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Pop Review

Kesha – Rainbow – ALBUM REVIEW

    Where has Kesha been? who cares? A lot of people didn’t know (but could probably assume) that Kesha (formerly spelled “Ke$ha”) was in rehab for the past while, but rather than the usual celebrity downfall story of a pop star turning to drugs and bad life choices, Kesha was suffering from a very serious eating disorder that was spiralling out of control. Kesha’s only tool to stay sane was to write music, but they wouldn’t let her play any instruments until the facility allowed her to play with a toy keyboard for an hour at a time, per day. It was within these hours that she would start to write the title track off of this album “Rainbow”, and as she wept by herself in solitude, Kesha decided that she wanted to do a full 360 with her music once she was out of rehab, no more “no fucks given” attitude, no more self-depreciation, she wanted her music to be about her, in the most raw and pure form she could deliver, and that’s exactly what you get with “Rainbow”. Of course there’s the inevitable dose of “Ke$ha” sound that we’ve come to expect, but for the most part, you’re getting a completely transformed woman here, and it’s certainly a breath of fresh air.

Rainbow begins with the comforting and supportive short, but epic “Bastards” which features some wonderful range in Kesha’s voice, fans are introduced to her new, refined country influenced voice in terms of inflection and subject manner, while still staying in that Ke$ha format in context. Near the end of the song, the song explodes into a power ballad of a chorus, with a catchy na-na melody, great opener, and a great message to never let them haters get you down. The next song is one of two on the album that features the Eagles of Death Metal for the instrumentals, and for “Let ‘Em Talk” this hard-hitting, fun rock/punk banger follows the same subject matter as Bastards did, but with a more positive & happy notion towards it.

Continuing this empowerment train is “Woman” which has Beyonce written all over it. This song was written when Kesha heard about Trump’s “pussy grabbing” conversation, in which she retorted to herself in her car “I’m a mother fucking woman!!” Keep on keeping on Kesha. I can’t really relate to this song, nor will I be listening to it again, but I think she’s doing a great job with this feminist empowerment topic throughout the album, super confident and catchy as hell. Speaking of super catchy, probably one of my favourite tracks on Rainbow is “Hymn” which kind of sounds like a newer T-Swift song, but its got enough Kesha-isms for it to be original. The song flows smoothly with this deep synth pad and a low tempo beat, while Kesha sings an insanely infectious melody, I’ve been going back quite often. The song is a “Hymn” for everyone that stands up for what they believe in.

Praying” is a song produced by Ryan Lewis, and it’s one of the leading singles for the album. It’s an intense piano ballad featuring some of Kesha’s most passionate and talented vocals to date, and honestly I was blown away with Kesha’s singing capabilities in this one, I’m glad to see she is using her talents tastefully this time around with Rainbow.  “Learn to Let Go” is another banger off the album, a pop-rock fusion with a super catchy chorus, although to me this song sounds pretty generic, and will most likely be the top-40 single for the record. I do love the message behind it, learning to let go of things in the past that will ultimately affect your decisions in the future. Let go and you shall prevail!! Truth.

Love, love the vocal melodies on “Finding You“, Kesha has a kind of Alanis Morrisette/Shakira twang in her voice on this one; sounds great. The song is about persevering your true love even in the after life; Kesha will seek out her love and be with him like she’s destined to no matter what obstacles she encounters in the process.

I know forever don’t exist
But after this life, I’ll find you in the next
So when I say “forever,” it’s the goddamn truth

I’ll keep finding, finding you

The title track “Rainbow” is the most emotional and raw part of the album. This is the song that Kesha used as a catalyst for making this album, and to change around her life for the better. This song is her getting through the gruelling and nasty storms and revealing the (metaphorically speaking) rainbow of hope; new beginnings. At this point you can see how much of a 360 she has turned from her past persona with songs such as “Tik Tok”. Back then I would’ve never imagined she could come out with songs this pure and emotional. The next track “Hunt You Down” has this classic Johnny Cash like country-swing vibe, clearly Kesha is heavily influenced by country music as it is the most prominent style in this album. The song is a fierce, dark toned song about how if anyone fucks around/cheats on Kesha, then damn boy, she’s going to hunt you down, and she will kill. Best stay away from this situation, Kesha’s boyfriend.

The grossly generic sounding “Boogie Feet” is a ridiculously silly rock song featuring Jesse Hughes, and the Eagles of Death Metal. Kesha has this no-judgement filter on her in this song, where she isn’t afraid to say cringe lines like “are you scared of these boogie feet” with a “Monster Mash”-like inflection, It works ’cause that’s the care free, fun vibe she was going for with the track. It’s an alright song, but I don’t see any replay value for me. The most “Ke$ha” sounding track “Boots” is next, and is a constant kick-drum thumping, marching Katy Perry esque song, with some more cringe lyrics like: “If you can’t handle this claws, you don’t get this kitty, raaawr”, oooooh boy, couldn’t get over that one when I heard it.

We get to the Dolly Parton cover song (featuring Dolly Parton herself): “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You)“, a classic country ballad, if you’re into that sort of thing (not my cup of tea). This song is very important for Kesha and her family, as her mom actually helped co-write the original with Dolly. In this version of the song, we get beautiful, perfectly matched harmonies between Kesha and Dolly. Besides the vocals, the instrumentals are pretty dull and rather lifeless in this beautifully executed duet. Another favourite for me, “Godzilla” is a super cute and quirky song, originally written by Kesha’s mom until Kesha insisted to make it for the masses, It’s a song that uses the hyperbolic metaphor of Godzilla being a new boy/girl friend whom has yet to meet his/her parents. There’s plenty of clever lines riddled in this song, such as: “What do you do when you meet Godzilla, and fall in love”. The last song is a pretty abysmal outro, it features a twangy banjo and a simple acoustic kick thump. “Spaceship” is about Kesha finding her true home and finding closure with terrible things like death and despair. Similar to Kanye (in his song with the same name) Kesha’s waiting for her spaceship to take her to where she really belongs… definitely a subject that’s been discussed one too many times in the music world.

Okay, so I got through this project and was actually very surprised at how much I loved a good majority of this album! A lot of it was a little too country and Shania Twain for me, but I love the story of how Kesha was able to find her Rainbow and flip her world upside down, the song’s have real deep and personal meaning to them, and Kesha delivers in powerful vocal ability and song writing talents, she’s definitely back on track. I gave the album a 6 because there’s a lot of songs on this album that I’ll probably never listen to, not necessarily because they’re bad songs, they just aren’t songs I’m into stylistically. However, I’ll be looking forward to see what Kesha comes out with in the future, because this is obviously a huge step in the right direction for her.

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  • Avi
    August 21, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Very confused by your “6 out of 10”!
    I understand that you won’t listen to them again, but you admit that most of them are better than a 6. Her album is raw and full of range, and easily worth more than a D- if you were giving that letter grade!