Kim Petras led fans on a merry dance to her debut album ‘Feed The Beast’. Released earlier this year, the record followed a string of singles, merging Euro-dance flavours with her pop sass. The album itself stepped away from this slightly, and fans were left yearning for that early Kim sound. Truth is, ‘Feed The Beast’ wasn’t actually meant to be her debut – that role was assigned to ‘Problématique’, but label politics saw it shelved.
Finally unearthed as a surprise release, ‘Problématique’ is a vivacious 10 song document from the pop trailblazer. In recent interviews she’s cited ‘Electra Heart’ by MARINA as a formative influence, alongside the raunch of Britney’s ‘Blackout’. There’s also more than a little French touch in the production – bold, disco flavours, with a very Euro-centric outlook.
A burst of sensual pop erotica, ‘Problématique’ is a rule-breaking burst of truth-saying. The dazzling title track opens proceedings, all audio fireworks that fizz and crackle on the stereo. ‘Je T’Adore’ is outright fun, while Paris Hilton link-up ‘All She Wants’ is a brassy, tongue-in-cheek ode to designer thrills.
It’s ridiculously entertaining, but the glossy thrill-seeking does occasionally feel repetitive. ‘Born Again’ lifts from the Dua Lipa playbook, while steering this in a Petras-focussed lane; ‘Confession’ is a punchy slice of Euro-dance, the bolshy synths reminiscent of Justice in their direct approach.
Even across its slim 10-track span, however, not everything lands. ‘Treat Me Like A Ho’ doesn’t truly fit the over-arching Euro-focussed theme, the early 00s hip-hop production a world apart from the slinky St Tropez gloss of ‘Deeper’.
That said, when ‘Problématique’ hits, it does so with incredible force and accuracy. ‘Dirty Things’ is a raunchy bop without peer, while cheekily titled closer ‘Love Ya Leave Ya’ – with its French restaurant accordion – is deliciously funny. The debut that was never meant to be, it’s only right that ‘Problématique’ has found space in our lives – Kim Petras as her most sensual, and downright entertaining, it’s the perfect kiss off to our collective summer.
Words: Robin Murray