Kesha’s back! Pop queen of the early 2010s, self-confessed party freak and glitter-infused fist-pumper – she’s never been one to shy away from the matter at hand – and her new single is no different.
‘Raising Hell’ is quintessential Kesha. It’s big, it’s brash and it’s in your face. And it doesn’t give a damn.
Following on from the release of slightly more mellow ‘Rainbow’ two years ago, ‘Raising Hell’ is the perfect way to introduce us back to the party queen. The track opens in the same vein as ‘Rainbow’ – the gentle trickling of a piano accompanied by Kesha’s dulcet tones welcoming us back into all things pop. But don’t be deceived. The first ten seconds or so aren’t representative of the whole track – it’s more a way of Kesha shredding her old skin – the darkness that was wrapped around her in ‘Rainbow’ – and stepping back into the light of euphoric, rhapsodic pop music.
“I’m all fucked up in my Sunday best / No walk of shame ’cause I love this dress,” she declares on the gospel-inspired song. I mean, of course those are the lyrics. I’ve always considered Kesha to be one of the most prominent modern faces of feminism – she’s always been balls to the wall confident; following whatever career path she so desires – and ‘Raising Hell’ only reinforces that statement.
The track features Big Freedia, and though she doesn’t feature an actual verse per say – she mainly spends the time on the feature yelling “drop it down low” and making vague “ooooh shit” noises in the background – it actually works. They’ve both taken you to church, and bitch you better get ready to be blessed.
The drop in the song is a little dated. It pretty much sounds as though it’s been ripped straight from a song from 2012 – which is a vast amount of time in the ever-changing face of pop music – but in a strange little way I kind of like that. Pop heads have been dying for pure, dirty, filthy pop music for a while now – with Gaga switching to ballad/country vibes, Perry ditching brash pop for a mellow, minimalist approach. Kesha, meanwhile, manages to dish up something fresh yet familiar – her own new little bubble of pop, and she makes it sing.
‘Raising Hell’ features a neat little interlude; which goes full on gospel vibe. It bursts into the brilliant bridge, with Kesha declaring “Haters, suck my ooh.” There’s the Kesha we know and love. Kesha’s certainly taking us to church, and it’s the church of self-love.
‘Raising Hell’ manages to balance new and old Kesha brilliantly. We’ve got splashes of the bold, confident party girl we’ve come to know and love over the past nine years, whilst celebrating the feminine woman behind the party tunes. Her latest single is a celebration of all of that – celebrating the darkness and light – a true icon of strength to not just women – but music listeners everywhere. As Kesha coos at the end of the track: “This is for the misfits of creation (You’re welcome, ah), Take this as your holy validation (Come on), You don’t need to hide your celebratin’ (Sing it, Kesha, bitch), This is our salvation.”
It’s no secret that Kesha’s entangled in a battle with music producer Dr. Luke – addressed with her former lead single ‘Praying’. Kesha says that Dr. Luke raped her, and then years worth of legal battles back and forth plagued the singer – and still do to this day, with no real resolution in sight.
The music video is darker than the track itself, showing Kesha as TV evangelist murdering her abusive husband and then fleeing ala ‘Paparazzi’ style. This juxtaposition of the light, joyous track – the gospel choir preaching joy and love – mixed with domestic abuse and murder, is a genius way of portraying the darkness bubbling beneath the seemingly bubblegum world of pop music.
Check out the music video for yourself and get blessed, bitch! The track’s a bit of a grower, I have to say. You might not immediately fall in love with it, but I guarantee you that you’ll be hitting the replay button before too long. That run-time of 2:49 just isn’t long enough! (I joke, it never outstays its welcome).
Kesha’s always been the wild child of pop music – Lady Gaga is the weird sister reading poetry with a joint at the dinner table, Britney’s the one setting the table, smiling vaguely, Katy Perry’s doing a slightly-drunk speeech… While Kesha is rocking up to dinner two hours late with bed-hair, smeared makeup and the vague smell of whiskey on her breath, but with a great big grin on her face – and that’s why we love her. (No shade, as Taylor Swift said, we’ve all got crowns.)
In the words of the pop mistress herself, Kesha’s got her balls back – and they’re bigger than ever. Keep your eyes peeled on Screen Streams by giving me a follow on Twitter, where I’ll be reviewing her upcoming album ‘High Road’ in January. Fun fact: The next album has a track named “Kinky feat. Ke$ha”. Old Kesha’s back, biiiiiitch!
For more on pop music, check out my review of Taylor Swift’s ‘Lover’ – or check out everything we know about Lady Gaga’s upcoming album, #LG6.
If you’re a true Animal, grab yourself some rad Kesha merch from Amazon right here!