By MARIA SHERMAN
AP Music Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kim Petras fans, the wait is over. The Grammy-award winning German popstar has surprise released her previously shelved and partially leaked debut album, “Problematique.”
Across 10 tracks inspired by French house music released Monday, Petras’ makes a bold reclamation of her artistic autonomy: from the funk-y “Born Again,” to the smooth retro-pop of “Dirty Things” and the playfully materialistic “All She Wants,” which features “Stars Are Blind” singer Paris Hilton.
“It was shocking when I found out part of the album leaked — at the time — that it wasn’t ever going to come out, especially as I poured so much of myself into it. I was heartbroken but, at the same time, it was really exciting to see my fans listening to the tracks and loving them,” Petras said in a statement to The Associated Press.
“Now that I’m able to put them out, it’s just so freeing to have more music that I love out in the world and officially share them in a way that all my fans can hear them.”
That opinion is shared by Hilton. “Recording ‘All She Wants’ at Kim’s house was so much fun,” she said in a statement. “The song is all about being unapologetically fabulous, a sentiment both Kim and I live by.”
The road to “Problematique” has been a difficult one. In 2021, Petras signed with major label Republic Records and announced the album — then scheduled to be her full-length debut — but it was eventually scrapped and leaked.
It was a disappointing turn of events for Petras and her fans, who had long awaited her first album. It wasn’t until June that she released what would become her actual debut, the flirty, Eurodance-pop “Feed the Beast.”
That arrived 15 years after the launch of her career and followed a few history-making events: This year, Petras became the first openly trans artist to win in a major category at the Grammy Awards for her playfully sacrilegious collaboration with Sam Smith, “Unholy,” in the best pop duo/group performance category. The same song, re-released as a bonus track on “Feed the Beast,” went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the first trans artist ever occupy the top spot.
Releasing “Problematique” now, in some ways, is a way to keep her fans on their toes — and a way of taking something that was stolen from her and packaging it in a way that feels true.
“I don’t ever want to be predictable or repeat myself, and it reminds me of when I was an independent artist and able to put things out on my own schedule and keep people guessing,” she said. “I just hope everyone loves the new music as much as I do.”
The album was released due to fan demand and in advance of her “Feed the Beast” world tour, which kicks off on Sept, 27 in Austin, Texas, and concludes in Milan on March 5. Petras says fans can expect to hear some of their favorite tracks from across her vast discography.
“When I was thinking of opening night, it popped into my head that I wanted to add some of the songs from ‘Problematique’ on the set list. My Feed the Beast Tour is about all these different sides of me — from my ‘Clarity’ project, to my ‘Slut Pop’ EP, and my ‘Turn Off the Light’ mixtape — so why not include ‘Problematique’ if people are already somewhat familiar with it?
“And then I thought, why not just release the album,” she said.