September 15, 2015

Miley Cyrus bombs on new album (VIDEO) - @MileyCyrus


Here, in a nutshell, is the implicit marketing push behind “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz”: With 23 songs full of F-bombs, strange sounds and enthusiastic references to weed, this album is totally crazy — and what makes it even crazier is that it’s by Miley Cyrus, the former Disney Channel star.

Here, in a nutshell, is the truth about “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz”: This album is not very good, and what makes it even worse is that it’s by Miley Cyrus.


Released for free online following Cyrus’ gig as host of the MTV Video Music Awards, “Dead Petz” indeed charts a surprising new course for the 22-year-old singer, who not so long ago was making glossy tween-pop records under her own name and that of her Disney Channel alter ego, Hannah Montana.

Miley Cyrus at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards
Gone are the old pop-factory song doctors and their tightly crafted choruses; now she’s cobbling together discursive arrangements alongside left-field collaborators like the Flaming Lips. In her determination to be her truest, weirdest self, though, Cyrus has sacrificed the wild-eyed energy that once marked her as a real rebel.

Simply put, “Dead Petz” is dead boring.


Cyrus has put across a nervy intensity in much of her music: on her 2013 album “Bangerz,” with its willfully provocative appropriation of hip-hop style; on tour last year, playing rowdy arena concerts suffused with misfit pride; on Instagram, where she condenses worlds of visual complexity to potent bite-size images. Even “Party in the U.S.A.,” Cyrus' Kidz Bop-approved 2009 single, and the best of her “Hannah Montana” stuff had a palpable tension, a sense of contents under pressure, that distinguished it from music by her more accommodating peers.


“Dead Petz,” in contrast, offers very little of that, perhaps because for the first time she’s not fighting anyone. A sprawling, self-indulgent collection of experimental music posted on SoundCloud, this record essentially ratifies Cyrus’ creative independence. Its mere existence means she won her battle to define herself. And that’s an encouraging development for any artist, let alone one locked at such an early age into an established system of restrictive expectations.

But maybe struggle is Cyrus’ most productive mode; maybe having something to push against is what allowed her to build the unique muscles that seem so unengaged here.


The truly frustrating thing about “Dead Petz” is that it’s not a complete failure. In cuts like the bouncy “I Forgive Yiew” and especially “BB Talk,” a funny, disarmingly intimate number in which Cyrus admits she can’t stand a lover’s public display of affection, the singer provides a tantalizing glimpse of what this album could’ve been. There’s also “Miley Tibetan Bowlzzz,” an oddly beautiful instrumental cut she added after being told the record was too long. (The punk inside clearly hasn’t died yet.)

But those scattered sparks are overpowered by the aimless noodling that dominates — and deflates — “Dead Petz.” This can’t be what victory feels like.



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