Kim Petras’s “Turn Off the Light” Turns Up for Halloween

Spooky Season 2019 has officially begun, and Kim Petras has the right music to set the mood.

The German singer-songwriter dropped her new album “Turn Off the Light” on October 1st, a Halloween-themed record following her EP from last year, “Turn Off the Light Vol. 1.” While many fans expected her to release a second volume, Petras stated that she’s giving them “the whole damn story” when announcing the tracklist on Instagram.

Photo courtesy of @kimpetras on Instagram

I discovered Petras when I attended Troye Sivan’s “Bloom” Tour last year in Washington, D.C., where she was one of the two opening acts. Hearing her talk about her Halloween ‘mixtape’ and sing it live turned me into a stan immediately.

As a Bunhead, or Kim Petras fan, I knew this album was about to make my Halloween as soon as she started posting cryptic teasers. “Turn Off the Light” features all of “Turn Off the Light Vol. 1” as well as nine new songs for listeners to dig their claws into.

“Turn Off the Light” features a mix of ‘traditional’ songs with lyrics and choruses and ominous instrumentals. The opening track “Purgatory” opens the door to Petras’s own haunted house, starting like a horror movie soundtrack and growing to be the pulsing, electronic music she’s known for.

The next track, “There Will Be Blood,” reminds me of “Close Your Eyes,” which originally appeared on TOTL Vol. 1, because it’s another proud, confident song that shows off Petras’s voice and is unafraid of musical experimentation. Even when she’s telling you to say your last goodbye and you don’t have an escape, you can’t help but want to headbang throughout the night.

The following tracks, “Bloody Valentine” and “Wrong Turn,” essentially portray Petras the same way: she’s coming for you whether you want it or not, and you might as well embrace it. Her monstrous-persona is a continuing image throughout the album, even though who she is isn’t explicitly explained.

“<demons>,” packed with pitches climbing up and down some invisible scale, sounds exactly like the soundtrack to a fashion show. Whenever I’m listening to it while I’m walking on campus, I feel like I’m strutting down a catwalk. 

But, the next track is a complete turn around from the bass-packed instrumental. “Massacre” takes a much more ominous and classic Halloween feel, slowing down and stripping the music to nothing but Petras’s voices and lonely, haunting notes. The melody of the lyrics reminds me of “Carol of the Bells,” which I think may be a reference to Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas.”

“Knives” speeds up the pace of the album as another danceable instrumental, featuring sound bits of scraping knives and heartbeats and stabbing overlaying another unique set of beats. Most of this album could be played at a spooky club, turning up the night to new heights.

Gif courtesy of Giphy

“Death By Sex” takes away some of the purely ghoulish vibes Petras brings with TOTL and injects some light-heartedness at the right time, as this track comes right before the eight eerie tracks from TOTL Vol. 1. This track always makes me smile whenever I hear it because it’s such a fun song that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Tracks nine through 16 come from TOTL Vol. 1, and I’ve listened to them so many times since their original release in 2018. Even though these songs were released last year, they’re just as musically experimental as the new ones she released. They feature a range of clubby instrumentals and powerful lyrics conveying her beastly TOTL image. 

In fact, this half is more melancholy in my opinion with songs like “o m e n” and “Tell Me It’s A Nightmare.” They also contain more typical, Halloween-esque sounds like escalating, lonely piano keys and eerie groans and creaks. This is where Petras’s love for the spooky season truly shines.

Photo courtesy of Consequence of Sound

The last track, “Everybody Dies,” is the last of the new tracks on TOTL. The waltzing rhythm and slow, drawn-out notes set it apart from the rest of the fast-paced, hyper record. This time, Petras isn’t the one chasing after the listener. Instead, she’s accepting death as an inevitable part of life, no matter who lives, cries or wins. If TOTL is Petras’s call to come to the dark side, “Everybody Dies” is the response, embracing what’s happened and walking into the afterlife without hesitation.

TOTL is authentically Petras in so many ways. From seeing her live and reading her interviews, I can tell that she’s creating music to make herself and her fans happy, which is exactly why she made this album: for the purpose of pure enjoyment, which is how music show be made in the first place. 

TOTL is psychedelic and horrific in all the right ways, and it’s the perfect record for heavy pop or Halloween lovers. I know I’ll be one of many turning it up to the max when I’m getting ready for the spooky season.