Miley Cyrus released “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz” at the close of the Video Music Awards Aug. 30, 2015. Oh, and she released it for free. In case you haven’t gotten a chance to give the album a listen, I’ll give you the run-down—and perhaps save you the time it would take you to cringe through all 23 songs.
We all remember the delicate balance between sass and heartbreak found in “Bangerz.” And if you don’t, then you definitely remember such golden nuggets as “Best of Both Worlds” and “Life’s What You Make It” from her Hannah Montana days. Cyrus’s newest album noticeably, and notably, strays from those toe-tappin’ tunes. In listening to the songs, you’re yanked back and forth from overstated going against the social status quo to uncomfortably emotional recollections of personal relationships.
Her new song “Bang Me Box” describes how Cyrus chooses to live in constant preparation for a highly desired one-night stand. “I’m so Drunk” takes you through some classic and unsurprising drunk party thoughts. On the other side of the spectrum awkwardly lies “Pablow The Blowfish,” in which Cyrus expresses her immense grief over the death of her exotic pet, Pablow the blowfish, while also recalling the good times they had together. This song also contains what I believe to be the best line from the album. Cyrus tells us that she and some pals go out for sushi, “but watchin’ my friends eat my friends / ruined my appetite.”
The immediate classic “Dooo It!” is accompanied with a music video in which glittery liquid is used in a manner so provocative that you have no choice but to be impressed with the artistic innovation. In the middle of the video, you get a remix section in which Miley uses explicit language to call for peace, though she claims not to be a hippie throughout the song. She puts a cherry on top of this cringe-worthy sundae with a casual and glamorous drag from a joint. Note of caution: you will feel uncomfortable watching this video around your parents, your siblings, your pastor, your professors, animals, fellow students and actually anyone including just yourself.
Rather than an act of rebellion, Cyrus meant this album to be a gift. It seems to be an expression of her newfound, liberated self who embraces drugs, alcohol and sex without shame. Further, the free release is the result of both her ability to afford it—we all know that she’s rich and famous—and her philanthropic tendencies. Cyrus’s nonprofit The Happy Hippie Foundation aims to support members of the LGBTQ+ community as well as homeless youth and other vulnerable populations by raising funds and awareness. Her goal is to empower people, and she is empowering herself with this album, as it is a sharp turn from her past, more predictable work.
“Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz” is definitely not the kind of music you’d want to do yoga to, but you’ve got to give Miley props for never being anything but shocking. The grungy music gets your attention and makes you uncomfortable. If you need to be slapped in the face but can’t find a dedicated enough friend to do so, put on noise-cancelling headphones, lock your door, grab a box of Kleenex and crank it up. And if you start feeling judgmental, just remember, nobody’s perfect.