Kesha's return to the scene is a haunting, powerful letter to her abuser that sends chills down the spine.
The last four years have been harrowing ones for Kesha Rose Sebert, more popularly known as Ke$ha. She has been in the middle of a series of lawsuits against her producer Dr. Luke, having reported him for both physical and emotional abuse. Due to the less than satisfactory outcome, she also suffered from a long period of “severe hopelessness and depression.” Yet from the ashes, she has risen like a phoenix.
Her first single back has appeared in the form of ‘Praying’: something unlike anything Ke$ha has ever done before. Its lyrics directly address the people who’ve hurt her. She sings in the chorus to her abuser, “I hope you’re somewhere praying/ I hope your soul is changing.” It’s forgiveness but also resilience and resistance, demonstrating her growth into a strong, independent woman. She sings these lyrics with such power behind her voice; there’s a desperation in it to express just how far she’s come. This desperation is so personal to her, and yet she shares it with us so that we can know something of it for ourselves.
Musically, it’s simple, allowing for the focus on her vocals and the words she sings to take precedence. The majority of the track is just vocals and piano, strings later fleshing it out more fully. It builds, so that by the end, with its layered vocals and staccato’d keys, it reflects the voices of many women sharing their experiences. The way that this builds is haunting and memorable, bringing out goosebumps, and raising the hairs on the back of the neck.
Although it’s by no means perfect, it’s a wonderful start for a new era of Kesha’s music. She’s started to hone her ability to bring her experiences to her music, and I think that Rainbow will be all the better for it. Though I hope for more of her classic pop tunes on this new album, I think that this older, more lived Kesha will offer something different. I’m damn excited about it.
Rainbow, featuring the single ‘Praying’ is out now via Kemasobe Records.