i wrote a short piece on miley cyrus’ new album (which is a fantastic piece of art) for The Ontarion, u of guelph’s independent student newspaper! needless to say i am stupidly, hopelessly in love with this album already, and hope you can put up with my blubbering about it…
All eyes were on Miley Cyrus when she hosted the 2015 MTV Video Music awards on Sat., Aug. 30. Overall, the provocative pop princess remained pretty tame throughout the show (one nip slip and a ton of drug references aside) and sparked a much-needed conversation about cultural appropriation and tone policing. But I’m not here to talk about the hot mess that was the VMA’s—I’m here to talk about the surprise (not to mention totally free) album that Cyrus dropped as the show ended.
Titled Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, the 23-track-EP is a trippy experimental mix done in collaboration with Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne. Dead Petz feels like a descent into Cyrus and Coyne’s drug-fueled dreamscape, and though it is shaky at times, it’s an incredibly honest album. Though most of the 23 tracks lack radio playability, they show a new, raw side of Cyrus (who is listed as a writer on every single track). Think hippie protest meets an inordinate amount of synth and reverb, and you have Dead Petz. It’s weird, it’s wonderful, and it’s the beginning of another questionable yet intriguing Miley Cyrus era.
At first play, Dead Petz sounds a bit like a lost psychedelic demo tape: choppy, incomplete and downright confusing at times. I didn’t realize until after my first time through that I was listening too hard for the hit ballad or catchy pop jingle, and that they weren’t here. Instead, the supposed single is a track called “Dooo it” which has Cyrus “feeling like she is one with the universe” and questioning why we do the things we do. It’s a weird, catchy protest anthem infused with a trap sounding background, lots of chanting, and Cyrus reminding us, once again, that she “doesn’t give a f***”. It’s quite unlike anything going on in music right now, that’s for sure. The explicit beat may never climb the billboard charts, but it’s still worth a listen.
With Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz we also see Cyrus stretching her assured voice into new territory. With “Fweaky” and “Bang Me Box”, two sexually-charged, occasionally Lana Del Rey-esque sounding tracks, Cyrus plays up the sex kitten appeal in a confident and seemingly effortless style. “Pablow the Blowfish” and “The Floyd Song (Sunrise)” are about Cyrus’ dead dog and blowfish (respectively) and probably convey more emotion than any love song on the radio. She weeps openly in both tracks, which makes sense as to why she named the album in memoir of her friends. “BB Talk” is as close to sugary pop that we get, which is mostly a monologue about PDA with quality lines such as “Look, I like when you send me, you know, the, the queen emoji, but when I send back the monkey, you know, the one with the hands over the eyes, that means that s***’s just getting a little too weird for me.” If you’re looking for the super trippy stuff, check out “Slab of Butter” (featuring Sarah Barthel of Phantogram) and “Milky Milky Milk” for your fill of Flaming Lips-esque weirdness. Special mentions to “Space Boots,” “1 Sun,” and “Lighter,” three of the most solid songs on the album. Not to mention the other twelve songs, all of which can be found at http://mileycyrusandherdeadpetz.com/.
I have to applaud Miley for making an album that was on her own terms and in her own words. Besides, if you made an album that was, at its core, all about you, would everyone understand it? Probably not.