Music review: Kesha’s cathartic prayer
Kesha, known for her synth-rock and electric-pop sound, has returned to the music scene by giving the negative people and things in her life a giant middle finger. She created an album that many listeners can resonate with.
Rainbow, released Aug. 11, 2017, is Kesha’s third studio album, which is one of her most vulnerable and personal albums to date. A lot happened in her life, and these are the background stories for her lyrics. On Jan. 3, 2014, Kesha checked herself into a rehab facility for an eating disorder, and this was the beginning of the writing process for Rainbow. In October of that same year, Kesha filed a law suit against Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald — known professionally as Dr. Luke — the producer of Kesha’s first and second albums for alleged sexual assault and battery.
Kesha claims the assaults took place over their 10-year relationship within the music industry. The lawsuit carried on for over a year, during which time she was unable to release any new music because of contractual obligations. Kesha filed a preliminary injunction to be released from her contract with the alleged sexual predator’s record label, Kemosabe Records. A year and a half this, the courts ruled against Kesha’s request. However, with all this organized chaos going on in her life between January 2014 and February 2016, she found time to start writing the songs for Rainbow.
“Rainbow is truly from the inside of my guts,” Kesha said to The Guardian. The first single on the album is titled Praying. It starts off slow with Kesha singing while playing the piano with a choir in the background. It tells a story where she “channeled all feelings of hopelessness and depression … and found strength inside myself even when it felt out of reach.” The song seems to show a vulnerable side of the popstar and the emotional toll she has gone through the last three and a half years. However, the song also carries a powerful message, not necessarily one of forgiveness but of letting things go.
“Music is some kind of crazy elixir that heals all, and unites all people,” Chris Carrabba, lead singer of Dashboard Confessional told New Musical Express.
Kesha does just that with this album in such an aesthetically pleasing way by making the songs emotionally driven so that we, as the listeners, resonate with them. Hymn, a personal favorite track of mine on the album, shows the defiant Kesha standing her ground as a leader of the outsiders.
“This is a hymn for the hymn-less, kids with no religion,” Kesha belts. “Yeah we keep on sinning, yeah we keep on singing.” Hymn is a song for those of us who take a “stand against racism, who embrace equality of all kinds and to anyone who feels they are not understood by the world or respected for exactly who they are,” Kesha said in an interview with Rolling Stone.
Rainbow demonstrates through a myriad of nuances that Kesha is a lyricist for our generation. Also, while not straying from originality, this album shows a maturity level that was unexpected to hear from Kesha anytime soon.