by Lara Unsworth
In a perfect universe, a person would be able to freely admit that they revel in Ke$ha’s grimy, synthetic, disheveled world of parodic pop without a violent mob of extremist Beatles and Alt-J fans threatening to take the life of said person. However, this is not a perfect universe and so, as I write this, I can practically hear the hardcore Bon Iver devotes rallying the troops as they delegate torch-lighting and pitchfork-sharpening duties to worshippers of the not-at-all acclaimed [insert band you’ve never heard of here].
Unfortunately, we live in a certain reality. And in our reality, the things that entertain you are things that people use against you (I’m speaking in general terms here; obviously if you’re entertained by murdering people or, God forbid, Keeping Up With the Kardashians then chances are you have a problem and, yeah, people should probably use that against you). And why wouldn’t they, right? I mean, how could anyone with a shred of intelligence actually like a talentless, auto-tuned, unoriginal, imbecilic, vapid, dirty dot-dot-dot like Ke$ha?
Well, to those naysayers (whom I can now hear gathering outside my bedroom window), Warrior and I extend a peace offering of glitter and three hit singles.
Despite being the singles used to promote the album originally dubbed Spandex on the Distant Horizon, the three above-mentioned songs aren’t the best that Warrior has to offer. The mission behind the sophomore album was to stray from the somewhat immature themes of binge drinking, excessive partying, and general facepaint-induced shenaniganising which formed the backbone of Ke$ha’s debut album, Animal, and companion EP, Cannibal, and, consequentially, the world’s first impression of the 26-year-old pop star. However, the singles seem to be the three songs which best encapsulate everything that spoke of Ke$ha circa 2010; they are still catchy and have been wildly successful, but show little growth or evolvement, begging the question as to why they were selected by production company Kemosabe Records as the album’s frontrunners.
The album’s second track “Dirty Love” featuring rock-legend Iggy Pop immediately stands out as the song which best encompasses the 70’s rock influences that were promised to be more prominent this time around. Ke$ha’s raw vocals and the more noticeable accompaniment of the electric guitar (much like is evident on “Only Wanna Dance With You” in which she features rock band The Strokes) have left listeners with the hope that this is the direction in which she heads in the future.
“Past Lives”, which featured as one of the deluxe edition bonus songs, can be considered lyrically the best track on the album, presenting a softer, more acoustic feel to the album. The song – like all the songs on both albums – was co-written by Ke$ha and is one of the more heartfelt and personally genuine, along with Last Goodbye and Wonderland.
Lastly, the album’s title track “Warrior” (which, again, follows the more formulaic electro “white girl rap” structure of the Ke$ha we all know and love) has become something of an anthem for the self-proclaimed losers and outcasts among the Animals – the name proudly donned by the most loyal of fans. The song follows the currently popular trend of a reckless and immortal youth (you know, “living young and wild and free” and all that jazz), speaking out on many of Ke$ha’s core beliefs of individuality, loving yourself, and, ultimately, “giving haters the middle finger”.
The album was everything you’d expect from Ke$ha: the hooks were catchy, the lyrics were silly but genuine, it didn’t take itself too seriously and neither did she, and it promoted accepting yourself and just having a good time with good people rather than introspection, existential crises, and pretentious metaphors. Basically, it was pop down to the T.
So, should you buy this album? If you’re still out there wielding your pitchforks and yelling indie slurs at me, no. You’ll have nothing to gain from it because you won’t be able to prove anything to anybody by owning it. But if not taking life too seriously is your thing and you don’t really have anything against a good electro-beat and a catchy line that’s easy enough to remember even when mildly to life-threateningly intoxicated, go ahead and give it a shot. If you love it, great! I agree with you! If you don’t, that’s cool, too. I bet Ke$ha doesn’t give one iota. And if you’re still on the fence about whether or not this girl has any morsel of talent or singing ability, why don’t you give her cover of the Rolling Stones’ Dead Flowers a listen? (Yes, kids, that is indeed Este Haim you see).
And by the end of this, even if you’ve decided that you’re going to give this one a miss, 2013 has still been the most successful year in Ke$ha’s career thus far. In addition to over half a million record sales, this year has seen an illustrated autobiography, a documentary reality series, the four-continent Warrior Tour, and a jewelry line called Kesha Rose by Charles Albert.