Miley Cyrus's new album Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, her fifth studio album, was announced and released for streaming and download on August 30th after her closing performance with The Flaming Lips at the VMA's. It was released on her own independent label, "Smiley Miley". What people do not realize is that behind the ridiculous instagram photos, barely wearing clothes, and whatever she does that makes Bobby Jindal mad (https://youtu.be/4KBfgPIoMSg), lies a true talent.
This album shows Miley's powerful presence and diversity. Her new album is stripped down, psychedelic, honest, raw, and she lets the music be at the center of most of it, instead of herself. Through 23 tracks, there are interludes, songs that are just monologues of honesty ("BB Talk"), many expletives (not a surprise), and a few songs that could be pop radio hits, but rather than regurgitate the "pop-y mainstream" sound that "made her", it let's us into her real life. Her 2013 album, Bangerz was mostly, if not all, computerized. This time it has more instruments-- fuzzy guitars, ethereal sounds from keyboards that bring us almost to another universe. This is probably because aside from a few tracks produced by a frequent friend/producer Mike Will Made-It (who actually strays from the strict hip-hop sound and adds 80's funk flavor), it is Wayne Coyne, from The Flaming Lips, who makes this a journey of showing Ms. Cyrus's artistic value. The Flaming Lips contribute production and instruments, making this album a far cry from what we expect out of this "high-profile" artist/star.
More than half of the tracks top four minutes, and some even five or six minutes. It has a raw, homemade quality, and some songs sound like demos, but that is her goal. If the tracks that have radio-hit potential were touched up and over-produced it would defeat her purpose. In the song "BB Talk", she mainly talks about life and relationships, and it has a great line in one of her monologues within the song: "And you know that, they say that you gotta think what you want into existence, but you know, I haven't been too good at making decisions, so I have no idea what the f*** I want, I guess." It received favorable reviews, but those who did not like it, obviously didn't understand it. The claims made from these critics looking for the next Taylor Swift album, apparently, say her fuzzy, almost out-of-tune guitars, rambling about nonsense, and weird lyrics make her new album unbearable. I will admit there are a few tracks that don't suit me, but I think this is her best album and shows her range and openness. When she put out the Happy Hippie: Backyard Sessions and her MTV Unplugged sessions it is very clear she is not a joke. If you take away the background music that so many artists use to lip-sync to, she can sing near flawlessly and captivate you with her voice. Throughout the 23 tracks you may think what drugs she was on, what was she thinking, but the very fact she did it her way is the most powerful expression of art for a true artist that there is.
Miley Cyrus has been packaged, managed, ostracized, and looked upon as just another Lady Gaga, but that is a farce. Some of my favorite songs on this album are "The Floyd Song (Sunrise), "I Got So Scared", "Cyrus Skies", "Space Boots", "1 Sun", "Bang Me Box", "Milky Milky Milk", "Slab of Butter (Scorpion)” (Featuring Sarah Barthel of Phantogram), and finally "The Twinkle Song".
This album isn't for the faint of heart, those without open ears, or people expecting pop music, but it's free. The album's closer, "Twinkle Song" is another song about dreams and random thoughts, but builds upon a beautiful ballad, into a powerful bridge where she starts screaming, "What does it mean? What does it all mean?" This can mean two things: what people will think when they listen to the album, or perhaps just a question we are left to ponder within our own lives.
Check out Miley's new album at: http://www.mileycyrus.com/andherdeadpetz