Kim Petras Makes Her Big Move
After a 15-year journey, Kim Petras has finally released her long-awaited debut album. Along the way, this German singer-songwriter has steadily risen in the ranks, becoming a prominent figure among pop artists. Her “Era 1” singles, spanning from 2017 to 2019, paid homage to the fizzy bubblegum pop of the 2000s, while her Halloween-themed mixtapes added an edgy and spooky flair to her repertoire. Earlier this year, Petras achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first trans artist to claim a Number One hit with “Unholy,” her collaboration with Sam Smith.
However, the path to her album, titled “Feed the Beast,” has not been without its challenges. Petras has faced criticism from music fans for her continued collaboration with Dr. Luke, a producer embroiled in a lengthy legal battle with Kesha over accusations of sexual assault and abuse. This legal dispute recently settled out of court, causing further controversy. Additionally, Petras signed with a major label in 2021, but her original debut album, “Problematique,” was ultimately scrapped and leaked, adding another setback to her journey.
Describing her new release as her most “personal” work to date, Petras aims to depart from the characters she embodied in her Turn Off the Lights Halloween projects and last year’s Slut Pop EP. However, some listeners feel that this album has strayed even further from Petras’s true creative essence, losing the quirky magnetism and spark that made her previous eras so enjoyable and unconventional.
Petras’ latest material draws heavy inspiration from the Nineties house and Europop genres. The lead single, “Alone,” features a surprisingly low-energy guest verse from Nicki Minaj and samples Alice Deejay’s 1999 hit “Better Off Alone,” incorporating unnecessary trap hi-hats into the mix. Unfortunately, much of the album follows a similar pattern, resorting to cheap tactics aimed at gaining radio and TikTok popularity, which diminishes Petras’ reputation as a trendsetter and instead positions her as another imitator in a sea of imitators. Tracks like “King of Hearts” and “Claws” feel like a barrage of diluted, indistinguishable tunes, akin to overpriced vodka sodas.
However, amidst the criticisms, there are some positive aspects to note. The sun-soaked bop “Coconuts,” released last year, remains a standout track. “Revelations” incorporates a steely touch of Eighties guitar and a chorus that pays homage to Petras’ spooky-pop roots. While many songs on the album exude a strong sexual theme, “Sex Talk” and “Hit It From the Back” stand out as particularly bold and humorous, commendable for their directness.
In summary, Petras’ new material showcases a heavy influence from Nineties house and Europop. While there are moments of brilliance and a few standout tracks, much of the album leans towards generic and diluted pop tropes, potentially diluting Petras’ unique artistic identity.
Among the tracks on the album, “Minute” captures some of the promised vulnerability from Petras. It is a sincere and uncomplicated love song, expressing the desire for someone to stay a little longer. On the other hand, “Uh Oh” embodies a classic Petras party track, with catchy hooks and an energetic vibe. The chorus confidently declares “Everything I drop is a banger,” which holds true for the song itself, but falls short when considering the overall album.
Even the weaker songs on the album still possess potential to ignite the dance floor. Petras’s unwavering love for pop music and the emotions it evokes shines through. However, in her pursuit of achieving Top 40 status and broad appeal, she seems to have left behind the uniquely forward-thinking and unconventional personality that initially garnered her a dedicated following. The once untamed beast now appears subdued. It is our hope that this taming is only temporary and that Petras will soon reclaim her distinct creative spirit.