Kim Petras Invented Halloween

Kim Petras Invented Halloween

The month of Hallowchic™ begins today! For the last few weeks leading into the spookiest time of the year, Kim Petras has teased the upcoming sequel to last year's Halloween-themed Turn Off the Light, Vol. 1 mixtape.

Just like last year, Petras shared a series of edited images of herself as a frightening, bloody-nosed, yet somehow sexy daughter of the possession. Each caption obscured haunted lyrics from the new body of work.

Now, Turn Off the Light is here in full —17 tracks to be exact. A nine-track add-on to the first Halloween masterwork meant to "tell the whole damn story," Petras ramps up the thrills with her collaborators, which include usual suspects like Aaron Joseph and Jesse Saint John. But the challenge remains in creating Halloween-themed music that feels classic and fresh. Petras knows this, and since Turn Off the Light, Vol. 1, she's taken on the work of doing Halloween pop justice, if for no other reason than to add darker, more interesting contrasts to an endless spate of Christmas music.

"It started with one spooky song," she told PAPER last Halloween. "So me and my friends wrote this song called 'Close Your Eyes,' which is also on the mixtape, and I was really excited about it and it happened out of the blue. It was kind of spooky. We started thinking, Why are there so many Christmas albums and almost no Halloween albums? It's my favorite holiday ever."

From the sounds of Turn Off the Light, Petras' preference for Halloween is crystal clear. She leans into the holiday's campiness, her voice adopting a tremulous quiver each time she sings, the beats incorporating familiar sonic tropes like thunder, dramatic organ, haunted children's choirs, mutated screams, and more unexpected sounds, like knives scraping against each other. The newer, scarier sounds blend well with those introduced on Vol. 1. The beats are fiercer and more furious (imagine something that might play in a Berlin sex club or slaughterhouse), still, each song gives Petras the chance to inhabit a new skin, like the ritualistic dress-up of the night itself.

At her core, though, she's a sexed-up, demonic cool girl, most explicitly embodied on tracks like "Death By Sex," which literally finds Petras chanting "sex sex sex," as if her head might detach itself from too much pleasure. On "There Will Be Blood," Petras sings "you're gonna die," with the wild-eyed glee of a deranged fortune teller. On "Wrong Turn," she's the ghoulish narrator of a slasher flick. The unlucky kids lost in the woods attempt to flee their killer, but Petras knows their fates: "I am who you really fear, hold your tears/ Save your prayers," she sings coldly.

On "Massacre," Petras flips the classic "Carol of the Bells" Christmas melody, already creepy in its own right, into something far more foreboding. Then, there are a handful of instrumentals, on which Petras barely sings, if at all, serving as mood-setting placeholders. How chic is that? A spooky, grimy Kim Petras club track with no lyrics? On these tracks, you can practically imagine her disembodied. It's almost as if she wants you to.

"I'm so hungry for a paranormal experience," Petras said last year. "I've been looking for them. I've always been obsessed with Ouija boards and tarot cards and the occult and witches. I haven't been lucky enough yet to have any of those experiences yet, but I really want to."

On Turn Off the Light, it sounds like Petras has manifested her darkest desires.

Photo courtesy of Kim Petras