Arts and Culture Editor
Associate Arts and Culture Editor
International recording artist, Kim Petras creates a hauntingly infectious new sound to the pop music canon in her groundbreaking Halloween themed album, TURN OFF THE LIGHT, VOL. 1. From the chillingly fun opener, “Omen”, Petras expertly creates a combination of anticipation and suspense that simply thrills. The horror-like piano instrumentals contrasted with the stylistic flair of Petras’ vocals send a rush of pure excitement. Although the opening track is only about a minute long, it’s slow build of intensity does not feel too far off from the start of a haunted house or hayride where at every turn is another delightful surprise.
While the first track was pure anticipation, the second song “Close your Eyes” is a pure unadulterated bop. The symphonic bass is always at the backbone of this particular song keeping the party going. Petras is just fabulous on this track commanding like a true diva. The eerie background vocals add just the right amount of chills to this blast of a song. It never manages to surprise as Petras manages to build and build upon the initially catchy chorus. This piece is called “Close your eyes”, but this is one song listeners will not be able to turn off or even get out of their heads.
The next track “TRANSylvania” somehow manages to ride off the high of of “Close your eyes. This track is mainly symphonic beats, but it is a welcome call back to the Halloween themed bops of the 80s that have come before it. This is the perfect transitioning track that paves the way for the jaw dropping title track that comes afterwards. Petra herself is a trans woman and proudly lives as her true self. This song is a bonafide bop but is also a celebration of living your best life.
Now, the title track “Turn off the dark” is pure pop bliss. Petras’s collaboration with the guest artist, Elvira: Mistress of the dark, in moments even brings back memories of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. This may seem like an extraordinarily high compliment, but the infectious hook this song possess, with the pure quality camp of the whole track, is simply glorious. It is rare where a song can make a jaw drop from sheer thrills, but Petras’ title track manages to do just that. It is sure to become a Halloween classic, and deservedly so. This song is a wickedly infectious pop and pride paradise.
Petras’ second half of the album kicks off with “Tell Me It’s A Nightmare”. It begins with haunting echoes of a distant bell tolling and synthetic blips. The dissonance is unsettling and inviting at the same time. Then, Petras’ vocals burst onto the scene. Her lyrics taunt that she’s a destructive force, and won’t be trifled with. The bass doesn’t kick in until verse 1, and when it does it’s easy to forget the dark warnings Petras uttered, and let oneself become transed through the vibrations. The second time the chorus comes in, it’s joined by an orchestra of synths and piano layered over the taunting bass. It’s so easy to get lost in this beat, but Petras’ assertive lyrics stay at the forefront of consideration.
“I don’t wanna die…” rides off the closing white noise that resolves “Tell Me It’s A Nightmare”. It begins by adding a shrill guitar riff, and then builds gradually until Petras confesses, ‘I don’t wanna die. . . I just wanna live’. What follows is a beat drop that would make anyone get up and bounce around. There are insertions of organic sounding bells which compliment the vicious bassline. This interlude is hypnotic and contagious.
“In The Next Life” opens with hollow and choir-like vocals which evoke heavenly imagery. Petras’ smooth vibrato as she asserts that we’ll remember her in the next life is splendid. It maintains the haunting vibe she’s been spinning this entire album. The chorus hits, and Petras is taking over. She’s admitting that she’s the greatest, and is labeling herself a sickness, demon, and plague. After a second chorus, Petras offers a verse entirely in German. For those of us that aren’t fluent in German, this verse is completely mesmerising. The song ends with solemn piano and vocals which continue to assert that we’ll remember her. Petras is determined to leave her mark on the world.
The outro “Boo! Bitch!” perfectly concludes this epic album. Petras delivers beat after beat to bop to; this one is no different. It teases the audience with bursts of ‘woo-ah’s and ‘oh’s here and there, but mostly confines itself to bass and percussion. It ends with Petras embracing her inner spook-meister and laughing hauntingly as the track fades. What an exit.
At just barely over twenty-three minutes, this album is perfect for a Halloween party this year. The highlights of the album come from it’s intense, rhythmic beats, and seamless transitions between songs. While some albums can be shuffled, this one begs to be played just as Petras released it. Mingle with friends this Halloween and dance to your heart’s content to “TURN OFF THE LIGHTS, VOL. 1”.