Hello, friends. We’re gathered here today to discuss the same thing we always discuss on Thursdays: whether Miley Cyrus is a pioneering feminist hero or the kind of person that is just so excited about how “dangerous” they are that we should be constantly shocked and/or outraged, but only to the point where we still buy the singles.
Following up on her MTV hosting gig (with completely unexpected wardrobe malfunction and massive Nicki Minaj shade-throwing competition) she’s dropped a free album called Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz. For those of you who’ve followed her blossoming friendship/partnership with The Flaming Lips, this kind of glam experimental endeavor shouldn’t come as a big surprise. In fact, most of the tracks are co-written and tracked by the Lips themselves, whose last big release was a track-by-track cover of the Sgt. Pepper’s album, featuring Miley at the helm.
So with a mix of delightful fear and reasonable hesitation, let’s go song by song through this zeitgeist defining surprise release, together. Where we’re going we don’t need eyes.to see.
By the by, feel free to follow along on the website: http://mileycyrusandherdeadpetz.com/
There are 23 songs, all produced by Miley Cyrus herself. I… I did not realize the extent of this. Don’t be mad at me if I bail. I feel like I might bail.
Track 1 - Dooo It!
Miley loves beats but does not give a fuck. This is where we begin. This declaration is less than monumental because I think Miley gives some fucks. If she gives zero fucks, as she claims, the next 22 tracks should fly by. By the time the third beat kicks in and the loops take a backseat, this is surprisingly listenable, but then all the music changes key modulating up into a range that has nothing to do with the rest of the instrumentation before Miley reads poetry over a breakdown and then rebuilds into a repeated call of “Peace Motherfuckers!” over air-raid sirens. This song is the musical equivalent of a police flashbang. You would throw this into a hostage situation to distract the men with guns. You can almost hear Miley sticking her tongue out while demanding “EVERYONE LOOK OVER HERE LOOK AT WHAT IM DOING.” Oops looked up the lyrics on this one and it has nothing to do with beats. Guys, this stuff is on par with “Miracles” by ICP.
Track 2 - Karen Don’t Be Sad
Shit. This is really good. This is some Yoshimi-era Flaming Lips arrangement in led by a melancholy keyboard line and discussion of what could be destroying you from within. Why didn’t the build the entire airplane out of the this song? Thanks Wayne, for throwing a bone on this one.
Track 3 - The Floyd Song (aka sunrise)
A little echoy jam over acoustic riffs about summertime and the power within us. I have no idea what this album could do for Miley’s career, but I think an entire generation of bangerz kids are going out to grab copies of The Soft Bulletin later this week. Miley’s voice crack in the breaks of this just like Wayne Coyne’s and with the layers of delay I could be tricked into believing the Lips recorded this entire album without her and her put name on it. Why did everyone bury the lede about the free Flaming Lips album? Oh there’s still 20 tracks to go. It’s entirely possible I’ll be exposed to more battlecries about motherfuckers in an effort to start a party where none exists.
Track 4 - Something About Space Dude
Another little glitch beat acoustic slow-jam that’s borrowing liberally from “Something” by The Beatles. “Something in the way you fuck me, you’re never fucking there” leads into the latest of many studio outtake lines left in to show how down-to-earth this whole thing is, as Miley instructs the engineer to “keep that last one.”
Track 5 - Space Bootz
The first non-Lips involved track on the album borders on the best track. The first of four tracks produced by Oren Yoel is all about Miley hitting on a cool looking astronaut who looks hot in his space suit which is so catchy it hurts, but the verses are nothing but bragging about how she does drugs, and like, we get it. You’ve just released a collaboration album with one of the biggest flame-out bands on the planet — you’ve snorted a line, Miley. We all concede that you are an adult now. Is the Space Dude from the song your dealer? Shit, that is edgy.
Track 6 - Fuckin Fucked Up
This is a one minute loop of Miley saying the F-word. Shit, that is edgy.
Track 7 - BB Talk
This track starts with a sniff and then Miley rambles about a dude. It is not the sniff of crying. Oh no. This is like a livejournal post with a chorus. Miley Cyrus complains about how awkward she is in general, but how much more awkward you make her act in front of your mom. “I’m feeling like I’m going to vomit” is a chorus refrain and I couldn’t agree more. Then she lists which emojis she likes and dislikes in this relationship. I’m maybe having a breakdown. Is this how the world works now? Is this what human do? Did you connect to this? Should I connect to this? Perhaps it is we who are broken, Miley. Thank you for this. Do you see? Do you see the transformation?
Track 8 - Fweaky
Totally straight-foward piano slow-burn about all the places Miley likes to have sex and how you won’t hurt her. The second half of the song is just a repeated “na-na-na-na” which seemingly takes the place of all the lyrics she would have written were she not doing the sex. Completely forgettable.
Track 9 - Bang Me Box
In college, I wrote a punk song for a friend’s movie about Dinosaurs and the democratic process and lesbianism called “Put Your Ballot Inside My Box” and I think that worked because our collective tongue was placed so firmly in our cheek it almost broke through. Miley really wants you to “bang my box” here and I have no idea what she’s talking about. Please join me in the comments section and share your fan theory about what the box is. (Pandora? I don’t know. She wants it very hard though. Is Pandora hard? Can we even know that?)
Oh. Guys. She just said “You finger my heart” and I laughed out loud for the first time. This is my summer jam for the rest of September.
Track 10 - Milky Milky Milk
“The purple is collapsing…” begins this messy Lips glitch-drenched acid stream-of-conscious nightmare. And honestly, what a relief. We’re ten tracks in and finally Miley is actually doing drugs instead of just bragging about how she’s a drug-user now. We believe you now. We still won’t finger your heart.
Track 11 - Cyrus Skies
We get it. Someone lent you a Portishead album. Most of this song is rhyming “lair” and “alive” so I mean… What are we even doing? Shit. This isn’t even halfway through. THIS ISNT EVEN HALFWAY THROUGH.
Track 12 - Slab of Butter (feat. Phantogram)
Again, we begin with a repeated declaration of the need to “get fucked up.” For being a party animal, I’m beginning to doubt with any sincerity that Miley Cyrus has ever been to a party. This is the equivalent of demanding people to acknowledge that you are fun because you are always saying the word “fun” when people least and most expect it. I don’t know how else to say this, but Miley Cyrus’ attempt to start a party reveals that, at best, she is cynical about joy. Does she know that in a human party scenario, it is rare that a spotlight follows you throughout, and that it’s more a communal experience and less a celebration of your brand? I think a kegger with fun interesting people would bum her the fuck out.
Track 13 - I’m So Drunk
Track 14 - I Forgive Yiew
Yiew don’t know how hiewmans experience emoiewtions. Also, yiew threaten someone with yoga? Are yiew my ex?
Track 15 - I Get So Scared
This album is being pushed as a very personal expression of a girl who has discovered her sexuality and is making a complicated peace with the fame that has ruled her life, and meeting that halfway with her undeniable talent and the drive to do lots of things, sometimes without knowing why, and I think every part of that is fascinating. You know how to diminish that? To label individual songs with the singular emotion that are meant to reflect. It’s like she didn’t bother to revise the rough draft she sketched in a note book. “First the Party song then the Sad song then the Deeply Ambiguous About Cock song and then the Dad song. That’s my album. What’s good?” Anyway, she doesn’t sound especially scared about anything on this free song from a free album produced by musical superstars. There’s no net because there’s no gravity. She couldn’t fall if she tried. Might as well cover “Common People” at this point.
Track 16 - Lighter
This isn’t the first song on the album that reveals Cyrus’ desire to have her career but also Lana Del Rey’s and that’s… fine. There’s enough space in pop music’s trailer park for two.
Track 17 - Tangerine (feat. Big Sean)
This song has two big musicians yawning over a beat. It’s a hangover track that seems to bring finality to the album’s party but there are still SIX GODDAMNED TRACKS to go.
Track 18 - Tiger Dreams (feat. Ariel Pink)
Look, Ariel Pink with The Flaming Lips and Miley Cyrus on a drugged out experimental party mix tape should be the best thing that ever happened to any of us. This should be something promised to us in the Constitution of the United States (and if National Treasure 3 is right, it probably is.) Autotune and dream logic aren’t bad choices, nor is the downtempo drum mixes, but it truly feels like Miley gave up thirty minutes ago and is now just talking over discarded Wayne Coyne backing tracks. This is an genuine letdown on an album for which I had no expectations.
Track 19 - Evil is but a Shadow
Track 20 - 1 Sun
One of the only tracks to have a Miley only writing credit is a legit party banger which quotes Grace Jones and talks about the ungrateful nature of our culture and our limited human experiences. Why… why is this track 20? This should’ve been track one. Maybe the only track. Why is this buried?
Track 21 - Pablo The Blowfish
This is a song about how her pet blowfish Pablo died. It is the only song on the album of personal songs where I think Miley believes what she’s saying, and that is heartbreaking. In the second verse she goes out to eat sushi with friends and gets even sadder. I feel like I’m going insane. She wants the spirit of the blowfish to make babies with a sexy seahorse. I feel like I’m going insane. She’s crying instead of singing the last chorus. I feel like I’m going insane.
Track 22 - Miley Tibetan Bowlzzz
This song is recorded by Billy Ray Cyrus. It is just Tibetan bowls and Miley moaning over a synth. Her dad made this. With her. For her. For us. Is this Christmas? Is this my Christmas? What if Christmas never happens again? Is it my fault? I’m suddenly very worried about aliens and what they want from us.
Track 23 - Twinkle
Miley wants David Bowie to teach us how to skateboard. Who is this for? Why did this happen? Do I actually love this? I’ve never heard anything like this album and now we want skatebowie to come party with us and you know what I want to party with everyone because everything is meaningless congrats Miley I found nihilism and I am ready to do lines off of it thank you thank you thank you thank you for giving no fucks but also giving fucks but also sex and summertime thank you goodbye forever you beautiful bad bad world christ this was not worth it.
Final Review: 8/10 Blowfish.