“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