to say that, "listening to this music, I hope they can feel like a reason to dance and just smile and to have fun. This CD is totally age appropriate, specially for me".

CompositionEdit

"Breakout" was written by Ted Bruner, in collaboration with Trey Vittetoe and Gina Schock of the Go-Go's. It was first recorded by Katy Perry, for her second album One of the Boys", but it was never included for the album and was passed on to Cyrus (on whose version Perry sings backing vocals).

Like most songs on the album, Cyrus wrote "7 Things" while traveling on the Best of Both Worlds Tour, reflecting on her numerous emotions about an ex-boyfriend.

She claimed her use of the word "hate" demonstrated how furious she was, at the time. Originally, the song was more "soft and nice" but Cyrus says that she "went nuts" during the recording process and gave the song a harder sound.

Cyrus decided to record a cover version of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" from her album, "She's So Unusual" after speaking with Lauper at the 50th Grammy Awards.

The two singers were conversing about music, when Lauper stated: "Well, don't be scared of anything. People waste their lives being scared. Lasso the moon. But don't do it because someone tells you it's the right idea."

Cyrus believed Lauper's saying encompassed the direction she wanted to take on the album; ergo, she covered "Girls Just Want to Have Fun".

However, Cyrus desired for the cover to be completely different from other covers of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" she heard. She described the process as "almost [having] to relearn the song." About the finished product, she said, "When you listen to the song, it's, like, you're not even sure what it is. It's something completely new."

"Full Circle" was co-written by Cyrus, Scott Cutler, and Anne Preven about Cyrus' relationship with Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers. According to Cyrus, "It's about two people. They're always gonna come back together no matter what anyone says, the bad people that try to keep you apart."

"Fly on the Wall" was written by Cyrus with the aid of Armato, James, and Devrim Karaoglu. "Fly on the Wall" was intended for the media, regarding "how they think they know everything about [her], when they don't. They want to be a fly on my wall and watch [her] 24/7."

Cyrus explained it was about attempting to avoid paparazzi but they appeared, "not going away like little annoying flies."

Cyrus was inspired to write "Bottom of the Ocean" by her deceased fish, Lyric and Melody, who died when Cyrus was eleven years old.

She said the topic drifted drastically once she began writing, stating: "It's saying if there's someone you've loved but for some reason you can't love them anymore, you have to take your feelings, scoop them out, and put them at the bottom of the ocean."

Cyrus, Armato, James, Aaron Dudley co-wrote "Wake Up America", a track about environmentalism. The song was directed towards "the people in the back seat", children of today's generation; she said that, in the future, they would be the ones "driving [the] Earth to what it's gonna be."

She concluded: "It's the only one you got, so you gotta take care of it. And if you don't, there's gonna be, maybe not for you, right then, and your generation but your kids and their kids ... Every generation has a cycle that'll carry on for the rest of eternity."

Cyrus recorded a cover of Cheyenne Kimball's "Four Walls" from the album The Day Has Come" for the album, titled "These Four Walls".

The twelfth and final track is a remixed version of the hit "See You Again", referred to as the Rock Mafia Remix and the 2008 Remix.

Chart PerformanceEdit

"Breakout" debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, making it Cyrus' third number-one album on the chart, selling 371,000 copies during its debut week and becoming the fourth-highest sales week of 2008 for a female artist.

It was certified platinum by the RIAA and has sold 1.5 million copies since its release.

Critical ReceptionEdit

"Breakout" received generally positive reviews, earning a collective score of 66 out of 100 on Metacritic.

Heather Phares of Allmusic commented that Breakout's title expresses its "purpose nicely" though the music was not drastically different from Hannah Montana's, adding, "only a handful of songs truly break out from the Montana mold".

Though not being impressed by "nothing [being] left to chance", she concluded, "Even if these songs are derivative of much more established pop divas [Avril Lavigne and Britney Spears], they provide clues to the kind of company Cyrus aims to keep. And while Breakout isn't as much of a breakthrough as it could be, it still moves Miley closer to an identity and career outside of Hannah."

Kerri Mason of Billboard wrote, "While it's still age-appropriate for minors, Breakout is for the big kids too" and complimented Cyrus for being a "natural-born popstar."

Sarah Rodman of The Boston Globe felt Cyrus mostly succeeded while "trying to please most of the people most of the time" on "Breakout." She summarized: "With Breakout, Cyrus has clearly made a choice to break from the shiny, happy 'Hannah Montana' character, but she hasn't scuffed her sound up so much that her fans won't recognize that she's just being Miley."

Chris William of Entertainment Weekly graded the album a B and noted that the first half of the album was "fun" but the second half became "overly ballad-heavy," assuming that was the more mature side of Cyrus she had promised.

Miakel Wood of the Los Angeles Times stated: "In that respect, Breakout is unlikely fodder for the razzle-dazzle road shows and 3-D concert films to come. As a portrait of the artist as a young malcontent, though, it's rarely less than fascinating."

Ben Ratliff of The New York Times said Cyrus' attempt to leave Hannah Montana was weak, only being driven by "more gray thoughts".

Ratliff continued: "She eases up on songs with total-affirmation chants about being the captain of her ship ... The lyrics are half-terrible — almost too realistic as teenage thoughts — but the best of them transmit the desired message ... It’s a lackluster album, floated by two or three strong singles."

Josh Timmermann of PopMatters believed that the album was "a just-okay teenpop record with audible suggestions of said singer-songwriter aspirations. To be sure, it’s a stronger collection of songs than Moms and Dads with upturned noses ... would probably expect."

Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine rated the album two and half stars out of five, being disappointed and deeming the songs not to be a "worthy follow-up" to "See You Again". Cinquemani finished, "For teen-pop, your kid could do worse. You know, like Avril [Lavigne]".

Mordechai Shinefield of The Village Voice wrote: "If her lyrical prowess hasn't caught up to her voice yet, that should only hold promise of things to come. She's a rare talent; now she only has to survive until adulthood."

Ash Dosanjh of Yahoo! Music gave the album seven stars out of ten and referred to Cyrus, in "Breakout", as the ideal of the American Dream: "a combination of hard work, good Christian living and un-smutty pop".

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