Breakout (Miley Cyrus album)

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Breakout
Studio album by Miley Cyrus
Released July 22, 2008 (2008-07-22)
Recorded 2008; Annetenna Studios, East Iris, Flowers Studios, HP Studios, Rock Mafia Studios, Studios Wishbone, Westlake Studios[1]
Genre Pop rock
Length 39:46
Label Hollywood
Producer Antonina Armato, Scott Cutler, John Fields, Tim James. Devrim Karaoglu, Anne Preven, Matthew Wilder
Miley Cyrus chronology
Best of Both Worlds Concert
(2008)
Breakout
(2008)
The Time of Our Lives
(2009)
Platinum edition cover
Singles from Breakout
  1. "7 Things"
    Released: June 17, 2008 (2008-06-17)
  2. "See You Again (Rock Mafia remix)"
    Released: August 8, 2008 (2008-08-08)
  3. "Fly on the Wall"
    Released: February 12, 2009 (2009-02-12)

Breakout is the second studio album by American recording artist Miley Cyrus, released on July 22, 2008 by Hollywood Records. It is her first record that is not affiliated with the television series Hannah Montana, in which Cyrus portrays the titular character Hannah Montana. She co-wrote eight of its thirteen tracks, several of which with the assistance of Antonina Armato and Tim James. The majority of the record was composed as she traveled during her headlining Best of Both Worlds Tour (2007–08). Overall, Breakout is dominant on pop rock but explores a variety of other musical 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 significant 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' third album to do so, and was eventually certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Breakout has sold 1.5 million copies in the United States. Elsewhere, Breakout topped the Canadian Albums Chart for two consecutive weeks and the Australian Albums Chart for one week. The album also charted within the top ten in Italy, Japan, and New Zealand.

Three singles were released from Breakout. "7 Things" was released on June 17, 2008 as the lead single from the album; it was commercially successful, reaching the top ten on charts in various countries. It was followed by the Rock Mafia remix of "See You Again", released on August 8, 2008 in countries which the original version was not, expanding the success of the song by appearing on charts in several countries. The third single, "Fly on the Wall" was released on February 12, 2009 as the final single, being unable to duplicate the success of the previous singles.

Background

"My new songs have a bit more of a different vibe. I finally got to, kinda, step out and do exactly what kind of sound I wanted to do. In my last record, I had to introduce myself and now that people already know who I am and know a little bit about me, this is just, you know, getting to know me personally."[2]

— Cyrus speaking of the difference between Breakout and Meet Miley Cyrus.

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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5][6] She believed it was her "breakout record", where she was going to "show everyone what Miley Cyrus is all about."[6] Cyrus further explained the album was also appropriately titled because it portrayed her "stepping away from Hannah but just a little bit different."[7] She also decided to title the album after the song "Breakout" because it was "one of [her] favorite songs".[6]

Cyrus believed that compared to previous albums, Breakout was "grown-up"[5] and "just a little more creative."[7] 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".[7] According to Cyrus, the album documented, in depth, the events that occurred in her life in a year span.[5] Most of the songs were written as Cyrus traveled on the Best of Both Worlds Tour from October 2007 to January 2008.[8] Recording commenced immediately after the tour came to an end, and seized in March 2008,[1] for Cyrus was to film Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009) in Tennessee soon after.[9] She expressed that, through each song, a listener could discover something about her and about themselves.[2] 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".[7]

Development

Cyrus performing "Breakout" on the Wonder World Tour (2009).

"Breakout" was written by Ted Bruner, in collaboration with Trey Vittetoe and Gina Schock of the Go-Go's. It was first recorded by American pop singer Katy Perry, for her second album One of the Boys (2008),[10] though it was never included for the album and was passed on to Cyrus, on whose version Perry sings backing vocals.[11] 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.[8][12] She claimed her use of the word "hate" demonstrated how furious she was, at the time.[8] 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.[6] She decided to record a cover version of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" from the album She's So Unusual (1983), 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."[13] Cyrus believed Lauper's saying encompassed the direction she wanted to take Breakout, ergo she covered "Girls Just Want to Have Fun".[13] 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."[2] "Full Circle" was co-written by Cyrus, Scott Cutler, and Anne Preven about Cyrus' relationship with Nick Jonas 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.[14]

"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."[15] Cyrus explained it was about attempting to avoid paparazzis but they appeared, "not going away like little annoying flies."[16] 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."[17] 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." "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.[7] Cyrus recorded a cover of Cheyenne Kimball's "Four Walls" from the album The Day Has Come (2006) for Breakout, titled "These Four Walls".[18] 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.[19]

Composition

Cyrus performing "Bottom of the Ocean" on the Wonder World Tour

Overall, Breakout is dominant on pop rock but explores a variety of other musical genres.[19] The opening track, "Breakout", is a dance-pop number that begins with a fast beat, composed of chiming electric guitar and drums and later progresses to "the snares skip and the keyboards shimmer";[20] "ecstatic beats" pummel throughout.[21] The song's lyrics are "a girls-only call to fun" that anecdote on feelings about coming of age[22] and the desire to be school-free.[23] The uptempo refrains of "7 Things" are pop punk influenced. The song is "a three-tempo patchwork quilt",[24] transitioning "from sensitive breakup song in the strummy verses to punky-pop kiss-off in the double-time choruses."[25] "7 Things"' lyrics list seven traits Cyrus hates about an ex-boyfriend.[26] "The Driveway" is a power ballad[27] whose lyrics regard a breakup,[20] insisting "nothing hurts like losing when you know it's really gone."[22] 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.[28] 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.[22] The song "Full Circle" is composed of a several pop rock hooks;[23] in one of the hooks, Cyrus finishes various words with "Oh, oh, oh!".[28] The lyrics describe not quitting a relationship.[23]

"Fly on the Wall" is prominently an electropop song[27] that is also composed of a number of hooks, which yell the song's title, while the instrumentation relies on electric guitars.[28] Unlike other songs on Breakout, "Fly on the Wall" has Cyrus' voice processed to sound different.[22] 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.[20][22] "Bottom of the Ocean" is a contemporary ballad that contains a sound reflecting influences from minimalist music.[28] The backdrop for the "feel-bad" love song[22] features ocean wave sounds.[23] The track "Wake Up America" has a "cheeky riff-rock backdrop" as its[clarification needed], while its lyrical content concerns environmentalism,[27] where Cyrus mainly pleads for audiences to give the Earth "just a little attention".[25] 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".[20] "These Four Walls" is a power ballad accented with country pop elements and twangy vocals[27][28] and lyrics which speak of an interior narrative.[23] "Simple Song" has "bile" sound[29] 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.[22] In "Goodbye", Cyrus' vocal performance is more "roosty" with a more "natural-sounding accompaniment"[20] while, in the lyrics, she finds her remembering the "simple things ... until [she cries]."[22] "See You Again" (Rock Mafia Remix) is dance-pop number, fusing sultry vocals with techno beats.[21] The track has Cyrus detailing previous scenes and plans to redeem herself.[30]

Singles

"7 Things" was released on June 17, 2008 as the lead single from Breakout, through digital distribution.[31] Following the song's release, allegations sparked that it was about Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, which Cyrus neither confirmed nor denied.[32] It received mixed reviews from contemporary critics, several of which compared Cyrus to Avril Lavigne.[20] "7 Things" enjoyed worldwide commercial success, becoming a top ten hit on charts in Australia, Japan, Norway, and the United States.[33] The single was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).[34] The song's accompanying music video was directed by Brett Ratner and features Cyrus performing the song with a back-up band as many teenage girls lipsync along.[35]

"See You Again" (Rock Mafia Remix) was released August 11, 2008 as the second single from Breakout; it was only released in countries where the original version was not.[36] The remix was received well by critics for properly combining vocals and music.[21] The remix expanded the success of "See You Again", appearing on charts in Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.[37] "See You Again" (Rock Mafia Remix) was given a promotional music video, taken from a performance at the 2008 Disney Channel Games.[38]

"Fly on the Wall" was released on February 16, 2009 as the third and final single from the album.[39] "Fly on the Wall" received critical praise; several critics claiming it defied teen pop expectations and was Breakout's best track.[40] However, the song failed to match success of "7 Things", reaching its highest peak at number sixteen on the UK Singles Chart.[41] Its music video was directed by Philip Andelman. Inspired by Michael Jackson's Thriller, the video depicts Cyrus attempting to escape the paparazzi, as they follow her in a parking garage.[42]

Promotion

Cyrus performing "Simple Song" on the Wonder World Tour

The promotion plan was centered on massive performances and interviews to television, radio, and magazines.[43] It was formulated to not be aggressive to give Cyrus a period of rest, after doing many consecutive projects. Cyrus explained,

"I'm a kid. That's why, for the most part, we only did the big publicity and otherwise decided to let the album whatever it was going to do. It was so weird not to do everything in my power to promote my first album under my own name. I am very proud of it and love what we came up with. But I also had to accept the reality of my situation. So much is happening all at once, so many opportunities. I want to make the most of them, but I also need to stay sane. There will be a day, my parents constantly remind me, when I won't have so much going on. And when that day comes, I don't want to feel like an empty shell of a person."[44]

Cyrus first performed songs from Breakout, the title track, "Fly on the Wall", and "See You Again" (Rock Mafia Remix), at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Disney Channel Games on May 4, 2008.[45][46] Her first live performance of "7 Things" took place on May 17, 2008 at the 2008 Zootopia, an annual summer concert put on by radio station Z100.[47] Later that summer, she promoted Breakout at outdoor concerts hosed by Good Morning America[48] and The Today Show,[49] while hosting the 2008 Teen Choice Awards,[50] and at FNMTV.[51] Cyrus began promotion for Breakout in Europe in fall 2008, performing the track on the United Kingdom channel GMTV, the French television show Le Grand Journal, and the British singing competition The X Factor among other venues.[52] Cyrus performed several songs from album on April 24, 2009 in a London Apple Store. These performances were recorded and sold exclusively by the United Kingdom iTunes Store as a live extended play (EP) titled iTunes Live from London.[53]

Well over a year after the Breakout's release, Cyrus embarked on her second concert tour, the Wonder World Tour, to promote the album and The Time of Our Lives extended play (EP). The tour was Cyrus' first to not have her costumed as Hannah Montana and was announced in June 2009, with dates revealed for American venues.[54] Dates for venues in the United Kingdom were later announced.[55] In to order to avoid the extensive scalping that occurred during the Best of Both Worlds Tour, all tickets were sold exclusively through paperless ticket delivery, which would require audiences to bring identification to gain entry into the concert.[54] The tour expanded from September to December 2009, with a total of fifty-six concerts in North America and Europe.[54] The tour received positive to mixed reviews from critics. Some praised it and deemed it a spectacle, while others believed it lacked profundity and portrayal of Cyrus' personality.[56][57][58] The Wonder World Tour managed to gross over $67.1 million,[59][60] $15 million which were earned by the singer.[61] The entire European leg sold out within ten minutes, and, at one stop, Cyrus broke the record for the largest attendance at The O2 Arena in London, England with an audience of 16,196.[62] A concert film was released on the limited, deluxe edition of her third studio album Can't Be Tamed (2010).[63]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[64]
Billboard (positive)[65]
The Boston Globe (positive)[20]
Entertainment Weekly B[25]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[22]
The New York Times (mixed)[23]
PopMatters (5/10)[30]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[28]
Yahoo! Music 7/10 stars[21]

Breakout received generally positive reviews, earning a collective score of 66 out of 100 on Metacritic.[66] 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".[64] 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."[64] 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."[65] Sarah Rodman of The Boston Globe felt Cyrus mostly succeeded while "trying to please most of the people most of the time" on Breakout.[20] 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."[20] 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.[25] 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."[22]

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."[23] 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."[30] 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]".[28] 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."[67] 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".[21]

Commercial performance

Cyrus performing "Wake Up America" on the Wonder World Tour

On the week ending August 8, 2008, Breakout debuted and peaked at number-one on the Billboard 200, thus earning Cyrus a third number-one album on the Billboard 200 – including albums fully credited to Hannah Montana; the album sold a 371,000 copies in its debut week, becoming the fourth-highest sales week of 2008 for a female artist.[68] The following week, Breakout descended to number two, selling 163,000 copies.[69] The album spent a total of forty-eight weeks on the Billboard 200.[70][71] It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments exceeding one million copies.[72] According to Nielsen SoundScan, the album has sold 1.5 million copies since its release.[73] Due to sales of 27,000 copies, Breakout entered at number-one on the Canadian Albums Chart on the week ending August 8, 2008,[74] maintaining the top spot for two consecutive weeks.[75]

On the week ending September 14, 2008, the album entered the Australian Albums Chart at number two. In the succeeding week, it moved to number-one, where it only stayed for a week.[76] Breakout was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments exceeding 35,000 copies.[77] Breakout debuted at number four on the New Zealand Albums Chart on the week ending September 8, 2008. On the week ending October 13, 2008, the album reached its peak at number two on the New Zealand Albums Chart, a position it maintained for two consecutive weeks.[78] Breakout was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) for the shipment of more than 15,000 copies.[79] In Japan, it peaked at number ten.[80]

On the week ending September 13, 2008, the album entered and peaked at number ten on the UK Albums Chart,[81] becoming Cyrus' first top ten album in the country.[82] It was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for the shipment of 300,000 copies.[83] In Ireland, Breakout peaked at number eleven and was certified platinum by the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) for shipments exceeding 15,000 copies.[84][85] In mainland Europe, Breakout peaked at number twenty-eight on the European Top 100 Albums Chart,[70] number twelve on the Austrian Albums Chart,[86] number six on the Italian Albums Chart,[87] and number sixteen on the German Albums Chart.[71] On the week ending September 21, 2008, the album debuted at number twenty-six on the Spanish Albums Chart and, after twenty-six weeks of ascending and descending the chart, it reached its peak at number seven.[88] The album was certified gold by the Productores de Música de España (PROMUSICAE) for the shipment of more than 30,000 copies.[89] Breakout experienced similar commercial outcomes throughout the rest of Europe; it charted within the top twenty on charts in Finland, Norway, and Poland.[88]

Track listing

Breakout – Standard version
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Breakout"  
3:25
2. "7 Things"   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"  
  • Cyrus
  • Armato
  • James
  • Devrim Karaoglu
  • Armato
  • James
  • Karaoglu (co.)
2:32
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
3:26
10. "Simple Song"  
  • 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
  • Karaoglu (co.)
3:17

Credits and personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Breakout.[1]

Charts

Certifications

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[116] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[117] Gold 10,000x
Germany (BVMI)[118] Gold 100,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[119] Platinum 15,000x
New Zealand (RMNZ)[120] Platinum 15,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[121] Gold 40,000^
Poland (ZPAV)[122] Gold 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[123] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[124] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

References

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Works cited