When it was rumored that pop singer and diva badass Kesha was returning to the music scene with a new song collaborated with DJ and producer Zedd in 2016, it was welcomed by fans and the music world who had long anticipated the end of a nearly 3-year hiatus from music by Kesha. While the Zedd collab piece “True Colors” that premiered last year showed us her sultry pipes, July of this year had the internet a flutter with the announcement of a new Kesha album. The embattled pop star is set to release her newest record, Rainbow, in August, returning to the music scene older and wiser, having been gone for longer than any of us have expected or wanted. With a touch of vulnerability and a whole lot of ferocity, Kesha is back, and better than ever.
“All my life
One page at a time.
I’ll show you my
My true colors.”
It’s been a long time since the track “Timber”, alongside PitBull, was released and was the summer anthem of 2014. Just like the song’s lyrics “it’s going down, we’re yelling Timber”, Kesha’s music career quickly sank that year due to a lawsuit she filed against producer and DJ Dr. Luke. Bound by a contract forcing her to produce music with Luke, whom she accused of and sued for sexual predation and misconduct, she refused to release any new music for 3 years. Her contract with Sony Music banned her from performing paid gigs using her own name, forcing her to produce music with Dr. Luke, and Kesha’s world was literally put on standstill for the last few years. Her case gained international attention and had a massive wave of support from a slew of other singers and artists, along with her fans, begging Sony Music to #freekesha. Trying not to be subdued, Kesha, a stalwart LGBT ally, continued to perform, for free, at gay pride festivals across the US and even debuted “True Colors” at Coachella with Zedd, but felt creatively stifled due to being “trapped” by Sony.
In the Spring of this year, after Kesha dropped her New York State charges against Luke, Sony announced that they had relaxed her contract, no longer forcing her to record with Dr. Luke. All of a sudden, the rumors that Kesha had written and recorded two albums worth of music during her time away spread like wildfire and were apparently true. Less than half a year later, Kesha’s new album is due out and she has released two singles with accompanying music videos.
With “Praying”, Kesha dropped an epic Adele-like anthem of a first single ballad about forgiving those that have scorned you and rising above. “I hope you’re somewhere praying, I hope your soul is changing.” An obvious nod to the chains that formerly bound her in the way of Dr. Luke and Sony, “Praying” is Kesha releasing herself from the burden of contempt and allowing herself to be free of those that wronged her: “You brought the flames and you put me through hell. I had to learn how to fight for myself.” Co-written by Kesha and Ryan Lewis of Macklemore fame, “Praying” is a power house song showing off her power house voice. The internet is still reeling over that note in the end of “Praying” that would even make Mariah Carey blush–It’s that high, full, and ferocious.
With her second single, “Woman”, part of the old, care free, happy-to-be-an-artist Kesha is back. With lyrics like: “I’m a mother fucking woman! I don’t need a man to be holding me too tight”, we realize this is a Kesha that we have long since missed. Certainly, a new empowerment song for women, Kesha’s “Woman” is playful, ballsy, and reminds us all of the Kesha we fell in love with. “Woman” is a fun, brassy second single that makes fans want more from this side of the popstar, too. It’s catchy, jazzy, and gives a little of what fans would expect from a Kesha album: her own particular flavor and brand that her Kesha heads love.
She might have been the Jack Daniels-for-breakfast, semi-messy, trainwrecky popstar that we fell in love with, but the newly emerged songstress reminds us that this is an artist who plays 14 instruments, takes part in writing nearly all her own songs, and has written smash hits for the likes of Britney Spears and others. She has returned and is already showing us that she is a force to be reckoned with. It’s been three years too long without having the talents of this amazing diva on our radio waves. But sometimes the wait, no matter how long, is worth it. Welcome back to a popstar that has really only just begun to show us her true colors.
Kesha, it seems, is finally free.
Rainbow will be released in August of 2017 on Kemosabe records.