by Sam Jenkins
Now I know I said I would review indie music and film but this is a special case. A necessary case. Suggested to me by a “friend,” this is my review of Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz. Let this be a warning for you all, you might want to keep a cool glass of water near you, because this review is scalding.
Miley Cyrus is a former child star, a topical pop musician, and a trainwreck-in-progress. Her most recent album is a psychedelic pop rock romp entitled Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz. It was produced by the Flaming Lips and Mike Will Made It. And what an album it is. This thing is horrible. Part of the reason it took yours truly so long to get this review out is I couldn’t finish the record. And yes, I said I. I am putting aside all professionality for this review. Why? The record doesn’t deserve that much. It hurt to listen to. And the worst part, this slab of crap is 90 minutes long. I can’t even describe the pain that would come from listening to it all at once. I would go as far to say that sitting in a room full of cockroaches would be more enjoyable because at least they leave you alone when you start to cry. But why is Dead Petz so horrendously bad? Well, it’s complicated.
Dead Petz starts off with a punch in the face titled ‘Dooo It!’ I swear, no matter how quietly I turned down the song I whimpered a little, it just seemed too loud. ‘Dooo It!’ sounds terrible from its opening line; which starts, in possibly the worst voice modifier ever, with–I kid you not– “yeah I smoke pot! Yeah I love peace! But I don’t give a ****! I ain’t no hippie!” Truly the next lyrical genius of our time, no?
The record then takes a very different turn in the direction of electronic and acoustic slow jams like ‘Floyd Song,’ ‘Space Boots’ and ‘Karen Don’t Be Sad,’ the latter of which is possibly the best song on this musical equivalent of a Michael Bay movie. This is primarily because it’s basically a Flaming Lips song with Cyrus singing.
Regrettably, Karen should be sad, because all of this album’s songs are all more disgusting than pond scum. The most notable reason for this is the very apparent fact that Miley can’t sing. No matter how hard she tries, she’s constantly out of her range, and ends up sounding more like a decrepit, dying whale than anything else. Especially when she tries to seem emotional.
After those few tracks, the album falls into a valley of no return. It’s fast decline starting with an interlude that’s name is not appropriate for this website, and the song ‘BB Talk.’ It is in this song we encounter Miley’s second big issue: production. It’s bad, almost indescribably so. It’s loud, somehow makes her voice worse, and ridicules the listener more than Miley does.
This decline then picks up speed with more bad, but not noteworthy tracks like ‘Fweaky,’ ‘Milky Milky Milk,’ and ‘I Forgive Yiew.’ These tracks are all inexcusably bad, but not noteworthy. Save ‘Fweaky,’ which is world’s worst Lana Del Rey impression with added alcohol, and screeching (seriously, Miley, learn your range). Then the listener gets to suffer through ‘Lighter,’ a song I would describe like this: the 80’s drank too much grape soda and threw up on an early 2000s slow jam. It’s kinda gross.
But then the songs start to slow down, and that, combined with the numbness that comes from prolonged exposure, makes the next few tracks bearable. I could even go so far to say they’re not bad, but the dull, lifeless lyrics and bad singing drag them down a bit too much. The barely tolerable vibe follows the album to its last two tracks- ‘Pablow the Blowfish,’ and ‘Twinkle Song.’ Wow, are these bad. It’s almost as if they sucked the really badness of the last few tracks because these are larger than life bad. ‘Pablow the Blowfish’ is a song about Miley’s dead fish, and with lyrics so bad they could make children cry, and that’s all. ‘Twinkle Song’ is a bit different though.
I could write a whole review about this song alone, but I’ll shorten it to a paragraph. ‘Twinkle Song’ is a go out with a bang, all in, emotionally intense, piano ballad. Everything I have said so far in this review rings the most true in this song. The piano sounds bad. Cyrus’s voice is the most God-awful thing to ever be put to music, constantly reaching the upper register she doesn’t have. Then there’s the lyrics. I cannot explain this, you have to see it. Here are the opening lines: “I had a dream/Davie Bowie taught us how to skateboard/But he was shaped like Gumby.” I wish I was joking. By the end she’s screaming, asking what it means, and you’re gripping your ears in pain. and then it’s over. Silence has never been so sweet a sound.
This album was bad. Very bad. The worst part being that talented people worked on it (no, Cyrus is not included on that list). The Flaming Lips, Mike Will Made It, and Ariel Pink all were a part of this project. It’s a tragedy that they have to live with this mistake. All in all, I rate this album ⅓ of a star out of 7. I would not listen to this again if you paid me. Lastly, I pose a question for Miss Miley Cyrus… Miley, what is good? Because I don’t think it’s Dead Petz.