Kim Petras conjures up scarily good tracks on TURN OFF THE LIGHT
The haunts start early for German singer Kim Petras, who released TURN OFF THE LIGHT on Oct. 1. Acting as the extension to Petras' 2018 release TURN OFF THE LIGHT, VOL. 1, the singer remarked to fans on her Instagram, "i know u were expecting vol 2 but I’m giving u the whole damn story."
This "whole damn story" follows a techno slasher of deep synths tracks, with Petra trading positions as a foreboding entity and a menacing threat for the listener.
Macabre and mysterious, TURN OFF THE LIGHT gives a unique take on the risky idea of a concept album. Petras has never been afraid to deviate from the music industry's standards when it comes to releasing projects.
On her last record, Clarity, released earlier this year, Petras dropped nine tracks as a single, accompanied by a short music video. This disregard for conventional music standards that Petras embodies has become increasingly popular for other artists as well.
Petras' own record label, AWAL, aims to be more of an avenue for artists to release their own music than a peremptory label calling the shots. AWAL cites the advent and rise of streaming as the catalyst for artists to outgrow the music industry's old ways and assume more control.
This mentality has been festering for a while, from artists rising out of "grassroots" platforms like SoundCloud to even popular artists such as Ariana Grande detaching from the rigidity of album cycles that demand immense promotion, a tour and complete focus on one project.
With Petras behind the wheel of her own car, she stays playful and delivers a quirky Halloween-inspired bundle of tracks that knows how to keep things both sinister and sweet.
With production calling back to early techno and rave music, TURN OFF THE LIGHT supplies every track with heavy droning synths that frequently remix Petras' own vocals into the background.
Every song credits Made In China as one of the producers, a popular moniker for the controversial producer Dr. Luke, whom Petras has collaborated with and caught disdain from some fans for the association.
Aside from the controversy tied to the producer, the record begins to collapse in on itself as it progresses. The replayed tactics that artists like Daft Punk have done better with in the past drone on in "<demons>" and "There Will Be Blood."
TURN OFF THE LIGHT doesn't rely on its production to keep itself interesting. Petras has long focused on the style of her music to drive home her sound while taking a sassy and creative approach on her tracks.
With her finger on the pulse of what is in and what her fans want, Petras excels at guaranteeing meme-able moments that have PAPER claiming that "Kim Petras Invented Halloween."
Whereas the music industry has turned its head away from conventional album releases, it is increasingly important for artists to have a persona that can hold up multiple social media accounts to actively engage with fans and respond to all the inner jokes and memes that pop up.
Petras feeds into these circles with tracks like "Boo! Bitch!" and "TRANSylvania" that toy with their titles, with the latter referencing Petras' own gender identity that she often openly discusses.
Her own games of making playful Halloween metaphors and allusions don't stop TURN OFF THE LIGHT from offering ominously animated anthems.
On the bouncy hip-hop infused "Death by Sex," Petras' seduces listeners to death with an on-the-nose attitude.
She returns to her German roots on "In The Next Life," where she taunts listeners in German, claiming that "I'm the greatest God created/I'm a sickness, I'm contagious."
Her song "o m e n" samples the iconic Halloween theme and "Massacre" distorts the melody from the Christmas song "Carol of the Bells," establishing Petras as one to rebrand nostalgia.
Petras remains vocally alone, joined only by Elvira, the Mistress of the Dark on the titular track where the actress tells listeners to "Embrace your fear, don't dare to run."
TURN OFF THE LIGHT has Petras embracing all the feared risks that modern music is turning to. With witty titles, a middle finger to authoritarian record labels and a much-needed different take on a holiday record, Petras adds more creativity and style to both her discography and pop music itself.