Un­bro­ken melodies

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - LOUISE BRUTON

“Been un­der­es­ti­mated my en­tire life. I know peo­ple gonna to talk shit and, dar­ling, that’s fine, but they won’t break my spirit,” goes Kesha on Bas­tards, and the key mes­sage on Rain­bow, Kesha’s first al­bum in five years – her first since her dif­fi­cult le­gal battle with her la­bel as a re­sult of sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions against her long­time pro­ducer Dr Luke – is redemp­tion.

Over si­lence she’s cho­sen to il­lus­trate the jour­ney from bro­ken-down to un­break­able. “I hope you’re some­where prayin’, I hope your soul is changin’,” she urges on

Pray­ing, one of 2017’s most pow­er­ful pop mo­ments. Her re-emer­gence from la­bel limbo is a les­son in for­give­ness and, as she lets us know on Learn to Let Go, she’s ready to move on.

Her Nashville roots show on Hunt You Down, a Johnny Cash-in­spired song de­liv­ered very heav­ily with a wink, and she is joined by none other than Dolly flip­ping Par­ton on the coun­try bal­lad Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Can­dle to You) and Ea­gles of Death Metal as­sist on the de­light­fully ridicu­lous Boo­gie Feet.

And if the word coun­try turns you off, fret not: Kesha is still Kesha, lac­ing songs with in­nu­endo and an un­de­terred de­sire to get drunk and dance. Plus, in place of the bratty faux-rap she used on songs like Tik Tok, she ac­tu­ally gets to use her voice, which has more range than she pre­vi­ously dis­played. It feels like she’s fi­nally re­leas­ing the mu­sic she’s al­ways wanted to sing.

“Imma mo-ther-fuck-in’ woman,” she pings like an elas­tic band on Woman, de­liv­er­ing each syl­la­ble with un­wa­ver­ing con­fi­dence. Godzilla, an un­likely love song for the de­struc­tive yet mis­un­der­stood rep­tile, is a real high­light.

Kesha has shown phenom­e­nal strength of char­ac­ter in re­cent years and Rain­bow, the most colour­ful of come­backs, cap­tures her new lease of life and it feels so right. ke­shaof­fi­cial.com

KESHA Rain­bow ★★★★ Kemosabe Records/RCA

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