Kesha learns to let go with her latest release Rainbow (Kemosabe/ RCA Records). The pop artist’s third album displays a more mature heartfelt sound. Instead of partying at a rich dude’s house she would rather spread her harmony or reminisce about old flames with Dolly Parton.
Feeling at times like a diary entry, she proudly shares her struggles in the acoustic track “Bastards” singing “Don’t let the assholes wear you out, Don’t let the mean girls take the crown, don’t let the scumbags screw you ’round, don’t let the bastards take you down.” We catch a case of the nah nah hey’s near the end of the song (is this really a Kesha track?)
The lead single “Praying” at times is a bit preachy, but the ballad moves us with her raw vocals during the pre-chorus. “’Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell, I had to learn how to fight for myself, And we both know all the truth I could tell, I’ll just say this is I wish you farewell.”
She doesn’t hold back with “Learn To Let Go” or the LP’s second single “Women” featuring The Dap-Kings Horns (but when has she ever bit her tongue?) She manages to flawlessly transition from her party girl auto-tuned persona to a more polished honkey –tonk women in “Finding You.” The gently plucked guitar and emotional lyrics emphasize her confidence and evolved sound. “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.”
“Hymm” and the title track “Rainbow” keep up with the theme: hope, liberation, perseverance, self-discovery. “I used to live in the darkness, Dress in black, act so heartless, But now I see that colors are everything, Got kaleidoscopes in my hairdo, Got back the stars in my eyes too, Yeah, now I see the magic inside of me.”
We can’t ignore her collaborations with Eagles Of Death Metal on “Let’ Em Talk” and “Boogie Feet.” Kasha just wants someone to line dance with her, is this too much to ask? We are with her when she develops a Nashville twang during “Hunt You Down” and “Old Flames (Can’t Hold A Candle To You)” featuring country songstress Dolly Parton. Unfortunately, “Godzilla” and “Boots” don’t quite make the cut, but we recognize the effort. However, she successfully channels her inner southern bell and ropes us in with “Spaceship.”
Kesha reveals her spirituality and new found freedom with Rainbow. There’s no doubt that the new LP is inspired by her legal battle with former producer Dr. Luke. Clearly, that turmoil makes great content, but rather than exploiting the situation or dwelling on the past, she embraces the future and expects us to do the same.
4 out of 5 stars
Kemosabe/ RCA Records