Metro Weekly

Kim Petras ‘Feed the Beast’ Review: Cold Commercialism

Kim Petras' third album, "Feed the Beast," waters down the artist's edgy weirdness to its own detriment.

Kim Petras -- Photo: Luke Gilford

There is a moment in the chorus of the title track of Feed the Beast (★★☆☆☆) when Kim Petras sings, “I know that nothing comes for free.” It’s not clear whether or not she meant the line to serve as a sardonic nod to her label, but the relative soullessness of the album to follow certainly leaves the possibility wide open.

Having scrapped her highly-anticipated and widely-leaked third studio album, Problématique, Petras was in a difficult place, having to meet the demands of a major label that presumably wanted her to prioritize mass commercial appeal.

That opening track is one of a few shades of the sprawling, knockout hyperpop album that Petras and her fans might have hoped Feed the Beast would be.

Instead, she plays it uncharacteristically safe, with a series of energetic-but-anemic tracks that reliably clock in between two and three minutes and sound more tailor-made for radio play than just about anything she has released up to this point, often to its own detriment.

Petras’ sheer force of personality is one of her greatest assets as an artist, and the moments where she lets it shine give the tracks some dimension and help to save the album from falling completely flat.

“Thousand Pieces,” her shot at a heart-wrenching pop ballad, finds nowhere to go in its brief runtime and at the same time manages to drag on, although the little bit of Miley-snarl she injects into it is a fun addition. Her cocky swagger on high-octane would-be club bangers like “King of Hearts” and “Uhoh” almost distracts from their hollowness as tracks.

Calling an album your “most personal yet” is a time-honored cliché in the music industry, but in this case it rings particularly empty. The version of Kim Petras we get on Feed the Beast is recognizable and familiar, but too often she sounds like someone imitating and at times even parodying her. Her previous EP, Slut Pop, was full of unabashed sex positivity.

This time around, that gleeful, unabashed sexuality is largely absent, having mostly replaced with an awkward faux-scandalous approach to sex that mostly exists on the level of innuendo and makes songs like “Sex Talk” and “Hit It From The Back” almost embarrassing to listen to, but not for the reasons Petras might have hoped.

Kim Petras: Feed the Beast
Kim Petras: Feed the Beast

Among the best work on display on Feed the Beast are a few previously-released tracks including “Brrr” and “Coconuts.” They are not only the most fun on the, they are also full of personality and are memorably, instantly recognizable Kim Petras tracks.

The fact that they have already had their moment in the sun takes some of the impact out of them, and the contrast between them and the relative blandness of most of the other tracks is a reminder that Petras is more than able to turn out memorable pop hits that could only have come from her.

That gulf is most apparent at the very end of the album, which concludes with “Unholy” as a bonus track. Her duet with Sam Smith has already met with phenomenal commercial success and it makes complete sense to include it here — but the inclusion of such a fun, infectious, and genuinely different song is an uncomfortable reminder that Petras is capable of so much more than the previous 37 minutes let on.

If there has been one constant in Petras’ career up to this point, it’s probably her weird, singular charisma that makes her almost impossible to imitate, and even to her detractors, one of the most memorable artists in pop today.

The small handful of standout moments are cause for hope that Petras still has plenty of fun, subversive weirdness in her. But what is most unfortunate about Feed the Beast is the way she diminishes her magnetism, seemingly in the service of cold commercialism.

Feed the Beast is available to stream and purchase on all major platforms. Visit

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