What is Ava Max going as for Halloween this year? "Something hellish. I feel hellish, as you can tell," she said to MTV News on a recent Zoom call. "I'm wearing all black. I've been wearing all black the last two weeks a lot."

Of course, feeling hellish is only half of Max's story. On the "Sweet But Psycho" singer's energetic debut album, Heaven & Hell, she's both angel and devil, as asymmetrical as her trademark hairstyle. Max split the LP into its two titular parts after dreaming up the concept en route to the 2019 VMAs, where she performed during the red-carpet pre-show. She finished the ethereal opening track, "H.E.A.V.E.N.," during quarantine earlier this year with producer and collaborator Cirkut. And to listen to Heaven & Hell is to discover not divine highs and evil lows, but a steady stream of uptempo electro-pop that could power an hourlong cycling class, a much-needed solo dance session, and just getting shit done.

That's by design, too. "I try and make it super empowering, each song, and motivating, but I also want there to be a story, but then I also want you to be able to dance to it," she said. "But then on top of that, I want it to be weird and theatrical. So I feel like, personally I like to have my cake and eat it, too."

Oct 12, 20

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