Warrior (Expanded Edition)


May 17, 2019

Kesha brings the gold along with her ‘Rainbow’

When most people think of Kesha, they likely have images of a hungover, trashy girl covered in glitter clinging to an empty bottle of Jack Daniels. Well, let me tell you folks, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I had the privilege of meeting her years ago and she is a gorgeous, stunning beauty who has a rebellious stage persona. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she has lived her share of crazy, but she is a professional and brilliant performer. Cue her latest album: Rainbow. After years of having to deal with litigation involving her producer and record label, this is the first offering we’ve gotten from Kesha since her 2012 Warrior album. While I won’t get into the legal mumbo-jumbo, I will say we have an emblazoned and empowered Kesha ready to reconnect with her fans and prove that she has staying power. If I look at the album as a whole, it really shouldn’t work. We have a couple spiritual songs, a few songs that belong on the country radio decades ago, a few songs that weird, a couple rock anthems, and a few other songs that seem to gel it all together. Maybe because it’s Kesha, that this works and doesn’t jar me the wrong way when listening. Perhaps it’s the absurd album cover that prepares me for the magic thats inside. Whatever it is, the album flows from start to finish. The main theme of the album is very clearly empowerment. ‘Bastards’ warns us “Don’t let the mean girls take your crown, Don’t let the scumbags screw you ‘round, Don’t let the bastards take you down.” ‘Let ‘em Talk’ is aptly named and is chock full of advice on how to deal with haters. This leads us to the hit ‘Woman’ - which is an unapologetic girl power anthem with a healthy side of funk. ‘Woman’ showcases Kesha in her element - fiery and fierce. ‘Hymn’ follows and mellows the mood in a sweet way - all while preaching acceptance of everyone. ‘Praying’ preaches self acceptance and forgiveness and provides the vehicle for Kesha to show that her vocals are truly heaven-sent. ‘Learn To Let Go’ discusses the need to move on from your past and embrace the future. ‘Finding You’ is one of those ‘gel’ songs that lets us into her love story and how she’ll find her lover again in the next life. ‘Rainbow’ is my fave track on the album because of the tender vocals and vulnerable lyrics about finding your own happiness. The gears change on the Johnny Cash influenced ‘Hunt You Down’ which warns her lover that he better behave or else. ‘Boogie Feet’ bounces us back to Kesha’s punky pop roots. ‘Boots’ is a sultry rock song that flirts with country…and feeling comfortable in your skin. ‘Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You)’ is a duet with Dolly Parton…who Kesha’s mother (Pebe Sebert) co-wrote and was a hit for Parton back in 1980. The album winds down on an playful note with ‘Godzilla’ about acceptance in society. Finally ‘Spaceship’ laments about Kesha’s wishes to be beamed up when she is ready to go. As odd as it sounds, there is a strength even in her absurd lyrics. While there are a multitude of styles covered on this album, Kesha’s tackles each like a pro. Not on a single song do you think ‘This would have been better if so and so recorded it.’ And perhaps thats because all the songs were co-written by either Kesha or her mother. The album also benefits from some interesting collaborators including The Dap-Kings Horns, Dolly Parton and Eagles of Death Metal. Unlike many other albums, these artists are very clearly here to support Kesha and let her shine, not vice-versa. Kesha and her team made great choices for their choice of singles. I feel like ‘Praying’ was a great way to showcase Kesha’s voice and set the tone of the album. Considering the stress of the legal action, it would have been very easy for Kesha to have knocked out an angry and angsty album. Instead, she proves she takes the high road with ‘Praying.’ ‘Learn to Let Go’ is an easy listen and again keeps things upbeat. ‘Woman’ certainly shows she isn’t to be messed with while ‘Rainbow’ softens everything out. The album, like the cover art, is abstract. Each time you listen, you’ll have a different take away from it. Different songs will reach out to you at different times in your life. Certain lyrics will jump out at you. But what is undeniable is Kesha’s talent as a singer-songwriter. I take that back, as an artist. She sees the world in a different light and we’re just lucky enough that she is willing to share that with us on this album. Perhaps thats why she called the record Rainbow.

Written by @spoiledsplendid

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