Arts & Reviews

Ben’s Music Reviews- Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz

By Ben Mulick

Rating: 3/10

Iconic singer-songwriter Miley Cyrus comes out with her 5th studio album, this time taking a neo-psychedelic twist that falls short of anything substantially worth paying attention to. Cyrus rose to fame as a pop singer and childstar under the alias Hannah Montana in the 2000’s. Miley began making her own pop hits, like “Party in the USA” in 2007, signing a deal with Hollywood records. Cyrus began to change her image to reveal an edgier, more adult side when she came of age and is well known for her flamboyant and controversial live performances, most notably at the 2013 Video Music Awards when Cyrus performed with Robin Thicke and left the audience stunned. This controversial performance stole the show, so much so that she was asked to return this year as the host of the awards. At this year’s VMAs, Cyrus debuted the title track off her new album, Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, called “Dooo It!”releasing the LP the same night of the VMA’s. The hour and half album came with musical help from the acclaimed indie rock psych band The Flaming Lips and is produced by Mike Will-Made It, who has produced Wiz Khalifa, 2 Chainz, Rihanna, etc. With its new and overwhelming independent direction, the LP fails to reach any point of pleasurable entertainment and leaves the listener submerged with relentless drug-references and sexual innuendos that appear unnecessary as you move along the 90 minute experimental disaster.

Right off the bat, I felt as though I had made a mistake in listening to this musical endeavor made by the rebellious Cyrus. Prior to my first listen, I was excited that a band I had admired and listened to over the years, The Flaming Lips, had contributed to the album. Widely known and successful albums such as Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots or The Soft Bulletin gave me some hope for this psychedelic collaboration, which was crushed almost instantaneously upon engaging in the title track “Dooo It!”. Going on to tracks like “Karen Don’t be Sad,” “The Floyd Song,” and “Something about Space Dude,” I began to feel the huge dreamy texture that The Flaming Lips gave to this LP. The production and musicality of each track I will admit to be spot on and decisively concise with the overall new wave psychedelia that was The Flaming Lips and Miley Cyrus. Layered synthesizers and guitars make this album rather engaging but only to a certain extent. The instrumentals support a rather lacking Cyrus, whose basic lyricism, low quality vocals, and obnoxious appeal overshadow the jams that The Flaming Lips enthrall the listener with. The songwriting falls short on almost all of the tracks, giving the listener repeated chorus melodies that transition into mundane verses with lyrical matter that wouldn’t hold my attention. Some songs, such as the excruciating “BB Talk,” are more painful to get through than others. The overly high glossed vocals didn’t make up for the fact that Cyrus does not have any tonality or lyrical genius.

Venturing on to the 2nd part of the LP, I didn’t expect much but was let down further and further. The 80’s pop wreck “Bang Me Box” made me feel even more uncomfortable with the in-depth sexual desires that Cyrus reveals. Followed by the more promising yet still atrocious “Milky Milky Milk” that follow the Indie cliche prevalent to the entire album. The 2nd half features musical guests such as Sarah Barthel of the indietronica band Phantogram, rapper Big Sean, and a favorite indie singer-songwriter of mine, Ariel Pink. Unfortunately, the presence of these musicians does not increase the low quality of the tracks. Towards the end of Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, Miley performs some “emotional” piano ballads which are comical to me. The theme and tone of edginess in this record dilute any stab at being deep or emotional in these tracks. The album itself is pretty humorous in its appeals to “being one with the universe” and “peace and love” which make Cyrus sound as though she were a hippie, which was not her goal at all. This album I will say would appeal to the type of person who doesn’t know how or what being an “individual”  is like.  As Cyrus has proven to the world that she does not know what her musical direction is and probably never will, she gives the world more and more “experimental in-your-face” music projects that hold no significance in my world whatsoever.