Kesha – Rainbow

I got too many people I got left to prove wrong
All those motherfuckers been too mean for too long
And I’m so sick of crying, yeah
Darling, what’s it for?
I could fight forever, but life’s too short

Kesha - RainbowKesha wastes no time digging into the headlines surrounding her over the past several years in this direct statement to her critics, naysayers and perhaps the man himself who has kept her down.

Kesha was at risk of being relegated to late 2000s nostalgia with her string of party dance pop hits that momentarily put her in the pop spotlight. While Rainbow is in many ways a statement record, she hasn’t quit her old persona entirely. She shows a lot of vulnerability on the record, but there’s also confidence and attitude. Woman is a feminist power-pop anthem not unlike others of the last decade, except the message here isn’t clamouring independence. She already owns it and paying dust to those who need to catch up.

She’s serious but she doesn’t take herself too seriously. There are party songs (Boogie Feet), sassy quotable one-liners (“if you can’t handle these claws, you don’t get this kitty” from Boots) and hooks across many styles. The album has almost as many different genres represented as there are tracks. From the folk leanings of the bookends Bastards and Spaceship, to the rocking Let ‘Em Talk, to the pop ballads Hymn and Rainbow to the Motown-filtered country song Hunt You Down and the cover of Old Flames (Can’t Hold A Candle To You), a song co-written by Pebe Sebert (Kesha’s mom (!!) who had a hand in co-writing a handful of other tracks on the record) for Dolly Parton back in 1980. Dolly sings with Kesha on this cover.

The evolution of Kesha has been not only exciting, but extremely welcome. Rainbow is triumphant not only because it’s packed with some of the best pop songs of the year, but also simply because it exists. During her legal battle with her frequent former collaborator, it was unknown if and when Kesha would be permitted to release another album again. With Rainbow, not only did she succeed in releasing, she succeeded in putting together a solid record of kick-ass songs. It still oozes Kesha’s signature IDGAF personality – only this time, it feels truly authentic.

Five stars

1. Bastards
2. Let ‘Em Talk [featuring Eagles of Death Metal]
3. Woman [featuring The Dap-Kings Horns]
4. Hymn
5. Praying
6. Learn To Let Go
7. Finding You
8. Rainbow
9. Hunt You Down
10. Boogie Feet [featuring Eagles of Death Metal]
11. Boots
12. Old Flames (Can’t Hold A Candle To You) [featuring Dolly Parton]
13. Godzilla
14. Spaceship

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