Back in August Miley Cyrus had a pretty solid spot in the headlines. After hosting an entertaining and very weird VMAs filled with DIY costumes, tons of weed references and a performance that shocked most of middle America; Cyrus announced a free album would be available that night. That album being Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, a 23 track album dedicated to Floyd and Pablow the Blowfish two of her animals  that passed away. With production from The Flaming  Lips, Wayne Coyne, Oren Yoel and Mike Will Made It, Cyrus created one of her most personal albums yet. After spending a couple of years making and promoting her trend heavy fourth album Bangerz, Cyrus wanted to ditch the computerized beats for real instruments and create something that got her excited to be in the studio. I’ve been a fan of MC for longer than I care to admit but I remember my first venture into this experimental affair.

I downloaded the album after watching her jarring performance of “Dooo It”. There was so much going on during the performance that I couldn’t grasp anything from the song other than “Yeah I smoke pot / Yeah I love peace.” Getting through half the song I decided to see what else was on the pop-infused psychedelic record. I listened to a couple of songs and I couldn’t focus on the music, everything else surrounding the album was too distracting. Other than the honest “Fweaky” that has Cyrus a little buzzed and wanting to get a little fweaky, I didn’t like what I was hearing. I turned the album off and didn’t pick it back up until December 11th. Very specific with my dates I know but that day she released a music video for “BB Talk”.

Co-directed by Diamond Martel and herself, MC reverts back to the innocence of a child (Just ignore the cussing and smoking out of a baby bottle bong). Donning a big diaper to match her big baby bottle, Cyrus sings about a guy that is always killing the vibe with baby talk (“No matter what you do / home girl can’t handle the fucking goo.”). When you look past baby Cyrus in a aesthetic that reminded me of Melanie Martinez’s Cry Baby era, everyone can relate to that moment when the person your feeling is turning you into an emotional wreck and you hate that the “cool” exterior disappears around them. “BB Talk” made think maybe I was too hasty in dropping the album. Miley is just being Miley and with what she’s doing with the Happy Hippie movement, her heart wrenching SNL performances and the success she’s having with the tour supporting this album, there must be some good within it right? So I hopped on SoundCloud and gave Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz another spin and I’m glad I did because I enjoyed the trip.

People like to criticize Miley Cyrus for her “generic” pop bangers but one listen to “Twinkle Song” and you’ll hear an artist that can bravely showcase her pain and use her talent to create something oddly beautiful. Sometimes MC makes it hard to love her… Probably because she’s moved past being parental friendly and living life to please the masses. People hoping for Bangerz 2.0 will be very disappointed but songs like “Bang Me Box” and “I Forgive Yiew” feature production from hitmaker Mike Will Made It and reminded me of the better aspects of Bangerz.

Most of the songs on Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz are slow-paced and take advantage of The Flaming Lips psychedelic sound. Ariel Pink, Big Sean and Sarah Barthel of Phantogram make appearances adding their special touch to MC’s moody journey. “Tiger Dreams” sounds like a recount of a tippy dream on lsd. I would never picture hearing Cyrus on something like “Tangerine” or “Miley Tibetan Bowlzzz” but I love the indie feel of the songs. “Lighter” is definitely one of my favorite songs off the record.

It feels so inward-looking and I can’t help but wonder the space she was in to write and be a part of a project this deep (Other than the drugs). I also wonder if Cyrus will incorporate some of this emotion to her next album. Like the line, “And I’ve heard we never truly see ourselves / you gotta leave it up to someone else / to know how beautiful you really are baby,” so simple yet extremely touching. This is the Miley I love to hear.

I could go on giving you more lines that had to be crafted from the greatest highs like, “They say love grows / but I’ve only seen it die / I’m too young to feel like I’m runnin’ out of time,” but I don’t want to ruin the journey for the people who haven’t given Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz a listen yet. All I’ll say is look behind this crazy cover Miley Cyrus is showing the world with her anti-mainstream look and ‘IDGAF’ attitude. The amount of work she’s doing for the segments of the population who feel underrepresented in the media and not accepted by the world speaks volumes about her character. R.I.P to Miley Cyrus’s dead pets. They liberated her and gave her the creative freedom to express the negative side of her life in the spotlight.

What do you think about Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz? Let me know in the comments!

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