What’s the recipe for success? Try combining Avril Lavigne’s lyrics, Miley Cyrus’ voice and Ke$ha’s wild club beats. At least, that’s what Miranda Cosgrove came up with.
Although Cosgrove’s new album High Maintenance is not a unique addition to the pop music world, the EP makes up for its lack of authenticity with some solid, catchy tunes.
High Maintenance is Cosgrove’s second EP. The album’s first single, “Dancing Crazy,” was released Dec. 21 and peaked at No. 49 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart. Its success makes sense: The single is catchy and youthful. The lyrics are all about dancing and having fun. In fact, the track is somewhat reminiscent of Cyrus’ “Party In the U.S.A.”
The song is co-written by Avril Lavigne, and the Canadian star’s inspiration is painfully obvious in the final product — even in its musical composition. The opening instrumentals are almost identical to those in Lavigne’s “What the Hell.”
Cosgrove even sounds like Lavigne at several points throughout the song. At other times, however, the song takes more Ke$ha-inspired twists.
When Cosgrove says, I like you, and you like me / We get together and we’re happy, she talks it more than she sings it, a technique clearly borrowed from Ke$ha’s vocals in songs such as “Tik Tok” and “Blah Blah Blah.”
Likewise, at the end of “Sayonara,” Cosgrove’s melody fades out with a deep, intimidating male voice, much like many of Ke$ha’s hits.
Although “Dancing Crazy” is a decent hit that reels in listeners with a mixture of contemporary pop characteristics, Cosgrove’s first single should have been “High Maintenance.” This is the song both male and female listeners will find entertaining and dance-worthy.
Cosgrove teamed up with alternative rock band Weezer’s lead vocalist Rivers Cuomo for the male-female duet.
The combination of vocals is a generally euphonious mashup. Although Cuomo is more than 20 years older than 17-year-old Cosgrove, their voices lend fun and flirtatiousness to an endearingly clever song.
Cosgrove continuously asks if wanting everything makes her high maintenance. Meanwhile, Cuomo answers, You crashed my new Ferrari then said, ‘Fix the dent!’ / Yes, that makes you high maintenance.
The funny lyrics are memorable and cute without sounding overtly cheesy.
Unfortunately, Cosgrove’s voice isn’t exactly memorable. Cosgrove often falls victim to the Justin Bieber predicament, sounding more immature and whiny than she should at her age.
Aside from the witty banter in “High Maintenance,” the lyrics on the rest of the album are overly mushy and almost laughable. Most of the songs, although catchy, are overwhelmingly clichéd and full of fluffy love references and silly rhymes.
“Face of Love,” for instance, has one of the best beats on the album. It’s intense and seductive in an almost Twilight-esque manner, but the lyrics eliminate any poignant meaning when Cosgrove sings the chorus: Something in your eyes / I recognize it / Baby, could you be the face of love?
In “Kiss You Up,” Cosgrove’s slower, ballad-type song, the lyrics are even cornier as she sings, Anytime that you want me round / I’ll be there at the speed of sound.
Similar lyrical issues arise in Cosgrove’s fifth track, “Sayonara,” which blatantly stereotypes Japanese culture. In the song, Cosgrove asks for someone to work me out like karate and says like a ninja out of the dark / I’ll steal your heart.
Cosgrove’s attempts to be creative and hip simply end up perpetuating archaic and simplistic notions of Japanese society.
Despite the weak lyrics, the Japanese stereotypes and the childish-sounding vocals, Cosgrove delivers an impressive album that is sure to keep garnering attention.
The songs might have horribly corny phrases, but none of them detract from the superb beats that will carry the EP, and Cosgrove, to success.