“One, two, three, four, one…” Kesha softly speaks into the mic, opening “Bastards” on her new album “Rainbow.” She takes a breath and a soft, gentle guitar starts strumming. Wait…this is Kesha, right?
Right! “Rainbow” explores a completely new side of Kesha, but she still manages to maintain her “fuck-it-I’m-doing-me” attitude that we all know and love. From the folky opener, Kesha quickly morphs back into her pop roots by the second track, “Let ‘Em Talk.” A punky guitar riff precedes the opening lines, “You, you’ve got your own opinions//but baby, I don’t even need to hear ‘em,” and doesn’t skip a beat getting into her party-pop, feel-good, jump-and-dance sounds.
After battling an eating disorder and an array of messy, ongoing legal disputes with her former producer, Dr. Luke, Kesha has come back stronger than ever, both musically and emotionally. “Rainbow” is certainly a testament to that strength. Not only do lyrics like, “I know that I’m perfect, even though I’m fucked up” exhibit strength, but the pure and simple rawness in her voice do as well.
“Praying,” the first single released off of “Rainbow,” is probably the most stripped down, at least until the second chorus. Forgiving piano chords open the track and after a few bars, Kesha’s sincere and somewhat raspy voice joins in, singing “Well, you almost had me fooled//Told me that I was nothing without you.” You can tell by the tambour of her voice that she’s been through a lot.
You can also tell that she’s undergone a profound amount of healing. The first half of the album is about self-acceptance, learning to let go, and coming to terms with the fact that you may never understand why a person would hurt you. Not only does she accept and grow from the pain others have caused her, Kesha also wishes them peace. She doesn’t judge those that have wronged her, but instead, she hopes their souls change, and they find what they’re looking for.
If you thought Kesha was just a boring pop artist, you certainly thought wrong. “Rainbow” proves to the world that Kesha is strong, talented, intelligent, and completely capable of achieving any goal she makes. If you haven’t yet checked out this incredibly empowering piece of work, you should drop what you’re doing and get to it, and dance with her, please.