Music Review: Miley Cyrus and Flaming Lips get real on a sprawling, self-indulgent album

There’s no question that Miley Cyrus’ free surprise album, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, is deeply flawed. At 23 tracks and 92 minutes, it’s a slog to get through. Musically, it’s often soporific—courtesy of lugubrious tempos steeped in stoned-motion psych-rock and zoned-out electronic grooves, and arrangements that lack rigor—and juvenile: Obvious moments such as the fractured ’80s robo-funk of “I’m So Drunk” and the self-explanatory “Fuckin Fucked Up” give way to provocative, stream-of-conscious musings about pot and sex. Cyrus’ main musical collaborators on the album, Wayne Coyne and the rest of the Flaming Lips, encourage this abstraction: The band members are no strangers to testing the patience of their fans—as evidenced by their recent polarizing albums—and that tendency toward utter self-indulgence also permeates Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz.

Yet despite its scattered veneer, the record isn’t entirely tossed-off. (One …

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