Anyone can tell you how much I love Kesha, so when she announced her new album, I was so excited. I had been legitimately worried that she would never make any more music. While this album is certainly molded by the terrible things that happened to her and the ensuing legal battle, it isn’t solely about them. Less than half of the album (the first six tracks, out of fourteen) deals with that, ending at “Learn to Let Go”, after which the album takes that advice and moves on to other topics.
The four lead singles, “Praying”, “Woman”, “Learn to Let Go”, and “Hymn”, all got me progressively more and more excited for the album. I still can’t listen to “Praying” without getting emotional. It’s such a beautiful, powerful song and she hits that note. “Woman” (featuring the Dap Kings!!!) kicks so much ass and is an empowering track and an interesting fusion of genres that gets your feet stomping whether you’re wearing cowboy boots or Converse. “Hymn”, despite being my least favorite track on the album, showed that Kesha wasn’t going to hit a crazy awesome high note at the same point in every song on the album, which gives the times she does that more power, at least to me.
There is one new recording of an old Kesha song on this album. This version features Dolly Parton! I am, of course, referring to “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You)”. This song is a cover of a song written by Kesha’s mother, Pebe Sebert, in 1978, and had a version in 1980 performed by Dolly. Kesha previously covered it on her “Deconstructed” EP, which came out around the time of her Warrior album, and featured acoustic versions of her songs, along with “Old Flames”.
“Hunt You Down” is the song that is playing in the car at the beginning of the video for “Woman” and it reminds me of that tumblr post where people are saying they hate country music, but listing the first lines to country songs that get them into it. “Boots” is another country-esque song that feels like a spiritual successor to “Boots and Boys”.
There are also two tracks which feature the Eagles of Death Metal and they are both awesome as well.
This album comprises love songs, both for oneself and for others, redemption songs (ditto on the subjects), fun party songs, and genre bending power tracks. It is everything I had hoped for in Kesha’s return and then some. I’m so glad she’s back and I know this is just the beginning. I have always been and will continue to be, an Animal.
RIYL: Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, The Eagles of Death Metal, Dolly Parton, Joanne by Lady Gaga, The Ting Tings, Karmin, Robyn
Recommended Tracks: Literally the entire album. Please just listen to the album.