Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz


3.5
great

Review

by MercuryToHell USER (44 Reviews)
August 31st, 2015 | 764 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Baffling. Messed up. Engaging. Surprisingly great.

Pop stars making an attempt to distance themselves from their musical infancy are not new phenomena. Countless out-and-out bubblegum acts reach the stage in their careers (whether label-pressured or otherwise) to stretch more mature muscles, to show some restraint in the face of previous form, perhaps to gain some more respect from a more discerning crowd.

Miley Cyrus is not quite one of these acts. Her 2013 effort, Bangerz, was a clear effort to break away from her super-clean Disney past, albeit dressed up in squeaky-clean production – and this wasn’t an unsuccessful move. While the record sold massively, and the general consensus was that she had successfully transformed, the songs were still a little bit pop-by-numbers (not that anyone would have expected otherwise at this point).

‘… Dead Petz’ is a different prospect altogether. One could expect that from the heavy involvement of Wayne Coyne, this would be a more dramatic change, perhaps toying with psychedelia and a more indie outlook. This was further confirmed when she split from former producer Dr. Luke, and released this record for free, away from her ties to RCA.

On this record, Cyrus doesn’t much bare her soul as vomit it onto the pavement for the listener’s consumption, see-sawing frantically between rebellious spunk and vulnerability for the 90-minute plus runtime. For a free, unannounced album, this is a massively sprawling piece of work, not just a stop-gap for the average pop listener. And before touching on the actual meat of the record here, Cyrus is to be commended for the accompanying attitude – when Britney, Christina et al made their ‘edgy’ albums, they did so strictly within their label’s framework, and with the sole purpose of shifting units. This is the album that Cyrus wanted and made happen, and here it is, unleashed and unedited.

So what of the music? Well, those who’ve had a peek at the opening track ‘Dooo It!’ via the VMAs or the new video have commented how messy and chaotic it all sounds. The record does not abandon this approach from start to finish, and yet ‘Dooo It!’ is probably the most accessible and obvious single on offer here, so for those that it alienated, there will be very little that appeals on the album as a whole.

Tracks such as this, ‘Bang Me Box’ and ‘I Forgive Yiew’ (yes, it really is spelt like that officially) display Miley at her most abrasive and match her public persona more than any of the rest of the record – and while this attitude can rub people up the wrong way, lacks any real reason or substance, is undoubtedly puerile and not easy to get behind, it does end up becoming pretty endearing in a shamelessly punk kind of way.

However, the real bulk of this record displays a much more fulfilling experiment. This style doubtless inspired by Coyne (‘The Floyd Song’, ‘Evil Is But A Shadow’ and ‘Space Boots’ are all in their composition very much Flaming Lips songs with a different vocalist), but to Cyrus’ credit, she has run with these ideas, applied her own persona to them, and made them undeniably her own. The sparse guitars amongst the mish-mash of muddy kicks and warm leads create an intriguing mix, never quite the electro-lead accessibility of her previous work, but refuse to completely alienate the casual listener – most of this will never make radio, but frankly more’s the pity.

Vocally, we have a mixed bag here – and it almost feels like she’s shot herself in the foot by making some of the stylistic affectations and production choices on show. Miley has undeniably got a very sweet and melodic voice when used to full potential, and when it shines through here, on songs such as ‘Karen, Don’t Be Sad’, ‘1 Sun’ and ‘I Get So Scared’, it creates almost a welcome normality to prop up the strangeness of the rest of the album. A little too often though, the vocals are mixed a little too dry or intentionally atonally – not specifically weakening the tracks, but not doing herself any favours as a solo vocalist. This again though adds to the concept of reinvention, as Cyrus is clearly not satisfy to rely on vocal talent over dull songs (as was all too often the case on Bangerz), but instead fluctuates her delivery to suit the moods. This girl is becoming an artist, rather than a pop star.

A few times on ‘… Dead Petz’, the experiments just get downright weird – ‘Milky Milky Milk’ displays frankly bizarre lyrics over what sounds like Crystal Castles and Gorillaz collaborating on a glitchy instrumental, ‘Miley Tibetan Bowlzzz’ is a very peculiar foray into vocal ambience, and ‘Pablow The Blowfish’ should not work on any level – the lyrics read like an 11 year-old girl’s poem, and sung with a crackling voice over a twinkling piano, it is almost dazzlingly insincere, but the twist ending just reeks of the amount of fun Cyrus is clearly having making this album.

As messy as this is, and as downright immature as it gets, this reviewer wouldn’t want it any other way – an extremely baffling, but enthralling experimental release.



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user ratings (363)
1.7
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
MercuryToHell
August 31st 2015


1351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So, this now exists.

Every comment, every pos and every neg is appreciated with constructive feedback!

Asdfp277
August 31st 2015


22974 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

ugh

Gwyn.
August 31st 2015


17228 Comments


She's still doing that thing she was doing in 2013 huh

Ocean of Noise
August 31st 2015


10925 Comments


Get rid of the space in the first paragraph. It looks weird. Good review otherwise, though.

MercuryToHell
August 31st 2015


1351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

She's still doing that thing she was doing in 2013 huh

I wouldn't say so at all, the philosophy is the same, but more risks are being taken here.

'Lighter' and maybe 'Tangerine' are the only songs from here that I think would fit on 'Bangerz'.

MercuryToHell
August 31st 2015


1351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

EDIT: Paragraph thingy done!

Asdfp277
August 31st 2015


22974 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I find nothing endearing about this tbh, I appreciate that she's experimenting (hard), but it's not well done at all and comes off as really disjointed and uninteresting

zaruyache
August 31st 2015


22840 Comments


so are any of the tracks here monumentally better than that crap in the vid she just put out or are they all about the same? Because that song was awful and the cover artwork looks like every kind of wrong

Gwyn.
August 31st 2015


17228 Comments


I meant the imagery with shock value and public persona and shit

Gwyn.
August 31st 2015


17228 Comments


Also holy cocks that cover is hideous

ArsMoriendi
August 31st 2015


31099 Comments


The cover looks like she's covered in Wayne's sparkly psychedelic cum...

That's all I have to say...

Digging: Dr. John - In the Right Place

Asdfp277
August 31st 2015


22974 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Gwyn.: Yeah it's kind of the same imagery but taken a little bit further down the experimental road; it's not so much catchy-crass-hysteric pop as much as it's left-field bangers made wimpy by toning them down and making Miley sound off-key

MercuryToHell
August 31st 2015


1351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's difficult to say specifically what tracks to recommend - as understandably a lot of people will have some predisposition against her persona - but this record is definitely not 23 'Dooo It!'s.

treeqt.
August 31st 2015


16968 Comments


She's still doing that thing she was doing in 2013 huh
music?

MercuryToHell
August 31st 2015


1351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The cover looks like she's covered in Wayne's sparkly psychedelic cum...

I honestly can't reach any different conclusions.

Asdfp277
August 31st 2015


22974 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

This ain't no My Teenage Dream Ended

IHateRadiohead
August 31st 2015


342 Comments


I actually found "Dooo It!" to be pretty good apart from the surreal music video. Also, your review makes me want to listen to the album so pos'd.

MercuryToHell
September 1st 2015


1351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I hated 'Dooo It!' on first listen, absolutely, and I think it works well as an intro to the album, but while I enjoy it more now, there's definitely many much better tracks here.

Asdfp277
September 1st 2015


22974 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

This is too damn long too

MercuryToHell
September 1st 2015


1351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really was surprised when I saw how long it was - and while not all the tracks are to my taste, I wouldn't have really called any of them 'filler' with the exception of the interludes, and even without them, we've still got an hour and a half album on our hands.



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