Kesha’s third studio album “Rainbow” isn’t your normal pop record. It’s the comeback of the year and the potential album of the year. We see an artist being reborn and taking all the negativity the has been publicly revolving around her for the past 5 years and turning it into something truly positive. Before you listen to this record you should be pre-warned that this isn’t your typical Kesha sounding record. There’s no “Tik Tok” styled moment but she has evolved musically, lyrically and artistically and still holds onto the same empowering craziness that you fell in love with. “Bastards” is the perfect album opener as it’s a simple one-take track that sees her just giving you raw vocals and a simple strumming guitar with minimalist production toward the end. The songs message of self empowerment and believing in yourself embodies the whole feeling and emotion of the record. “Don’t let the bastards get you down, don’t let the assholes wear you out, don’t let the mean girls take the crown”. She embraces being an outcast and glorifies it, making you actually feel cool if you feel that way too. She then ignites things with the infectious rock meets pop “Let Em Talk” which is similar to the sound she was perfecting on her last record “Warrior”. It’s a crazy collision of sound and attitude that will have you wanting to just run around and dance. The female empowerment track “Woman”, the wacky “Boogie Feet” and the self belief bop “Learn To Let Go” continue this sound as well as injecting a slick groovy pop feel. “Hymn” is that MOMENT on the record. It’s an RNB tinged anthem that speaks straight to the people that feel like they are outcasts in this world. “Sorry if you’re starstruck, blame it on the stardust. I know that I’m perfect even though I’m fucked up”. It’s a song that get stuck in your head instantly and you will find yourself pushing replay constantly. But then “Praying” steals the show with the raw emotional vulnerability you didn’t realise you needed so badly in your life. She empathises with her abuser and while she can forgive she can’t forget and she hopes that he’s trying to better himself. However, I don’t think I will ever get over that high note at the end of the song. Like, ever. But then I heard the title track. ‘Rainbow” which is a cinematic sound escape that was written as a promise to herself that things will get better. “I’d forgot how to daydream, so consumed with the wrong things. But in the dark, I realized this life is short”. And it is one of the most pure tracks on this record. It’s a honest plea to be okay and with an orchestral production that sounds like it should be in a Disney movie you will be spellbound by this magical track.
The album then shifts towards a more romantic approach on the beautiful and gooey “Finding You”. The production starts off with a Spanish influenced guitar riff before giving an emotional rock rawness making it one of my instant favourites. “I know forever don’t exist but after this life, I’ll find you in the next. So when I say “forever,” it’s the goddamn truth. I’ll keep finding, finding you”. Throughout this whole record there is a heavy country influence that crosses into the pop and rock realms of her music. The feminist cowboy “Hunt You Down” is a 100% country bop. It’s not going to be for everyone but it grows on you and will have you loving it even if its solely for you the ridiculously great lyrics. She then does an incredible cover of “Old Flames (Can’t Hold A Candle To You)” with Dolly Parton which will have a new generation falling in love with this beautiful song.
“Boots” is probably the most nostalgic “Kesha” sounding track and will have you instantly obsessed and praying that it becomes a single. It’s playful, fun and that right amount of quirkiness. “Godzilla” may be a stripped down and minimalistic track but the lyrics and unique storytelling will have you obsessed. She compares one of her boyfriends to Godzilla in this hilariously relatable track. She finishes the album anti-climatically with “Spaceship”. This is the only song on the album that I’m unsure about. Lyrically I get it. It’s about finding comfort in death and feeling like you don’t belong in this world and waiting for that spaceship to pick you up to beam you home. But the bluegrass tinged track just feels a bit lost within the rest of the album. The only thing that redeems it is her touching monologue at the end. “I watch my life backwards and forwards and I feel free. Nothing is real, love is everything, and I know nothing”.
However it doesn’t take away from how perfect this record is. From the constant message of self empowerment and loving yourself to the vivid imagery that will have you dreaming of these unique stories. The epic variety in production adds to this magic and while it may not be the bubblegum pop-dance that you are used to from her this is the mature Kesha you always wanted. And do I need to even start on her vocals? There’s no auto-tune. It’s just her raw, powerful and captivating as ever. If you are unsure about listening to this record because it’s “Kesha” then do yourself a favour and don’t be so snobby and give it a go. I can promise you this is nothing like what you expect and you may just fall in love. I know I have. Welcome back Kesha!