Miranda Cosgrove first appeared on my pop radar last year when I stumbled across "Kissin U" in a German record store. The hot pink cover looked completely ridiculous, which was reason enough for me to buy it. I finally got around to playing the single about three months later and was surprised by how much I loved it. By then I knew she was a squeaky clean Nickelodeon child star (think Miley pre-Salvia) but her Taylor Swift-lite sound was a breath of fresh air. The rest of her debut album was disappointing but I was still interested enough to import her latest EP. And it was worth every cent. "High Maintenance" is a pop triumph. I'm shocked by the lack of attention it's received from radio and the blogosphere. There isn't a bad song on this. Sure, it's a rather blatant attempt to give Miranda an edgier sound but I don't give a fuck about her complete absence of credibility. Particularly when the tunes are this hot!
"High Maintenance" kicks off with "Dancing Crazy", which was penned by Max Martin, Shellback and Avril Lavigne. It was originally intended for the Canadian diva's "Goodbye Lullaby" album but it was given the flick - probably because it sounds like a carbon copy of "What The Hell". Happily, Avril's trash is Miranda's treasure. I adore this hot mess. The chorus is amazing if you overlook the 17-year-old's pronunciation of "dancing" (gurl, you're not Madonna - drop the fake English accent!) and her attempt to channel Avril gives me the giggles. The real EP's real highlight comes next.
"High Maintenance" is the handiwork of Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo and Billy Steinberg (who is currently experiencing a career revival thanks to Nicole Scherzinger's "Don't Hold Your Breath"). They have crafted an "Opposites Attract" for 2011 - only without MC Skat Kat's killer rhymes and Paula Abdul's helium vocals. I love everything about this. The lyrics are completely ridiculous ("I crashed your new Ferrari, baby fix that dent! Does that make me high maintenance?") and I don't exactly buy Miranda as a crazy party girl but this is achingly cute and undeniably catchy. Pop trash fans will cream their jeans over this one.
Some amazing names worked on this gem. Lucas Secon (Kylie's "Get Outta My Way") contributes "Face Of Love", the EP's mid-tempo moment. It's probably my least favourite of the five songs but it suits Miranda's voice perfectly and makes a nice change of pace. I'm way more excited about track four. "Kiss You Up" was one of my favourite songs from Shontelle's flop album and I'm so happy someone has decided to cover it. The production is pretty much the same and while Miranda's voice isn't as powerful as the rich man's Rihanna, she makes the song her own.
The EP closes with another up-tempo dance anthem - this time courtesy of Greg Kurstin and hit songwriter Bonnie McKee, who contributed the amazing "TGIF" to Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" album. "Sayonara" is a "Circus" era Britney knock off but like Emily Osment before her, Miranda easily outdoes the original. This has a hot beat and a cute chorus. "High Maintenance" is so good, I kind of wish Miranda had tacked on another 5 songs and released an album. It would have been an absolute killer sophomore set. As it is, I have a new favourite teen Queen and a handful of stunning trash anthems to blast until album two is ready. Highly recommended!