KESHA

POP’S FOR­MER BIG­GEST PARTY GIRL PUTS EV­ERY­THING INTO EMO­TION­ALLY RAW RE­TURN.

Q (UK) - - Q Review -

The for­mer party girl puts her court trou­bles to one side for an emo­tion­ally raw re­turn.

KESHA RAIN­BOW KEMOSABE/RCA, OUT 11 AU­GUST

One-time party girl Kesha’s brand of gram­mat­i­cally ques­tion­able EDM ground to a halt when she al­leged that a big time hit-maker had sex­u­ally and emo­tion­ally abused her (a le­gal bat­tle is on­go­ing). Her last record, 2012’ s War­rior, felt like a bat­tle cry but Rain­bow is her al­bum for sur­vivors. Gone is the dol­lar sign from her name. Gone are the bro-pleas­ing beats, the brush­ing her teeth with bour­bon. Dap­pled with “real” mo­ments of gig­gles and shouts, it’s clear that Kesha is as­sert­ing con­trol over her work, per­haps for the first time. Pray­ing is an apt lead sin­gle: a cathar­tic power-bal­lad that neatly de­liv­ers the mes­sage that she has risen above her op­pres­sors as well as show­ing off vo­cals that have been so fre­quently dig­i­tally messed with, we didn’t know they ex­isted. There are up­beat songs – the rous­ing Woman re­sem­bles a post-mil­len­nial Man! I Feel Like A Woman and Let ’Em Talk is a punky kiss-off to doubters – but it’s not re­ally the bangers that get you. Sing­ing with Dolly Par­ton, whose sugar-sweet vo­cals tem­per Kesha’s rougher ones beau­ti­fully, her cover of Old Flames is an un­ex­pected de­light and the Pet Sounds-in­spired ti­tle track is an an­them for the ma­ligned. Its cas­cad­ing or­ches­tral ar­range­ment ebbs and flows around Kesha’s voice, never over­whelm­ing her un­adorned, al­most-child­like vo­cals as she sings about find­ing in­ner strength. It’s the al­bum’s most ar­rest­ing mo­ment, the height of what pop mu­sic can be and do. Just as you’re re­cov­er­ing from that, she launches into rootin’ tootin’ re­venge barn dance Hunt You Down; the good times haven’t dis­ap­peared com­pletely. It’s not a per­fect al­bum – some songs feel too fast, al­most manic in their de­sire to ex­ist – but its mes­sage is clear. Kesha is sur­viv­ing, yes, but thriv­ing too. HHHH KATE SOLOMON Lis­ten To: Rain­bow | Woman | Pray­ing | Old Flames

IT’S CLEAR THAT SHE IS AS­SERT­ING CON­TROL OVER HER WORK, PER­HAPS FOR THE FIRST TIME.

Kesha: that Splash re­boot is fi­nally given the go-ahead.

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