Kim Petras‘ pop music is too sincere to be satire, but it’s right there on the border. The 25-year-old’s songs have a vibrancy that verges on the absurd: the synths that pulse through her songs sound less like music than neon lasers shot out of a large cannon; the basslines are so thick and rubbery that they feel like they might leave you with rope burn; her voice is lacquered with Autotune, giving it a sheen so bright it almost feels like you can see your face reflected in her words.
Still, this isn’t PC Music, though Petras, who appeared on Charli XCX‘s recent Pop 2, does travel in the same circles. (It might be a bit easier to swallow her music, which is consistently co-written and co-produced by Dr. Luke, if it was satire.) Her new single, “All the Time,” instead feels like the rest of her small but increasingly stellar discography: the purest distillation of pop that currently exists. It’s pop music as Pixy Stix—all sugar, no pretense.
The song, like so much great pop, is about the onslaught of a crush. “Didn’t plan to go and catch another feeling, but it / Hit me just like it was lightning, I don’t know what happened,” Petras sings, as keyboards twinkle and sparkle in her orbit. She taps into a vein via the directness of her songs—broadstroke themes, gleaming, unfussy production—but there’s still something just smart enough about her writing to give the end product a distinct freshness. “Wanna kick it with you all the time,” she sings as if in conversation, “Yeah, I’m all the way down.”
This is distinctly millennial pop music, with its reverence of pop as an art form, casual slang, and deft blurring of irony and sincerity. “Every time you lift me / up I wanna pop, up I wanna pop,” she sings. And then there’s a ~pop~.