- 13 Feb 20
Kesha does her own dance into the future.
It’s natural sometimes for an artist to become typecast by a smash hit. Sure, the party didn’t start ‘til Kesha walked in with ‘TikTok’. A monster hit, it established Kesha as the ultimate party girl – until, of course, the party stopped.
In 2014, Kesha filed charges against producer Dr Luke, alleging sexual and emotional abuse. Locked to a contract with Dr Luke’s label that she had signed as a teenager, Kesha had to fight against a hostile industry just to be heard.
Rainbow, her 2017 release, was an in-depth exploration of the associated trauma, anchored around piano ballad ‘Praying’. Now with High Road, there is a deliberate move back to dance-pop. Indeed, ‘Kinky’ even has a feature credit for “Ke$ha” – a stylisation of her name that she stopped using before Rainbow.
That’s not to say that emotions have been buried. “You’re the party girl/ You’re the tragedy/ But the funny thing/ I’m fucking everything,” she sings on the duality-embracing ‘My Own Dance’.
Her family’s country roots come to fore on single and album highlight ‘Resentment’. “I don’t hate you baby/ It’s more than that/ ‘Cos you hurt me/ And I’m more than sad,” she admits, bringing Sturgill Simpson and Brian Wilson along for some Americana authenticity. On ‘Honey’ – a soulful, acoustic r’n’b number about a friend breaking ‘girl code’ and sleeping with her ex – all sides come sweetly together.
Above all, High Road is the sound of positively stepping into the future – in the awareness that, while fun and fear lie ahead, both can be met head-on.