KIM PETRAS – TURN OFF THE LIGHT REVIEW

Kim Petras is a rising futuristic pop star that I have been trying to get into for a couple of years now and I do not really know what has been holding me back. I am really into a lot of acts that are associated with her like Charli XCX and Sophie, but there has been something about her that I just have not been able to get into. Kim’s record Clarity that she dropped earlier this year was critically acclaimed by a lot of music publications, but for some reason, I really was not feeling it. That being said, I am always a sucker for a Halloween themed music project, so when I heard this record was dropping I had to check it out. And man, for what this album is, it totally hits the head of the nail. Turn Off the Light is technically 17 songs, but it does not feel that way because half of the songs are mini spookily themed dance joints. There are 10 actual songs on the project, some of them being remastered from her Halloween EP that was released last year and some of them being made recently for this release. Turn Off the Light is not a perfect pop album and it is not incredibly inventive, but it is very fun and super spooky; it would be the perfect soundtrack for a Halloween party.

There will be blood. Run for your life. Go on and say(go on and say) your last good bye. There will be blood. You’re gonna die. You’ll never make it(make it through) the night…

The project gets started with a 2 minute super spooky deep house cut that really sets the mood for the record. ‘Purgatory’ sounds a lot more like the soundscape to the entrance of hell, with uncomfortable sound effects over a fun and danceable beat. I don’t know whether to groove to this track or scratch at my skin until it stops crawling. It is a bold way to start this record. The next track, ‘There Will Be Blood,’ is a synth-pop banger that is one of my favorite songs on this project. Stylistically and lyrically it is very bold and brash and creepy; The synths that make the melody sound like they would come from a vampire rave; the vibe is not totally unlike the music that they play in movies like Prom Night when they switch between scenes of people dancing and people getting chased by the murder. This may not make much sense to read, so you should really just listen to the song to see what I mean. The next EDM track, ‘Bloody Valentine,’ has a Daft Punk vibe. This track is like a demented version of the French House music hat Daft Punk made so popular. In fact, it reminds me even more of the darker and heavier artist that also makes music in this genre, Justice. I actually would not be surprised if Justice had a hand in the production of this song because I could definitely see them releasing it. ‘Wrong Turn’ keeps the heavy and almost metal French Touch House vibe that the previous song has and gives it more or a poppy undertone. For how strange the production is on this song, I would have loved for the vocals to be a little more experimental and wild. Although ‘Wrong Turn’ is a solid spooky dance track, I think that so much more could have been done with it considering it has such a weird and cool instrumental. Speaking of cool instrumentals, ‘<demons>’ is my favorite strictly instrumental song on this record for sure. This song sort of has a funky EDM future house vibe that sounds like it came straight from a dance party at Satan’s mansion. The riff, which is super metal and was definitely synthesized after it was made on a car, is way creepy and weird and sounds like it should be in a Saw movie or something. The sound effects that play in the background of this one are also super weird and can make your skin crawl. ‘<demons>’ is so cool and inventive and I hope that it is not the last song we hear from Kim Petras that is like this. It is kind of weird that the album goes from such a high to such a low, because the following song, ‘Massacre,’ is my worst favorite one of the album. I guess the idea of it is kind of cool, but I don’t know, man, this one just not stick with me. The lyricism is weird and creepy and on-brand for the record, but the instrumental is like a weird version of the Christmas song ‘Silver Bells.’ There is no cool breakdown or beat that makes this song danceable or fun, and it kind of just feels out of place for the record. Maybe ‘Massacre’ will grow on me, but as of now it just is not for me.

The next pair of songs is another instance where I actually like the mini-EDM track better than the song that it is paired with. ‘Knives’ is a deep house track with an industrial techno feel that is very creepy. It sounds like something they would play in a Rob Zombie serial killer movie. ‘Knives’ makes me want to dance but also makes my skin crawl a bit, and this is a juxtaposition that I dig a lot. ‘Death By Sex,’ on the other hand, is about as basic and plain as ‘Knives’ is different. I do not think it is a bad song at all, but it does seem a bit out of place for this record and especially out of place following ‘Knives.’ It is a trap-pop cut that sort of sounds like something Ariana Grande would do. Like I said it is not a bad song, but it does not fit in that well in my opinion. Maybe it was meant to be a buffer for the weirdness that comes next on this record, because ‘omen’ is probably the strangest song on this record. It once again seems more like background music in a horror movie than an actual song. The chanting in this one sounds like it should be in some sort of AntiChrist movie. I suppose that is why it is called ‘omen.’ Following the demonic chants is ‘Close Your Eyes,’ which sounds like it came right out of the new wave era in the 80s. This song gives me major INXS or Depeche Mode vibes. The lyricism keeps that spooky tone that the whole record has, and the melody matches that tone very well, too. ‘TRANSylvania’ is the most complete and longest EDM song on this project. it is super funky and sounds like it would be made by someone like GriZ or Big Gigantic. It is super colorful and fun and will probably be an anthem for the LGBTQ community, as it should. ‘Turn Off the Light,’ which features the ultimate spooky queen Elvira, is probably my favorite song on this project. The bassline on this song actually reminds me a lot of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’ Once again, it has that 80s new wave vibe but is also very modern and electro-pop sounding too. Also, lyrically, it is the most complete and fun song on the album. ‘Tell Me It’s a Nightmare’ is the only song with lyrics that follows another song with lyrics, and it is also one of the best songs on this album. It has a funky electro-pop vibe that sort of reminds me of Charli XCX, and Kim Petras’ vocals really shine through on this song as well. I love the groove on this song; it is one of those tracks that is impossible to not start vibing and dancing to.

I’m the greatest God created. I’m a sickness, I’m contagious. I’m a demon and vindictive. On a mission, power tripping. Suffocating, exterminating, and I love it every second. Full of hatred, irritated. Cut you open for entertainment…

‘i don’t wanna die’ is another funky house joint that sounds like a demented version of Daft Punk. Once again, the industrial metal nature of the riff and melody sounds a lot like Justice, and I would not be surprised if they contributed production to it. I really love the beat and energy of this song, and its transition into the next song well, too. ‘In the Next Life’ is probably the strangest and most inventive lyrical track on the album, and it is also probably one of the most on theme. This track is scary and robotic and demonic and futuristic and just rad. The vocals are just as weird as the melody, which is creepy synth-pop that is pretty perfect for the vibe of the lyrics and vocals. All in all, ‘In the Next Life’ is a really cool song that follows the theme of the album almost too well. Following this, we get another spooky deep house cut that sounds like a scary version of something Oliver Heldens or Martin Garrix would do. ‘Boo Bitch!’ is short, not so sweet, and to the point, and it sets up the last track on the album very nicely. The album concludes with the song ‘Everybody Dies,’ which is a very good title for the last song of a record like this. This track is sonically pretty unlike the rest of the record; although it does totally keep that somber and skin-crawling vibe of the rest of the project, it definitely is not a party or dance cut. ‘Everybody Dies’ is spooky yet triumphant chamber pop; it is bold and beautiful and dark and once again really shows of Kim Petras’ vocal ability. After the chaos of the rest of the record, this is a nice way to tie up the mood of Turn Off the Light.

Kim Petras’ new Halloween themed project Turn Off the Light probably will not be one of my top records of this year, but it definitely created what will be some of the most memorable moments. Not every song and idea is a total hit, but I love the inventiveness of this project and Kim’s willingness to try to make non-traditional horror sounds work in pop music. So many of these songs would be excellent club songs, and you would not be doing anyone a disservice by making this record the soundtrack to your upcoming Halloween shindig. Maybe it will help you find someone to turn off the light with!

7.3/10

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