Sometimes it can feel rather difficult to discuss Miley Cyrus without invoking hateful, condemning responses. Her harsh image, a huge turnaround from her days with Disney, reflects Cyrus as a spokeswoman for ridiculousness, resulting in the disapproval of many. Through the rebranding of herself, the young ex-”Hannah Montana” star has received attention, both good and bad. For some, the anarchical Cyrus has been seen as the perfect complement to a night out on the town. But for others, Cyrus’ outrageous onstage behavior is more negative. Regardless of these views, Cyrus’ musical train continues to travel at full speed.
Her latest record, a follow up to 2013’s “Bangerz,” finds Cyrus continuing on the path to musical stardom. Released first on her website through SoundCloud, Cyrus’ latest endeavor came as a surprise following her Video Music Awards hosting gig. Titled “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz,” the whopping 23-track album brims with a certain technicolor gleam. Filled with high production values, the cosmic, almost lucid haziness of “Dead Petz” sounds much more like a dive into experimental compositions and demos than a formally released record. However, many moments on Cyrus’ album shine brightly.
Following her debut performance at the VMAs, Cyrus’ lead single “Dooo It!” borders as close to “Bangerz” as she will ever get on “Dead Petz.” Incredibly danceable and somewhat intimidating, the track plays heavily into Cyrus’ liberal viewpoints on life. Its feel-good vibes, paired with a level of fiery beats, create a song that is impressive by any standard. Its nonconforming lyrics, paired with the eccentricities that are now commonplace for Cyrus, play well off of the instrumentals.
On “Pablow The Blowfish,” Cyrus showcases a truly emotional moment. The song, about the passing of her pet blowfish Pablow, is an upsetting and heartbreaking tune. Quite literal in its lyrics, everything about the track is tender. For a performer so characteristically painted as a rambunctious delinquent, “Pablow” is quite the script flipper.
With “1 Sun” and “I Forgive Yiew,” Cyrus proves that she has not completely abandoned the more studio-produced sound that “Bangerz” brought about. Pop-driven and more upbeat, “1 Sun” and “I Forgive Yiew” sound more like Top 40 hits than the rest of “Dead Petz.” Similar in composition and meaning to work by artists like Lady Gaga, this new offering shows that Cyrus has come full-circle as a pop star.
“Milky Milky Milk” is most exploratory track on “Dead Petz.” Odd beats paired off with echoing vocals provide an almost avant-garde feeling to the song. “Milky Milky Milk” is also one of the more expressive tracks on the album. Its electronic, hollowed sound bouncing off of zipping synths is an odd composition that somehow works.
Like “Pablow The Blowfish,” “I Get So Scared” once again finds Cyrus performing at her rawest. “I Get So Scared” is a ballad at its core. Astonishingly beaten down, Cyrus sings from the heart. With moments so pure that had they come from any other artist’s voice they’d be highly regarded, “I Get So Scared” is a masterpiece.
At times, the experimentation is so extreme that it can feel off-putting. But when “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz” works, the resulting product is an incredibly raw piece of art. Cosmically driven and entirely original, the direction away from the direct party-pop genre to a more lucid one provides listeners with something different.
While not necessarily the most fun or crazy, Cyrus’ latest installment in her career is almost mature. Its emotive and raw moments coming from any other artist mightbe met with universal approval. Never quite fitting into a single genre box, Cyrus is relentless at being original. There is something almost commendable about her willingness to adapt and pull from different techniques.
Rating: 4 out of 5