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Breakout
Breakout
Released  July 22, 2008
Format  {{{format}}}
Label  Hollywood Records
Catalogue no.  {{{catalogue}}}
Previous  Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus
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Breakout is the second studio album by American recording artist Miley Cyrus, released July 22, 2008, by Hollywood  records. Its title was influenced in being Cyrus' first record not affiliated with the Hannah Montana series, coupled by her fondness for the title track. Cyrus composed many of the songs on Breakout as she traveled the world on her Best of Both Worlds tour, co-writing 8 of the 13 songs. Most songs feature writing credits for Antonina Armato and Tim James. Overall, Breakout is dominant on Pop Rock, but also explored many other genres. Lyrical themes addressed in the album relate to breakups and coming of age.

Breakout was met with generally favorable reception from critics, though some believed the tracks were not a big departure from the Hannah Montana franchise. The album encountered commercial success and introduced Cyrus in new countries. The album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 for one week; Cyrus's third album to do so, and was eventually certified platnium by the RIAA. Breakout as sold over 1.5 million copies in the US.

Three singles were released from Breakout. "7 Things" was released as the lead single from the album on June 17, 2008; it was commercially successful, reaching the top ten on charts in Australia, Japan, Norway, and the United States. It was followed by the Rock Mafia remix of "See You Again" which was released on August 8, 2008 in countries in which the original version was not. The remix expanded on the success of "See You Again" by appearing on charts in several countries. The third single, "Fly on the Wall" was the final single, released on February 12, 2008. Though it did not duplicate the success of previous singles, reaching its highest peak at number sixteen in the UK Singles Chat. Cyrus performed songs from Breakout at numerous venues and embarked on her first world tour, the Wonder World, to promote the album in late 2009. The album has sold over 1.5 million copies in the United States, and nearly 3 million worldwide.

Background

Cyrus is a singer-songwriter and actress who starred as Miley Stewart, a girl with a secret double life as the popstar Hannah Montana,  on the Disney Channel television series Hannah Montana . Through the television series, Cyrus developed fame as a teen idol and released music while being credited to Hannah Montana. Cyrus' debut studio album, titled Meet Miley Cyrus, was released as the second disc of the Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus (2007) double-disc album. 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." Cyrus 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. Recording commenced immediately after the tour came to an end, and seized in March 2008, for Cyrus was to film Han Montana: The Movie (2009) 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, she 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".

Development

"Breakout" was written by Ted Bruner, in collaboration with Trey Vittetoe and Gina Shock of the Go-Go's. It was first recorded by American pop singer Katy Perry for her second album One of the Boys (2008), though it was never included for the album and was passed to Cyrus, on whose version Perry sings backing vocals. Like most songs on Breakout, 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, "7 Things" was more "soft and nice" but Cyrus says she "went nuts" during the recording process and gave the song a harder sound. She decided to record a cover version of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" from the album She's So Unusal (1983), after speaking with Lauper at the 50'th 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 Breakout, ergo she covered "Girls Just Want to Have Fun". However, she 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, Cyrus 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 Cuttler, and Anne Preven about Cyrus' relationship with Nick of The Jonas Brothers. "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", Cyrus said of the song's concept.

"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 papparazi 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 of age. She said the topic drifted drastically once she began writing. "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 enviromentalism. 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." "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", she concluded. Cyrus recorded a cover of Cheyene Kimball's "Four Walls" from the album The Day Has Come(2006) for Breakout, 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; "See You Again" was originally released on the Meet Miley Cyrus disc of Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus.

Composition

Overall, Breakout is dominant on pop rock but explores a variety of other musical genres. The opening track, "Breakout", is a dance-pop number with elements of pop rock and teen pop, that begins with a fast beat, composed of chiming electric guitar and drums and later progresses to "the snares skip and the keyboards shimmer"; "ecstatic beats" pummel throughout. The song's lyrics are "a girls-only call to fun" that anecdote on feelings about coming of age and the desire to be school-free. The uptempo refrains of "7 Things" are pop punk influenced. The song is "a three-tempo patchwork quilt", transitioning "from sensitive breakup song in the strummy verses to punky-pop kiss-off in the double-time choruses." "7 Things"' lyrics list seven traits Cyrus hates about an ex-boyfriend. "The Driveway" is a Power Balled, whose lyrics regard a breakup, insisting "nothing hurts like losing when you know it's really gone." The cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" replaces the subtle reggae undercurrent in the original version with a more rock music driven sound that includes pop punk beats and string stabs. The lyrics of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" primarily discuss the "desire to let loose with one's friends", touching upon details of the life of an overworked child star. The song "Full Circle" is composed of a several pop rock hooks; in one of the hooks, Cyrus finishes various words with "Oh, oh, oh!". The lyrics describe not quitting a relationship.

"Fly on the Wall" is prominently an electropop song that is also composed of a number of hooks, which yell the song's title, while the instrumentation relies on electric guitars. Unlike other songs on Breakout, "Fly on the Wall" has Cyrus' voice processed to sound different. The song's lyrics taunt "the listener for being on the outside of her inner sanctum". The target of the message has been interpreted differently by contemporary critics – an ex-boyfriend and the media have most commonly been referred to. "Bottom of the Ocean" is a contemporary ballad that contains a sound reflecting influences from minimalist music, along with elements of Ambient music. The backdrop for the "feel-bad" love song features ocean wave sounds. The track "Wake Up America" has a "cheeky riff-rock backdrop" as its, while its lyrical content concerns environmentalism, where Cyrus mainly pleads for audiences to give the Earth "just a little attention". In the first verse, she "admits that she doesn't know exactly what's up with this global warming but believes there's something we should all do about it". "These Four Walls" is a power ballad accented with country pop elements and twangy vocals and lyrics which speak of an interior narrative. "Simple Song" has "bile" sound and is lyrically about moments in coming of age where a person "can't tell which way is up, which way is down" and they feel the need to alienate themselves. In "Goodbye", Cyrus' vocal performance is more "roosty" with a more "natural-sounding accompaniment" while, in the lyrics, she finds her remembering the "simple things ... until [she cries]." "See You Again" (Rock Mafia Remix) is dance-pop number, fusing sultry vocals with techno beats. The track has Cyrus detailing previous scenes and plans to redeem herself.

Critical Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic (positive)
Billboard (positive)
The Boston Globe (positive)
Entertainment Weekly B
Los Angeles Times (positive)
The New York Times (mixed)
PopMatters (5/10)
Slant Magazine (average)
The Village Voice (positive)
Yahoo! Music (positive)

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 than 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 Angelas 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 Breakout 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 Breakout 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".

Track List

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. Breakout

Gina Schock - Ted Bruner - Trey Vittetoe

Scott Cuttler - Anne Preven 3:26
2. 7 Things Miley Cyrus - Antonina Armato - Tim James John Fields 3:34
3. The Driveway Cutler - Preven - Cyrus Cutler - Preven - 3:42
4. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Robert Hazard Matthew Wilder 3:07
5. Full Circle Cutler - Preven - Cyrus Cutler - Preven 3:15
6. Fly on the Wall
-
- -
7. Bottom of the Ocean Cyrus - Armato - James Armato - James 3:15
8. Wake Up America Cyrus - Armato - James - Aaron Dudley Armato - James 2:45
9. These Four Walls Cutler - Preven - Cheyenne Kimball Cutler - Preven 3:26
10. Simple Song Jefferey Steele - Jessy Littleton Armato - James 3:33
11. Goodbye Cyrus - Armato - James Armato - James 3:53
12. See You Again [Rock Mafia Remix] Cyrus - Armato - James Armato - James 3:27

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