She’s growing up too fast. She has tons of money. Her latest video is a bit racy. But what are we going to do with Miley Cyrus? The girl can’t be tamed.

She’s growing up too fast. She has tons of money. Her latest video is a bit racy. But what are we going to do with Miley Cyrus? The girl can’t be tamed.

Miley Cyrus’ third album away from her alter-ego “Hannah Montana” finds the star sharing ranks with bubblegum-pop princesses before her, and yet, it doesn’t seem to be enough.

“Can’t Be Tamed” is in stores now. The album’s title track is already a huge hit, and just as her previous singles’ (“See You Again,” “Party In The USA” and “The Climb”), it found a way to get into my head. It’s catchy and pretty much the perfect pop record. I’m not above giving credit where credit is due, even if it’s Miley Cyrus.

I’m starting to see that Cyrus means business and wants to be taken as a serious artist. I can respect that. At 17, she seems beyond her years. There’s something to be said about her desire for success and a drive for legitimacy. She seems to know what she’s doing.

Cyrus’ lyricism has gone from cutesy, tongue-in-cheek to more defiant and in-your-face.

As the lyrics have grown up, so has the music. Her sound is more defined, almost in a Kelly Clarkson sort of way — perhaps designed to compete with Clarkson and fellow hitmakers Pink, Lady Gaga and Kesha. Album producers Tish Cyrus, Jason Morey, John Shanks and Rock Mafia can be thanked for that.

The album opens with the high-throttled “Liberty Walk,” preparing the listener for the next phase of Cyrus’ career. She sings “Free yourself, slam the door, not a prisoner anymore…”

That sentiment can also be heard throughout the album, especially the track “Robot.”

“Stand here, sell this, and hit your mark,” she sings. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that how she became famous in the first place — being a product of Disney?

Tapping into a Kesha-like vibe, Cyrus scores on “Permanent December.”

Her softer side comes to surface on “Two More Lonely People,” “My Heart Beats For Love,” “Forgiveness and Love,” and the piano-driven “Stay,” a highlight on the record. Songs like these will keep her around a while in a business that seems to manufacture new teen queens every other month or so.

Being taken serious, Miley, is one thing, but to cover a major hair-band power ballad from the ’80s when you’re a 17-year old girl from today is another thing. Her cover of Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” falls flat, and seems almost out of place on an album like this. It’s too candy pop for those who remember Bret Michaels’ awesome vocals.

I probably would have told her to scrap the idea of covering such a widely known power ballad, but then again, she can’t be tamed.

David T. Farr is a Sturgis (Mich.) Journal correspondent. E-mail him at farrboy@hotmail.com.