‘Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz’ is as uncomfortable as name suggests

Ben Shooter, Staff Reporter

I, like many others, once wondered how Miley Cyrus could possibly follow the success of “Wrecking Ball.”  It was anthemic; generation-defining. And how could she shock us more than she did when she appeared nude in the video, or when she twerked at the MTV Video Music Awards. Yet her new album, “Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz,” with its surprise release and long list of guest performers, grabs attention in the way that only Miley can. Heavily co-written by members of the Flaming Lips, “Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz” essentially promises a bizarre, psychedelic adventure. 

The album’s first track and main single, “Dooo It!”, jumps right into the big questions. Following in the footsteps of Insane Clown Posse, who so famously pondered the mysteries of magnets, Miley asks, “Why there is a sun? And how do birds fly?” over a trap-worthy beat. In between her philosophical moments, Cyrus expresses her love of marijuana with the gusto of a high schooler who just smoked weed for the first time. The track concludes with perhaps the deepest question of all, “Why they put the dick in the pussy?” I’ve often found myself wondering the same thing. 

On her next few tracks, Miley rediscovers some of her poetry from that awkward phase in seventh grade when she tried to be dark and edgy. With songs like these, she’s sure to win the talent show this year and convince her mom that it is not, in fact, just a phase. “Space Boots” might actually be a winner with its surprisingly mellow and catchy groove, even if every time Miley says “space dude” and “we’re both vegan” is cringe-worthy. 

The album shifts gears with “BB Talk,” the auditory equivalent of that couple everybody hates because they obnoxiously post their romance all over Facebook. The next track, “Fweaky,” is not “fweaky” at all — it’s pretty disappointingly bland. On an album full of phaser sounds, psychedelic guitars, and vocal modulation, “Fweaky” is mostly basic piano chords, coupled with this year’s most annoying “na na na” section. For sounds that are actually freaky, listeners should skip to “Milky Milky Milk” or “Slab of Butter (Scorpion),” two bass-heavy songs that bring to mind the funk sounds of the ’70s. Sarah Barthel of Phantogram also shows up as a guest musician to tell us why a slab of butter is, like, so deep, man. 

“Tangerine” brings the album back to the alien spacecraft theme that it started with and features Big Sean for some reason. Miley is singing about “golden morphine” and the “sun gods”, but Big Sean starts off rapping about the party he had last night. Next is “Tiger Dreams.”  Since the song features Ariel Pink, who I am a fan of, I had higher expectations, and it is admittedly pretty catchy. But what ruins the song is actually Ariel Pink himself, who apparently felt providing simple backing vocals wasn’t enough and decided to add a bridge in which he sings some of the ugliest “la, la, la’s” ever. 

It is an understatement to say that “Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz” comes to a close oddly. “Pablow the Blowfish” stands out as the saddest, and probably only ballad ever written about a blowfish. It’s followed by “Miley Tibetan Bowlzzz,” a short instrumental that surprisingly does not include the sound of a bong hit. Finally, “Twinkle Song” concludes the album, with one last vague question: “What does it all mean?” I don’t know Miley, you tell me. It’s your album.