"I can just do what I want and make the music that I want," Cyrus told the New York Times

By Jeff Nelson
Updated August 31, 2015 12:30 PM
Credit: Getty

Can’t stop, won’t stop!

Miley Cyrus surprise-released her latest album – Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz – Sunday night, announcing the drop after her close-out performance of “Dooo It” on the MTV VMAs, which she hosted.

Here’s everything you need to know about Dead Petz, the followup to her platinum-certified (and Grammy-nominated) 2013 LP Bangerz.

1. It’s free!
As she announced Sunday night, it’s streaming for free online (or take a listen to all 23 tracks below).

That’s not to say it was free to make, though. Cyrus told the New York Times it cost about $50,000 to make – compared to Bangerz, which was “a couple million.” Cyrus said she got the blessings of her label, RCA, to create her latest LP, though it didn’t contribute to any of the costs, and it won’t count toward her multi-album recording contract.

The singer’s hinted about giving music away in the past. In a W cover story last year, she told Ronan Farrow: “You know, I’ve made my money. If no one buys my album, cool. It’s fine. I’ve got a house, and I’ve got dogs that I love. I don’t need anything else.”

Then in her Marie Claire September issue cover, she continued that sentiment, telling the glossy:

“People in this industry think, I just gotta keep getting more money, and I’m like, What are you getting more money for? You probably couldn’t even spend it all in this lifetime. People get more famous, so that they can make their brand more famous, so that they can sell more s—, so that they can make more money. It’s a never-ending cycle. Getting more money, having more hits, being the lead in the movie – those things might stimulate you, but they don’t make you happy. I’ve experienced it all already, and I’m telling you firsthand, it doesn’t.”

2. True to the album’s title, her deceased companions provided inspiration.
Like most animal lovers, the singer takes the deaths of her pets pretty hard – and their passing provided creative encouragement.

First there’s “The Floyd Song (Sunrise),” an acoustic track co-produced by Flaming Lips pal Wayne Coyne, which she devoted to her dog Floyd, who was killed by coyotes while Cyrus was on tour promoting Bangerz. (She even switched up her tour to add an inflatable replicable of the canine upon his passing.)

The “Wrecking Ball” singer told the New York Times she had a “really trippy” experience mourning through which she said goodbye to her dog and, at the same time, grew closer to Coyne.

“This is going to sound crazy, [but a Chinese healer] sent me into a state where my dog was lifted out of my lungs and placed on my shoulder,” she said. “I pet my dog for like three hours … [and] let go and put his energy out … I really think, in a way, his energy went into Wayne’s energy. What he was to me, Wayne has become.”

And Floyd isn’t the only pet to provide artistic stimulation. “Pablow the Blowfish” was inspired by an aquatic pal. Cyrus’ pet blowfish died in February: First she honored his memory with a tattoo on her left arm. Then she teased the ballad during one of her “Backyard Sessions” in May.

3. There’s plenty of sex talk, obviously.
Bangerz had plenty of blush-worthy lyrics (see: the Pharrell Williams collab #GETITRIGHT), but Dead Petz finds her getting even more delightfully explicit.

Case in point: “Bang Me Box,” a Mike Will Made It-produced track about lesbian sex she told the Times was “pretty self-explanatory.” Then there’s “Milky Milky Milky,” which is also pretty self-explanatory.

Cyrus’ latest show of embracing of her sexuality should come as no surprise. In May, she told the AP not all her relationships have been “straight” or “heterosexual.” She later confirmed she’s sexually fluid in a Paper magazine interview.

4. She’s just as 420-friendly as ever.
Dead Petz opener “Dooo It” kicks off with the line: “Yeah, I smoke pot.”

This is the woman who toked up on stage at the EMAs last year, then passed around a joint in the press room after the VMAs Sunday.

So, like, obviously.

5. Her Flaming Lips pal Wayne Coyne co-produced most of the album.
Cyrus met Coyne when the rocker asked her to sing on his band’s cover of the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” and they became fast friends.

The acoustic-meets-psychedelic electro production is an obvious nod to Coyne’s alt-rock group, and Cyrus is quick to admit he’s a close friend and collaborator – but that’s it.

“He’s everything in the world – you can’t even define us,” Cyrus told the Times. “I am 100 percent in love with Wayne, and Wayne is in love with me, but it’s nothing sexual in any way. That would be the grossest.”

Added Cyrus to the paper of her trippy new sound: “This music was not meant to be a rebellion … It was meant to be a gift.” RELATED VIDEO: Watch: 5 Moments We Can’t Stop Talking About from the VMAs