I’m literally crying!
I didn’t start today planning to buy Kesha’s new album Rainbow, and I certain didn’t anticipate writing about it. More than anything, I didn’t expect to be so damn inspired and cry so hard listening to it.
Kesha’s new album is the most badass collection of original music I’ve heard in a long time.
Not everyone who makes music should get to be called an artist, but Kesha is the kind of person the word artist is meant to describe.
I got the Explicit version. I’m sure the Clean version is great, but I can’t imagine it being quite as fun without the expletives.
In terms of lyrics, it’s a very modern record. In terms of genre it’s also retro in surprising ways. It’s got a little bit country, it’s got some glam punk, it’s got some pop, it’s got some rock, and it has a whole hell of a lot of soul.
The album starts with a gorgeous ballad called, “Bastards.” My tears started 40-seconds into the song that mostly just her voice and an acoustic guitar, and it’s the kind of perfect song that I can imagine will be the song she sings to close her shows for the rest of her life as the audience sings along waving lit phones in the air. It crescendos into a crowd-ready anthem complete with fun to sing “Na-na-na-nas.”
From “Bastards,” Eagles of Death Metal join Kesha on the glam punk flavored, “Let ‘Em Talk.” It’s a song that sounds like it should’ve been on the Clueless Soundtrack. It’s super fun, but nowhere nearly as fun as the next song…
“Woman” is my favorite song from the record, and that’s saying a lot because I love every song but one SO MUCH!
I’m a straight guy who enjoys wearing makeup. I can’t explain that, but I’ve grown to love my feminine side, and this site is about letting that loose. Kesha’s “Woman” isn’t the first song about being a strong girl or woman that’s inspired me in away a song about being a man never has or probably can.
I love singing Britney’s, “I’m not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman.” Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” has always been huge to me. Jennifer Love Hewitt has a song that’s been my favorite song like this up until today. Love’s song is “Free to Be a Woman.”
I’ve always figured I relate somehow because the girl point of view has always made more sense to me than the boy point of view since I was in 5th grade and read Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.
The new Kesha anthem, “Woman” kicks so much more ass, though, and because she’s backed up by the Dap Kings horn section, the song has a bit of an Amy Winehouse funky vibe. She’s strong in the song, but also it’s so very obvious she’s having all the fun while recording it. She even cracks up laughing and I’m so glad that didn’t cut from the final mix. It’s just PURE JOY!
Next comes the song, “Hymn,” and the 3rd song that make me cry. If you’re not keeping count, 3 out of the first 4 songs made me cry. The lyrics resonate with me in a deep way:
This is a hymn for the hymnless, kids with no religion
Yeah, we keep on sinning, yeah, we keep on singing
Flying down the highway, backseat of the Hyundai
Pull it to the front, let it run, we don’t valet
Sorry if you’re starstruck, blame it on the stardust
I know that I’m perfect, even though I’m fucked up
Hymn for the hymnless, don’t need no forgiveness
‘Cause if there’s a heaven, don’t care if we get in
This is a hymn, hymn, hymn for how we live, live, live
This is a hymn, hymn, hymn for how we live, for how we live
“Praying” starts off as a poignant ballad that seems to be about that bad dude who tried to control her life. It’s genuinely moving and makes me proud to be a fan. I love people who go through life growing and improving and Kesha clearly is doing that with grace and honesty. “Praying” flows nicely into the poppiest song, “Learn To Let Go.” It’s more about learning life’s lessons, while the music sizzles.
The craziest thing about Kesha’s Rainbow is how every song fits on the album, but also each song feels like it might have been a hit from some past time in music history. “Finding You” feels almost like a collaboration with Paul Simon during his Graceland period, although the chorus is thoroughly modern in every way.
“Rainbow,” the title song could very well be the theme song for #ILoveThisSOMUCH! because it’s about finding color and embracing color and enjoying life after one of life’s shitstorms. She sings about rainbow colors in her hair. I recently discovered I can do fun things with colored chalk in my hair, so yet again … relatable!
“Hunt You Down” is a fun … wait for it … country song. If you’ve ever been to a dance recital, it’s easy to imagine this song being used for step dancing, except for the use of the phrase, “just know, if you fuck around, I’ll hunt you down!”
Next up does that thing where it sounds like she’s bringing something from music I loved as a kid. “Boogie Feet” again features Eagles of Death Metal and manages to evoke both the 1980’s pop song, “Hey Mickey,” (which MIND BLOWN was not by The Bangles!!!) and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Super fun!
“Boots” is a fun song too, but it my least favorite song on the record. I don’t dislike it on any level. It’s just compared to the songs the precede it’s just not awesome, and all the other songs very much are.
The awesomeness, AND THE TEARS, returns on “Old Flames,” a freaking Dolly Parton song and freaking Dolly Parton is singing harmony on the song. The awesome is multiplied when you find out Kesha’s mom wrote it for Dolly. It only feels a little bit country when Dolly takes the lead. I’ve never heard Dolly Parton sing with heavy electric guitar before, but I hope for more of that in the future. This is a song I want to hear again and again for the rest of my life.
“Godzilla” is a cute song that could be a kid’s song with a fun animated video. Think The Beatles and “Yellow Submarine.” It keeps bringing me back to the diversity of genre’s she borrowed from to create something familiar and entirely fresh and wonderful.
The final song on the album, “Spaceship” borrows from classic country sounds and she even works some twang in her accent as she sings about her Spaceship coming back for her.
Kesha’s return is better than anything I could have hoped for. It’s the most fun I’ve had listening to a new record in possibly my whole life.
I know I’ve never listened to an album that brought me to literal tears so frequently. Nothing I’ve written about so far on this website fits its name as perfectly because Rainbow is a nearly perfect piece of art and I love it SO MUCH!