Kesha, High Road
After the darkness comes the light. Such is the story told by the fourth album from complicated pop star Kesha. She has been through the wars, personally and in terms of her career, and is still enmeshed in a lawsuit against her former producer, Lukasz ‘Dr Luke’ Gottwald, whom she has accused of emotional and sexual abuse.
All of that trauma was poured into her previous LP, Rainbow. And having delved into the bleakest recesses of her soul she is now ready to throw back the curtains and let the sun dance across her face. This is Kesha with her party setting cranked all the way up and with results that ping between transcendent and silly.
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ANIMALS!!! If u got tickets to my tour make sure u redeem ur copy of #HIGHROAD!!! Follow these steps so u can remind me of all the words when we sing together on tour 😵😵🍾👻🎶💃🏻👽 💕💕Link in bio! Step 1 – You will receive an email from Ticketmaster within 48 hours after your purchase with instructions on how to redeem your CD. If you didn’t get it, check your junk mail. Step 2 – Click “Redeem Now” in that same email. Step 3 – Fill out the form to tell us where to send your album. Step 4 - If you bought more than 1 ticket, be sure to share your redemption codes with your friends.
She’s at her most compelling on recent single ‘My Own Dance’ — a cry of self-affirmation bound up with the thunking beat.
“What’s a girl to do?” she wonders at one point, before recommending that “Everybody get out their nasty moves”. We will, Kesha, we will.
However, the record is bonkers as much as brilliant. There is a track called ‘The Potato Song (Cuz I Want To)’ and it is as unhinged as the title indicates. Saxophone and jaunty guitar licks are smeared on while Kesha sounds as if she is delivering the vocal with a bucket over her head. You won’t forget it in a hurry, as was presumably the intention.
Kesha is clearly having fun. And having been through the mill so publicly who could begrudge her? She is going where her muse leads — such as to a collaboration with country singer Sturgill Simpson and the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson on ‘Resentment’ — and in this era of machine-processed chart music that’s all too rare. Simply by existing High Road feels like a victory, for Kesha but for lovers of pop too. It’s frequently wacky yet always with its heart in the right place.