Monday, December 4th, 2017

Kim Petras – I Don’t Want It at All

Readers’ Week begins with a recommendation from Harshal…


Hannah Jocelyn: Petras is already the pièce de résistance in Dr. Luke’s redemption storysee, I’m not that bad a person because I’m helping this transgender pop star get off the ground. So, that’s gross, but how is this as a song? It’s catchy — the title line has popped into my head pretty often, and the production is expectedly bouncy — but slight and self-conscious. The song, on its own terms, feels less like the work of an experienced hitmaker than someone asked to write an idea of a bop. (Hamptons, diamonds, tigers on a gold leash…) Petras’s history shouldn’t necessarily matter, but in a cultural moment where everything about who you are and what you do matters, lord knows we need the T in LGBTQ standing proudly alongside Troye Sivan or Halsey in the Hot 100. But those acts conquered the charts by being proudly themselves. Blind, bland assimilation via a producer all but washed-up can’t be the only way forward.

Katherine St Asaph: Boycotting abusers in music is hard enough, given how obfuscated and NDA’d the writers and producers and cash streams are for any given song, how many stories simply aren’t public, and how nonexistent consequences are. No industry has ever cared for more than a couple years — Woody Allen has a movie out, Roman Polanski remains Hollywood-beloved, Jimmy Savile had to die first — and the press’s caring melts away with its funding, independence and institutional knowledge, into uncritical fluff about Dr. Luke protegees Becky G or Sophia Black or 17-year-old Sophie Rose (subject of the single worst tweet in online history; note the year). It isn’t as if Dr. Luke is inescapable (indeed, this is his legal argument) — a MySpace/YouTube star with about a decade of music produced by obscure Germans is not exactly a career coup. But nor is he trying, as he’s done before, to sound timely. Out of context this might remind one of Ark Music. In context, it’s a Katy Perry track if Witness never happened and pop never got complicated — a throwback to a time that coincides with Luke’s imperial period — and inside context, it’s too dark to listen and too inessential to need to.

Iain Mew: How much spikier this could be, if so much of it wasn’t hemmed in by resemblance to the most tum-de-tum-de-tum bits of “Last Friday Night.”

Crystal Leww: I’m all for more trans women in music (especially pop music, where white dude producers frequently steal sounds from queer scenes to make massive profits) but I’m not interested in that being a part of a Dr. Luke rehabilitation tour. I’ll admit this is a smart move on his part, but it reeks of something rotten. This whole thing is a calculated way to let time pass before the inevitable apology tour all while gaining some social justice credibility. What’s more, “I Don’t Want It at All” just underscores how irrelevant Dr. Luke has become very quickly. It sounds like a Katy Perry outtake from the One of the Boys era. I hope that Kim Petras gets something better soon. We all deserve better here.

Will Adams: The “Material Girl” conceit is a hard sell in this decade, but like Wynter Gordon’s “Buy My Love,” “I Don’t Want It At All” pairs its aspirations of luxury and pampering with chintzy synthpop in order to create an amusing contrast. It imparts the idea that it’s really not that serious, just a glittering technicolor daydream of what that impossible lifestyle might be like.

Edward Okulicz: Uber-capitalist pop can be quite fun and funny, but this one has all the archness and sophistication of Katy Perry — that is, far too much, and none whatsoever. Petras blasts through one or two good lines and ten or eleven indifferent ones at the speed of light, eventually achieving a semi-orgasmic state of capitalist fruition on the titular line. There’s about two minutes’ worth of a fun novelty pop song in here, but it goes for four minutes and its best bits don’t suffer the repetition so well.

Tim de Reuse: The line “I want all my clothes designer/I want someone else to buy ’em” is a bratty, genius nugget, and Petras is petulant in an undeniably infectious way; the gaudy, bright synthwork matches her to a T. But by the time the song’s unnecessary fourth minute brought the chorus’s fourth nearly unaltered repetition, I was more than ready to get the hell out of California.

Jonathan Bradley: The synths could be Pharrell in lounge mode, or Daft Punk in the same, but Petras’s continental roots are better revealed by her Phoenix-like phrasing. These are piquant reference points for vivacious pop sass, but “I Don’t Want It at All” arrives at a throwback brassiness — perhaps evocative of the pop that producer Dr. Luke made before he was ejected from the charts and good company — that could use the brattiness of an Icona Pop. A run-time about half a minute too long tests the patience too.

Nortey Dowuona: Meh. Average synth bass. Barely visible synths. Tinny singing by Petras. I can’t tell whether this song is serious or not.

Julian Baldsing: Satirical pop songs that position themselves as mirrors in front of the gaping, sweaty beast that is our materialistic society are one of my absolute favourite things — because they’re so endearingly human. The popstars singing them would probably move into a mansion with a hot chocolate fountain and an in-built shopping complex before the last tile’s even set, but people like to place some distance between themselves and their less exemplary interests, and satire’s the best way to do so without creating any real distance at all. The line between ridicule and reveling is so thin that it may as well be non-existent, and these songs end up as anthems of the very things they supposedly rail against. It’s what made The Fame such fun, it’s what made Electra Heart so thrilling, and it’s what makes “I Don’t Want It at All” the only song I want to soundtrack my next ill-advised e-shopping spree.

Alfred Soto: Releasing a bit of greed-is-good electro disco is “Material Girl” for the Trump era, itself not a hapless gesture. But I bet Sky Ferreira, the soon to be reviewed Billie Eillish, Putochinomaricon, and my friend Max’s pet salamander could do more with a boo-hiss quip like “Give me all of your attention/give me summer in the Hamptons” than Kim Petras manages, loudly insisting on her outrage.

Alex Clifton: If Ariana Grande went full brat rather than diva, we’d end up like a song like this. “I Don’t Want It at All” is heavily materialistic and the conceit wears thin after a while (especially in the current political climate, where I’m fully aware of the divide between the haves and the have-nots), but Kim Petras is so winning that I can let that slide. If nothing else, this would make a great Lip Sync For Your Life song: it’s got glitz, glamour, and strut, and almost makes me want to wear high heels.

Reader average: [8.5] (8 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

6 Responses to “Kim Petras – I Don’t Want It at All”

  1. Wasn’t huge on this but I’m very much interested in her feature alongside Jay Park (?!) on an upcoming Chari XCX song

  2. holy shit I had no idea MIXTAPE4 was even a thing thank you so much for making my day Joshua

  3. I didn’t know you guys were doing Readers’ Week! Is it too late to submit a request?

  4. it is, unfortunately :c

  5. that said we are always open to hearing reader requests during the regular cycle

  6. readers are killing it this year i’ve liked every song posted so far