Kesha is back, y’all! Her latest album ‘High Road’ is a fist-pumping, electro-pop celebration of all things that make Kesha, well… Kesha!
From the upbeat ‘Raising Hell’ to the melanchony ‘Shadow’, there’s a little splash of something on this album for everyone. Join me on my road trip with the pop star as we embark on the ‘High Road’.
The album opens up with ‘Tonight’, and, uh, I wasn’t exactly thrilled by it. While it opens with powerful vocals from Kesha, it quickly drops into a trap-beat chorus where the pop star repeats “bitch we goin’ out tonight”. While it’s Kesha returning to her pop roots ‘Sleazy’ style, it’s lacking a bit of punch. Still, it’s not as bad as ‘rich, white, straight men’ which made me want to delete the Spotify app forevermore and never listen to another song again.
Thankfully, ‘High Road’ quickly takes an upward turn. ‘My Own Dance’ and ‘Raising Hell’ follow the lackluster intro track – and they’re both brilliant. Classic Kesha – “woke up hungover as Hell like it’s 2012”, mixed with her powerful vocals from ‘Rainbow’. Pure pop perfection.
The title track shows a little bit of introspection, which Kesha choosing to rise above all of her IRL drama and focus on what makes her happy – fist-pumping pop tracks. And her joy practically oozes out of the track.
The track I was most excited to hear was ‘Kinky ft. Ke$ha’. Like, what?! The dollar-sign party girl Kesha we all know and love is back – and Kesha was cheeky enough to give herself a feature on her own album? That’s downright sick. As for the track itself, it truly does sound like something from 2012, and I love it. Classic Kesha is back.
‘Honey’ – Kesha’s personal diss track of the record – loses a bit of the album’s momentum, feeling more like a filler or unfinished demo than a memorable album track. With the album racking up 16 tracks as it is, this is one that could’ve been left on the cutting room floor.
Thankfully, ‘Cowboy Blues’ brings me back to liking the record, with the simple guitar riff echoing throughout the track, the lyrics remind me of something out of ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ – and I mean that in the best way possible. “Do you ever lie in bed with your three cats, and get obsessed with some boy you met, one time, three years ago in Nashville? And you can’t remember his last name“. It actually made me laugh out loud, which is something I can’t say for many albums. It shows off a flash of Kesha’s personality beautifully.
‘Potato Song (Cuz I Want To)’ is Kesha’s testament to her hatred of growing up, declaring that she’s going to ride her pony until it’s time to go home and eat some candy. While it sounds like a weird ass fever dream carnival track, I can totally relate to the message behind it.
The album is full of little quirks that only Kesha could pull off. ‘Birthday Suit’ opens with video game noises which echo throughout, ‘My Own Dance’ uses Kesha’s odd vocal fry to show the singer’s eccentric personality. It’s full of little oddities that make it truly unique in the scope of pop music. Whether it’s a phone call to her mum or featuring herself on her own track, Kesha’s certainly standing out from the crowd, in all of her glittering glory.
‘Father Daughter Dance’ is probably Kesha’s most personal track – apologising for her anxiety, saying she doesn’t know if she wants kids, and wishing that she had a Dad (her Mum raised her by herself, via a donor).
“I wish my heart wasn’t broken from the start” she cries, offering a deeply personal view at the glittering pop star. It actually made my heart ache.
“Baby I’m not a rose I’m a wild flower” she declares on ‘Chasing Thunder’, another fave of mine from the record. It’s an uplifting, glamorous anthem about life itself, offering advice to her fierce Animals and her past-self at the same time.
Lyrically, Kesha has gone from strength to strength with each record. ‘High Road’ strengths Kesha’s position as a capable songwriter, capturing that badass we all know and love with witty, tongue in cheek lyrics.
“Hate is the poison, love’s the elixir – if you don’t like me you can suck my -” Kesha tells us on ‘Shadow’. Well said, girl. We’d expect nothing less from you.
Closing with ‘Summer’, ‘High Road’ truly shows Kesha’s in every shade. She’s coloured in glittering heus from her heyday, her country twanged vibe of ‘Rainbow’ and her darkest, deepest fears of love. At the end of the day, she’s still that same party girl we all know and love, but now she’s all grown up.
I’d have possibly mixed up the tracklisting a bit, moving ‘Little Bit Of Love’ up a notch to break up the slew of mellow, low-tempo tracks. But still, it’s a minor complaint. ‘Love’ itself shows that Kesha can sing, hitting those high notes in a party, love-fuelled anthem, making it one of my favourites off the album.
Overall, the record is a solid entry into Kesha’s discography. It takes me back to 2012 – my uni days where I’d draw dollar signs on my arms, drink bottles of vodka and dance my ass off to Kesha in the club. Good times. ‘High Road’ takes the idea of trashy pop tunes and elevates it to a cohesive collection of pop tracks that offer a glimpse of where Kesha is at in her personal life: truly, deeply, happy.
For more on pop music, check out everything we know about Lady Gaga’s upcoming album, ‘LG6’. Or, take a look at what I thought about Kesha’s lead single, ‘Raising Hell’.
Featured image credit: Billboard.