‘Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz’ is a psychedelic emancipation of the Millennial voice
Since shedding her Disney image as Hannah Montana, and subsequently a gushy romantic movie actress, Miley Cyrus has remained at the helm of tabloid fodder and a force-fed media portrayal over the last few years ultimately evolving into her truest, most provocative, emancipated, and marijuana-endorsing self. The majority of press, naysayers, and even fans alike have yet to understand her experimental albeit calculated artistic mission: to encourage others to also take pride in their truest selves.
Her scantily-clad antics and twerking affinity drown our newsfeed and overshadow the poignancy of her newfound freedom – both musically and culturally. Miley’s artistry is bigger than the MTV VMAs, bigger than record-breaking YouTube music videos and Billboard charts, bigger than herself. Whether we like to admit it or not, the 22-year-old is just like us- while undoubtedly differing in actions and lifestyle, she’s profoundly similar in seeking a life free of shackled stereotypes and a centuries-old obsession with labeling.
As the host of this year’s VMAs, the nipple-bearing pop star closed out the annual vapid hole of teenage consumerism with a performance of “Dooo It!”, the lead record off her surprise 23-track album she streamed for free online immediately after titled Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz. Adorned in a predictable neon leotard, braided high ponytail and backed by effervescent drag queens, Miley’s blunt chorus line “Yeah, I smoke pot / Yeah, I love peace / But I don’t give a f*ck / I ain’t no hippie” calls for a generational liberation of entrenched ageism.
Aside from Miley’s arguably immense talent to both perform and allure, she understands the endurance of her social impact and the foundational elements of what the Millennial generation relates to and disassociates with, unafraid to be hated on herself. Socially polarizing, she embraces the incessant media’s obsession with her larger-than-life inappropriateness. After garnering mass attention at the 2014 VMAs for asking a young homeless man to instead accept her award for Video of the Year, Miley launched the Happy Hippie Foundation earlier this summer – a nonprofit aimed to help the nation’s more than 600,000 LGBT homeless youth.
Baiting is her game, not for sport or celebrity, but for leverage to spotlight those without a voice. Homeless. Gay. Outcast. Rebel. Different.
Miley Cyrus – “The Floyd Song (Sunrise)”
As Miley’s airy vocals echo over a melody reminiscent of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” the lyrics to “Karen Don’t Be Sad” exemplify her call for awareness of the inner self over outward validation: “Gotta hold on to your soul / ’cause they’ll crush it if they can / So Karen don’t be sad / they’re just a bunch of fools.” From the loss of her pet blowfish “Pablow” to the emotional ramblings of a twenty-something after a break-up and even global warming advocacy, Miley’s juxtaposing track topics are representative of this generation’s erratic hashtag trends and impassioned vulgarity.
Miley Cyrus – “Karen Don’t Be Sad”
The Mike Will Made It-produced chill electropop record “Lighter” sees Miley compare her star-crossed lover to being the, well, “lighter” to her blunt, amplified by her exaggerated tone as if in a pensive state of high. But whether you indulge or not, her reflections on the lack of self-perception that clouds romantic relationships is undeniably accurate: “And I’ve heard / We never truly see ourselves / You’ve gotta leave it up to someone else to know how beautiful you really are.” Miley may address truths in an unconventional way, but nonetheless it’s the truth.
Miley Cyrus – “Lighter”
A psychedelic rock tempo and pacing spaceship noises entrance listeners on “Slab of Butter (Scorpion),” with Miley and Sarah Barthel of indie electronic band, Phantogram, delivering a hypnotizing vocal duet that pays homage to the space sounds of legends past like Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd. Occasional inebriated intermission tracks like “I’m So Drunk” symbolize the impulsive tangents of 21st century Internet culture where speaking your mind with no regard to whom it afflicts run rampant.
Miley Cyrus feat. Sarah Barthel of Phantogram – “Slab of Butter (Scorpion)”
If you agree with her actions or not, Miley doesn’t care. And that’s the point. Much like electronic and dance music’s underground history, she embodies an underlying resistance to the negativity of the outside world and defies what is deemed socially acceptable. Rock and pop icons of the past were often greeted with adverse controversy yet their ability to epitomize a genuine freedom of expression remained a respected and timeless quality. At only 22, she’s uncovered a sense of peace and self-assured confidence to be envious of. Undying, unwavering and unapologetic – Miley, with her abrasive voice and unfiltered vulnerability, is one of the quintessential rockstars of our generation.