BY DANA GALO
Kesha’s latest album Rainbow was definitely one of the most highly anticipated albums of the summer. After releasing singles like Praying and Woman, it was only a matter of time before we started counting down to its release. Once known for her major club hits like Tik Tok and We R Who We R, Kesha took this album in a completely different direction. Instead, Rainbow takes listeners through the emotional journey that began with the singer’s legal battle against producer Dr. Luke, who she claims was physically and mentally abusive towards her; because of this, the world was unsure of whether or not Kesha would ever release any music again. Thankfully she persevered and continued to record more music, because Rainbow is flawless: vulnerable, empowering, and optimistic. Each and every song presents its own authentic and uplifting message. Kesha uses this album to take us through the process of growing, forgiving, and moving on. It’s evident that the collection of songs, ranging from ballads to country pop, all take inspiration from her Nashville roots. Through the course of the album, we hear beautiful slower and instrumental tracks such as Bastards, where the message is quite literally “don't let the bastards get you down.” In the same spirit of self-love, Learn to Let Go, Let Em Talk, and Hymn promote the idea that hate should not affect one’s happiness, but instead teach valuable lessons and encourage inner growth. In her powerful hit single Praying, Kesha makes it clear that she does not wish for revenge or even pity for the trauma she has endured; she is healing. With lyrics that seem to be aimed at her former producer, including “I hope you're somewhere prayin', prayin', I hope your soul is changin', changin' / I hope you find your peace falling on your knees, prayin',” it is extremely clear that she doesn't need Dr. Luke to be successful.
Alternatively, Woman is a fun anthem for not only women, but also equality. This song, complete with a funky sound by the Dap-King Horns, especially resembles the type of music that Kesha was previously known for, music that showcases her values, even if it's somewhat controversial. Her title track, Rainbow, a personal favorite of mine, due to its masterfully upbeat and hopeful vibe was presumably named for what comes after any storm: a rainbow. At the same time, songs like Hunt You Down and Old Flames, featuring Dolly Parton, showcase a very organic twang that Kesha hasn't really explored before. Boots takes a darker and more electronic pop direction and is full of innuendos centered around her love life, while Finding You is a much more straightforward and instrumental song, expressing her desire for a ‘forever’ love. Boogie Feet demonstrates Kesha’s love of dance with the perfect upbeat tempo as she points out the need for “body shakin” and “good vibrations.”
Notably, this album makes many references to childhood, through its lyrics as well as its music videos. For instance, the video for Learn to Let Go depicts Kesha coming face to face with her demons as she connects her present life with her past. In the song Rainbow, she directly states “and deep down, i’m still a child / playful eyes, wild and wild.” Finally, the track list ends on a sillier note with songs like Spaceship, Boogie Feet and Godzilla. Both Spaceship and Godzilla pay tribute to her love of fantasy and childish dreams as she sings about “waiting for her spaceship to come back” and “taking Godzilla to the mall.”
Overall, the album as an entirety is a fun and positive production that I highly recommend. In reference to her last album, Kesha has truly proven to be a Warrior. With this new maturity and artistic freedom, Kesha has the potential to once again become one of the biggest names in pop culture.