Kim Petras’ ‘Turn off the Light’ is a chilling accompaniment to the Halloween season


Calabaza Halloween / TindalosDI / CC BY 2.0

Halloween is swiftly approaching, and Kim Petras' new album is the perfect mood-setter.

The second I slid on my headphones and hit “play” on the first track off of Kim Petras’ “Turn off the Light,” I knew I was going to love this album.

First, I must admit that I’m not exactly the biggest fan of “spooky season.” That being said, this album surely got me in the spirit; I was instantly transported into the world of Halloween. 

The album isn’t accompanied by any music videos, but they also aren’t necessary.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this album is its ability to cultivate a distinct mood through sound and sound alone. Footsteps echo in the back, knives cut through the darkness, and you can faintly hear someone ringing the doorbell.

In fact, I believe music videos would inhibit the magic of this album. Without them, you can impress your own fears into the void. 

Petras’s personality shines through every track like a light in the dark. This album is the definition of trick or treat: You think you know what’s coming next, but then it takes another turn. The synths channel ’80s vibes, while her vocals have a modern flair; the two come together to form something entirely unique. It even requires a specific setting to listen to: late at night with the candles lit and the best headphones you can buy. 

The tracks on this album bleed into each other, yet each feels incredibly distinct. It’s less like a 17-track album and more like one 49-minute experience. It would feel wrong to listen to a single song by itself. 

Kim Petras

Released Tuesday, Oct. 1, this marks Kim Petras’s second album of the year, following her debut “Clarity” in June. This album is the successor to the “Turn off the Light: Vol. One” EP from October last year. The album was originally intended to be a second EP to follow with the first, but, as she wrote on Facebook, she decided to surprise her fans with “the whole damn story.” Eight of the 17 tracks are from the original EP, with 9 additional, previously-unreleased tracks. 

However, unless you were aware of the EP’s release, you wouldn’t have been able to tell that these were initially part of two separate projects. The songs on here flow so well together that it would seem blasphemous to listen them apart. 

Of the 17 tracks, nine are lyrically-based while eight are predominantly instrumental. They balance between each other and make the album an incredibly cohesive project. 

“If you want to take a bite / want to see the dark side / come on, turn off the light,” she sings on the title track, which features Cassandra Peterson, who is best known for her role as horror hostess Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. 

The first song off the album is “Purgatory,” which sets the mood perfectly. It directly leads-in to the first lyrical track on the album “There Will Be Blood.” 

“There will be blood / run for your life / go on and say, go on and say your last goodbye,” she croons. “You’ll never make it, never make it through the night.” 

When I considering my favorites, it was incredibly hard to pinpoint a specific track. Like I said before, these songs are inseparable. However, there were a few lyrical tracks, as well as a few instrumentals, that stuck with me long after the album was finished. 

Kim Petras


Topping the list of my favorite lyrical songs were “In The Next Life” and “Wrong Turn.” 

“Wrong Turn” is a foray into the darkness; the song begins with the sound of a car revving up, and from the get-go, you know you’re in for a ride.

“Nothing matters anymore / go ahead and lock the door / you’re my bloody valentine,” Petras sings. 

The lyrics in this song are foreboding, and although the chorus is minimalistic, it is incredibly fun to listen to.

Another one of my favorites among the new tracks is “Massacre,” which samples the Christmas classic “Carol of the Bells.” Yet, as you can tell from the title alone, it channels a very different feel.

There is a sense of power in this song that coincides with the horror vibe, and it’s safe to say more than a few chills ran up and down my spine. 

 “Queen of the damned / that which I am / reborn again / I never end / I never die,” Petras sings.

The layering of the vocals over the final chorus is the last touch on an overall amazing track. 

 A highlight from the original EP, also featured on this album, is “Tell Me It’s A Nightmare.” This song encapsulates all the major themes of the album, such as the inescapability of one’s fears, told through a twisted romance. 

 “It’s running in my veins / and it’s everything I touch / be careful when you love me / I’m only out for blood,” she sings. 

My favorite instrumental track was “Knives.” As I said before, Petras utilizes different sounds well here. There are no lyrics, and yet you can easily visualize the most haunting imagery. The track comes directly after “Massacre,” making percussion out of knives. 

Kim Petras

The story concludes with “Everybody Dies,” which is the quintessential ending to an album such as this.

However, at the same time, this track is remarkably different from the others: Petras sounds like she’s singing directly to the audience. 

“Not everybody wins / but everybody tries / not everybody lives / but everybody dies,” she sings.

It reminds me of the final track on her debut, “Shinin'” in both its production and her vocal style.

I am excited about future releases from Petras. She definitely has a vision, which is arguably the most important quality for any artist to have today. Ultimately, this album works perfectly for the season, and I expect to see myself listening to it more and more as Halloween approaches.