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