Kesha Rose Sebert has made an undoubtedly triumphant return following her widely publicised legal battle with producer Dr Luke, involving claims of sexual assault and battery. In August 2016, however, she dropped the charges, stating that she wanted to release music for her fans, and that she just wanted to feel happiness again – and release music she did, in the form of her latest album: Rainbow.
this new era of Kesha instead offers us, at least at times, a poignancy previously unseen
The difference in headspace between the trashy (but fun, nevertheless) Animal and Cannibal (which came out in 2010, by the way – feel old yet?), featuring hits such as ‘Tik Tok’ and ‘Blah Blah Blah’, is obvious. Maybe it’s her well documented struggles with rehab that have had this effect, or perhaps it’s simply due to the fact that she has now entered her 30th, brilliant year. But she seems to have slightly toned down the crazy, at least for now, and as a result, this new era of Kesha instead offers us, at least at times, a poignancy previously unseen.
Make no mistake however; Miss Sebert’s cheeky, unique charm still shines through amongst the acoustic ballads or heartfelt rhythms, with “I’m a motherfucking woman” repeated many a time in, you guessed it, ‘Woman’. It’s clear Kesha can hear your opinions and how you talk about her – but she is done with it all, and doesn’t care. This album for all those people, those that don’t fit in, those are told don’t do this or that – as ‘Hymn’ [for the hymnless] shows us. It’s made for those “kids with no religion” who “don’t need no forgiveness” – we’re all a bit Kesha, really.
Something else clear here is the amalgamation of several different genres – with country and rock influences prevailing throughout. Indeed, the album’s twelfth track features none other than the queen of country herself, Dolly Parton. In a charming gesture ‘Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle To You)’ was originally written and released by Pebe Sebert, Kesha’s father, in 1980, with an acoustic version previously being featured on Deconstructed, a 2013 EP. But this new version, along with Dolly, is delightfully country.
And just when you think the album is ‘normal’, and we’ve lost the ‘Crazy Kids’ Kesha forever, songs like ‘Let ‘Em Talk’ (featuring The Eagles of Death Metal) remind us of the charm that first set the world alight. With penned lyrics such as “Shake that ass, don’t care if they talk about it, fuck all that, haters just forget about it”, and even proclaiming “suck my dick”, it is defiant, fun, and a raucous reclamation of the self.
It’s clear Kesha can hear your opinions and how you talk about her
Kesha’s latest offering features unlikely, but pleasing artist pairings, along with a whimsical, old-time feeling, while simultaneously being thought provoking and at times, moving. There are truly meaningful lyrics sometimes hidden behind poppy melodics, or the twang of a country banjo.
The final track, ‘Spaceship’ is a perfect example of this, as while the singer claims she is waiting for her spaceship to take her home, the outro reminds us of the nature of this earth. “I’m nothing more than recycled stardust and borrowed energy, born from a rock, spinning in the aether. I watch my life backwards and forwards and I feel free. Nothing is real, love is everything, and I know nothing.”