While Miley Cyrus used 2013 record Bangerz as a platform to rebel against her younger Hannah Montana image, with this latest record it seems she wants to strip herself of such a connection once and for all. Released online for free at the end of last month following a performance of lead single ‘Dooo It!’ at the VMAs, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz explores some of the singer’s interests such as space, sex and of course, dead pets.
The record opener’s Dooo it! sees the singer branch into hip hop and trap with mixed results. First lines “Yeah I smoke pot/yeah I love peace/ But I don’t give a fuck/I ain’t no hippy”, lead into a track that is completely oversaturated with Miley‘s obsession with rebranding herself.
It soon becomes apparent that the only way to listen to this album is to have no expectations that it will make any sense. Following two songs about space – the hypnotic ‘Something About Space Dude’ and ‘Space Boots’, complete with extraterrestrial sound effects and scattering synths, she adds an interlude entitled ‘Fuckin Fucked Up’… No, we’re not really sure either.
Miley is notoriously open about pretty much every aspect of her life and this doesn’t stop at her sexual antics. ‘Bang Me Box’ is either a poor attempt at an innuendo or she just doesn’t really care about disguising sex with metaphors and poetry (fair play). The melody makes for easy listening and could almost be good if you didn’t listen to the lyrics, but falls short of any real merit.
With Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne as the lead writer, and the band producing much of the record, it is unsurprising the finished outcome is predominantly psychedelic synth-pop. Their influence is strong on ‘The Floyd Song (Sunrise)’, a tribute to Miley‘s dog that died while she was touring in April 2014. Similarly, ‘Slab Of Butter (Scorpion)’ and ‘I Forgive Yiew’ carry an identical synth-driven melody. This is despite an interlude – which usually marks a change in direction on a record – separating the tracks.
All is not lost for Miley does showcase her natural raw talent on tracks such as ‘I Get So Scared’, ‘Lighter’ and ‘Pablow The Blowfish’. The latter may be about a blowfish that has passed away but look past that and you discover her husky vocals do wonders on this trio of songs. With only a simple clapping rhythm and acoustic guitar behind her, ‘I Get So Scared’ sees Miley perfectly execute her vulnerability at trying to get over a relationship with ‘Lighter’ being just that – a more light hearted insight into love.
To give Miley credit, the album’s closing track ‘Twinkle Song’ is quite stunning. Sounding a world away from most of its predecessors, this requires no synths or vocal distortion, with a stripped back composition of a basic piano melody and the singer’s exposed vocals. The screaming towards the end of the song is slightly unnerving, with Miley‘s cracked voice and sobbing seeming a little too exaggerated, but nonetheless, if the record started on a poor note, it certainly ends on a higher one.
At 23 songs, the album could easily have been split into two. Miley Cyrus had already started work on MCAHDP before Bangerz was released and clearly being given the chance to experiment properly was something she’d been waiting a long time for. It feels almost like a stream of consciousness as the singer grabs her chance express herself without restraint. Does it make any sense? Absolutely not. Its only saving graces are a few good tracks and the fact that it’ll cost you absolutely nothing to listen to.