From Hell and Back, Pop Princess Kesha Returns With Her Ray-Of-Sunshine New Album
After a series of injustices done to Kesha over the last few years regarding legal battles against her abuser (who shall not be named out of respect for Kesha), our pop princess rightfully makes her return with Rainbow, a stunning and electic album full of heartfelt ballads and in-your-face anthems.
In 2014, Kesha was the victim of emotional and sexual abuse at the hand of a well-known producer. Kesha's strong attempts to get justice were unfairly denounced and she dealt with a long legal battle that remains ongoing but so far has shown little support for Kesha. Backed by a loving community of fellow musicians like Zedd, Fiona Apple, Lorde, and more, the pop legend gained public support in regards to the case.
Despite the terror Kesha suffered from her abuser, his supporters, and the justice system, she has released her first full-length album in five years. Rainbow, a 14-track record, serves as a universal reminder to let oneself feel their sadness... then come back stronger than ever. Rainbow offers solace to underrepresented communities -- women, those who have been sexually abused, the mentally ill -- by allowing us all to peek inside Kesha's frazzled, colorful mind.
Normally, we'd put together a general overview of the album, but Rainbow deserves an in-depth play-by-play. Here, we break down every single track on the album.
"Bastards": Beginning with a gentle acoustic strum, Kesha's voice moves from a soft delivery to a stretched falsetto to a desperate plea when the hook comes in, belting "Don't let the bastards get you down." For the first three minutes, "Bastards" hums along with a sparse arrangement until suddenly, the song breaks open with a vibrant orchestral instrumentation. Horns and harmony join Kesha in bringing "Bastards" to life.
"Let 'Em Talk": Here, Kesha teams up with hard-rock group Eagles Of Death Metal for a gritty dive-bar number. Thick electric rhythms back up Kesha's howls, coming together for an in-your-face call-and-response as our newly crowned rugged pop-rock princess reminds us, "Don't let those losers take your magic, baby!"
"Woman": One of the record's big singles, "Woman" is a soulful empowerment anthem. Similar to her signature party pop tunes, the track explodes with woozy horn arrangements courtesy of The Dap-Kings, all while Kesha laughs her way through an addictive power banger.
"Hymn": Next is the otherworldly, inspiring track "Hymn." Here, the song seems to serve two purposes: one, a personal diary entry from Kesha to Kesha, a reminder to herself that she is made of magic despite her obstacles, and two, a shout-out to the world, encouraging us all to power through our error. With a sing-along hook, spacey sparkling rhythms, and an intense vocal performance, "Hymn" is essential to the whole of Rainbow.
"Praying": The album's standout track, "Praying," is a devastating work of sonic wonder. Kesha shows her vocal range during soft airy falsetto and desperate, yowling pleas, all atop a simple piano rhythm that discretely grows with more urgency. Halfway through, a stunning screech of strings takes over like a wave, and suddenly the song explodes with slaps of percussion and gospel-like backing vocals. The abrupt instrumental dips and raw vocal variety make "Praying" feel tangible, like it is alive and writhing and fierce, the musical embodiment of Kesha herself.
"Learn To Let Go": On her big fuck-you to past problems, Kesha launches a lyrical sanctuary. With a creeping, percussion-based introduction, "Learn To Let Go" quickly rises to full-power, a slap of high-energy multi-instrumentation dancing underneath her impassioned voice singing lines like "So I think it's time to practice what I preach, exorcise the demons inside me."
"Finding You": The middle of Rainbow holds a sweet little love song. Opening with an odd folksy guitar riff, the track allows Kesha to offer a mystical, wavering vocal line. The chorus hits quickly, a straightforward, catchy rhythm describing how the ones we love can be our "happy ending."
"Rainbow": The album's title track is unsurprising in its talent but shocking in the quantity and quality of its talent. Produced by iconic singer-songwriter Ben Folds, "Rainbow" opens with an uncomplicated piano arrangement as Kesha's sugary sweet voice sings "Now I see the magic inside of me." Throughout the track, she admits her personal black-and-white struggles, but ultimately discovers the color that lives in us all. A whirling, dazzling, devastating, and profound anthem, "Rainbow" gently steers listeners toward the good. Sparkles of percussion and swells of strings fill every second of this song with wonder.
"Hunt You Down": The record's first outlaw country tune, "Hunt You Down," finds Kesha showing off both her folk vocal ability and her tongue-in-cheek humor. The song is driven by a rockabilly rhythm line, weaving in and out of candy-coated vocals singing the sociopathic confession, "I ain't afraid to get a little crazy, baby, when I'm in love."
"Boogie Feet": Eagles Of Death Metal return here, offering slices of schizophrenic electric arrangements. Kesha's influences run the gamut with this tune, ranging from video game chimes to throw-down punk beats to angelic vocals, a frenzy of bizarre fun.
"Boots": Not your typical love song, "Boots" is a creeping, outlaw experimental track about going from having "boys in every country code" to staying loyal to the one you're young and in love with. Deep rhythmic throbs and a lurking beat back up Kesha's quirky quips like "if you can't handle these claws, you don't get this kitty."
"Old Flames (Can't Hold A Candle To You)": An homage to her songwriter mother who penned the track back in the 70s, Kesha's rendition is powerful and dreamy. Dolly Parton, who first made the track a hit in 1980, joins Kesha for chilling harmony here.
"Godzilla": Another song penned by Kesha's mother, "Godzilla" is a slow-rolling, gentle, whimsical acoustic tune with a bizarre subject matter, beautifully delivered by Kesha's thoughtful vocal performance.
"Spaceship": The last track to grace Rainbow is "Spaceship," a mesmerizing banjo ballad. A drunken country arrangement drives the song as Kesha sings poignant lines like "Lord knows this planet feels like a hopeless place / Thank God I'm going back home to outerspace." Her voice tries out resignation, confession, and desperation, three beautiful phases aided by the instrumentation's mystifying twang.
On Rainbow, Kesha proves that she has new life inside her. The return of her musical prowess has granted her a well-deserved confidence while offering fans a hypnotic, eclectic, and powerful album. From inspiring ballads as soft as whispers to fierce anthems of empowerment as untamed as a forest fire, Rainbow is a gift to listeners. After Kesha's storm of injustice and hurt, she is reborn in a delicious delirium of rainbow emotion. We are all shades of thankful.