When you think of Ke$ha you may not necessarily think of live instrumentals, stripped vocals and a folk-rock undercurrent. However, you will find all of that in her latest album "Rainbow." Most associate Ke$ha with glitter, bubble-gum pop and energetic dance songs with outlandish lyrics, and that is what I expected when ﬁrst listening to her album too, but I could not have been more wrong.
To say that this project is experimental is an understatement. Songs such as “Bastards,” “Hunt You Down” and “Old Flames (Can’t Hold A Candle To You)” are very reminiscent of classic country and bluegrass. It was a pleasant surprise to hear how well her vocals sounded in such raw, simpliﬁed songs.
Her voice blended perfectly with the steel guitars and especially well with Dolly Parton’s vocals in “Old Flames.” I was ecstatic to see that not only the "Queen of Country" was featured on this album, but also one of my favorite bands, the Eagles of Death Metal. The marriage of Ke$ha’s attitude and messages of empowerment with the crunch, garage-rock sound of EODM is a match made in heaven.
“Let Em’ Talk” tops my list for the best song on the album. It is a feel-good, catchy song that represents the resilience of Ke$ha’s story, yet still manages to come across as gritty. “Boogie Feet” is similar in the way of a heavy rock feel. I could hear strong inﬂuence from the Eagles Of Death Metal in their own quirky, rockabilly way.
It also reminded me of early Miranda Lambert in that Ke$ha speaks of revenge and new love with a commanding, badass presence.
Aside from the country and rock side of the album, Ke$ha has some slower ballads as well as nods to electronic and heavy pop songs that deﬁne her career. Songs such as “Finding You” and “Hymn” will excite long-time fans looking to ﬁnd a bit of nostalgia in the 2017 charts.
Currently her most popular songs on the album, according to Spotify, are “Praying,” “Learn To Let Go” and “Woman.” This surprises me due to how much I enjoyed her venture into a new territory of genre, but nonetheless her ballads are meaningful and symbolic to her audience — they speak of moving forward and her struggles from a place of restraint to freedom.
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Those who have followed her ongoing legal battle with her previous record producer Dr. Luke will know that it has been a long process for the singer to ﬁnally be able to record songs that she can control creatively. Knowing this before listening to "Rainbow" allows the entire album to tell a story of her journey, and gives the listener the feeling of traveling along with her while she dabbles in new music she was previously unable to.
The remaining songs on her album such as the title track “Rainbow,” Spaceship” and “Godzilla” take on more of a dreamy and whimsical tone. There are strong folk inﬂuences on the entire album, but in these particular songs, the listener can appreciate the absurd lyrics and almost trance-like feeling the songs give off.
All in all, this album is a gem. As a casual pop listener, it is shocking to hear Ke$ha take on such diverse and well-respected genres such as classic country and rock, but she did it so perfectly.
This is a great album to listen to as the start of fall semester approaches. I would recommend this album to anyone looking for the perfect soundtrack for the end summer, your study group or to add to a pregame playlist. "Rainbow" exceeds my expectations and I truly believe there is a song every one will enjoy in this record.
Here’s to Ke$ha and her new image, and may she continue to delve into Americana roots and bring us more Dolly Parton duets.
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