Kesha's Rainbow Shows a Harrowing Artist Journey Through Recovery
After a series of singles that brought Kesha back into the spotlight, the release of Rainbow is finally here. The highly anticipated album by Kesha is an immense musical achievement for the singer whose past songs have been relatively upbeat pop songs that blared through the airwaves. The new album features tunes with distinct acoustic instruments that tell her story, bravely and honestly.
Understanding where the album initiated brings that much more depth to each song, especially with the public ordeal Kesha has endured since 2013. Ever since the accusations that Dr. Luke, her producer from 2004, had emotionally, physically, and sexually assaulted her first were announced her life has been under scrutiny. She came forward with harrowing stories of rape and violence along with a plea for an escape from her contract with Dr. Luke’s company, and they were met with a lawsuit that lasted until 2016 with eventually a judge finding her claims false. Kesha is still under her heavy contract that has her next few albums linked to Dr. Luke financially.
Despite all of this, Rainbow excels for the singer-songwriter lyrically and musically due to the difference from her past albums that held on to the same genre and beat. Each song brings the emotion that Kesha’s fans have been hoping for, with powerful anthems such as “Praying” and “Learn To Let Go” that push the artist forward to better times. The album, as the singer explains, is “a healing album." She says "It's healing from so many things from my past and just trying to get back to the most childlike, naive, purest version of myself that I can find — the most free-spirited, un-jaded version of myself." The title comes from the Rainbow at the end of a storm, as this implies that Kesha will come back as the singer of the late ‘00’s, the one that sings about brushing your teeth with a bottle of Jack as she covers herself in glitter.
“Bastards”, an acoustic guitar ballad, is about the hate she received as she was centered on the spotlight, with a very simple message and a softer tone. As expletives are sprinkled through the song, you see the Kesha that her fans knew and loved, but an implied version of her that relates to everyone. Following through the theme, “Let ‘Em Talk” brings Eagles of Death Metal into the album with a song resembling the old Kesha, a dancing version to the earlier Bastards. Moving through the album, “Praying” and “Hymn” have each proven to describe her ability to create songs that are popular hits among fans and other listeners alike. Continuing her journey into “Learn To Let Go”, one of the few songs that actually mentions her abuse with “Had a boogieman under my bed / Putting crazy thoughts inside my head / Always whispering, ‘It’s all your fault’ / He was telling me, ‘No, you’re not that strong.” With the strength in her lyrics and the long notes to display her impressive vocal work, Rainbow holds a new era to the beginning of Kesha uninhibited.
Despite the great successes of the singles, however, there were some songs that didn’t hit the right note. ‘Godzilla’ , a track about dating the science fiction character, is an attempt at easing the heavy feeling of the rest of the album, that widely comes at the listener. ‘Hunt You Down’ as well is an attempt at a country get back song that misses the target of an upbeat track about upsetting content. Even despite the cultural appropriation in the Praying music video and tracks that swayed from the meaning behind this album, Rainbow as a whole gives the listener a journey through Kesha’s recovery and blossoming into the new artist and woman she is today.
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