Shea Coulee & Scott Studenberg
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Miley Cyrus Ditches Pop for Lesbian Sex and Psychedelics on Dead Petz

Miley Cyrus Dead Petz

At 22 years old, Miley Cyrus has offered more incarnations of herself than her current cohorts of music idols — Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and previously Lady Gaga — sliding easily from kid bop to bubble gum pop and then to glossy R&B. Her latest musical exploration is psychedelic rock on Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, which she released online following her MTV Video Music Awards hosting duties on Sunday.

The new record is fitting for Cyrus — a gender fluid performer who is as constantly high as she is naked on Instagram — as she teams up with Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips for a 23-track journey of self-exploration. 

What ends up online is lots of drug use and a tale of lesbian sex (“Bang Me Box”). “There ain't nothing I'm scared to try,” Cyrus sings on the latter — which is produced by Mike Will Made-It, who was responsible for “We Can’t Stop.” Though, “Bang Me Box” doesn’t offer much more insight into her recent revelations about her sexuality — identifying as pansexual and having feelings for women since she was a teen. “It’s pretty self-explanatory,” Cyrus tells The New York Times, which had an inside look at the making of the album.  

Elsewhere on Dead Petz, Cyrus falls in love with an astronaut (“Something About Space Dude”), waxes poetic about her dead blowfish (“Pablow the Blowfish”), and channels her inner Flaming Lips in “The Floyd Song (Sunrise)."

Ignoring the first single, “Dooo It,” which she performed during the VMAs with a fleet of former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants dancing at her side, Coyne has a largely subdued effect on Cyrus. The polish of hit songs, like “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball,” are mostly ignored in favor of ethereal keyboards, guitar zaps, and scratchy vocals, giving the whole record a psychedelic sound very in tune with The Flaming Lips. (Though, Make Will Made-It does attempt to keep some pop structure in tact on several of the records he produced.)

There are some tough spots on the record. The talking interludes and unnecessary f-bombs distract from Cyrus’ fanciful trip. These tracks serve as a reminder that she still doesn’t care what you think — and is perhaps why RCA Records and she made clear it wasn’t for radio or part of her contractual obligations. “[Cyrus] has a strong point of view regarding her art and expressed her desire to share this body of work with her fans directly,” her label said in a statement.

If nothing else, the record serves as another distinct reminder that the days of Hannah Montana and the twerker of 2013 are long behind her.

“When I made Bangerz, it was as true to me then as this record is now,” Cyrus tellingly reveals to the Times. Maybe like most things about Cyrus, this music journey is only a phase — but as a whole, Dead Petz is one worth listening to before she moves onto the next one. 

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