You’d have to have been living under a rock not to have heard about Kesha’s experiences with Dr Luke, so we’ll presume you have heard and that’s all we’re going to be mentioning about him, apart from the fact we’re sad she’s had to release this album on his label and he’s likely to be profiting from it.
Besides all that – ‘Rainbow’ is magnificent. Kesha has matured as a vocalist and songwriter, and the album is both lyrically and musically fierce and feisty, crossing over genres with the greatest of ease. There’s a cast of thousands on the album as well, with Kesha collaborating vocally with the likes of Eagles Of Death Metal, The Dap-Kings Horns, and Dolly Parton, and lyrically with her mother Pebe Sebert (who’s also co-written for Dolly, and Pitbull, as well as her daughter). Ryan Lewis co-wrote ‘Praying’, which he also produced, and Ben Folds also helped with the production, on title track ‘Rainbow’.
It’s Kesha’s solo compositions that have the most impact on ‘Rainbow’ unsurprisingly. Album opener, ‘Bastards’ with its refrain,
‘Don’t let the bastards get you down
Don’t let the assholes wear you out
Don’t let the mean girls get your crown
Don’t let the scumbags screw you round
Don’t let the bastards take you down’
and title track ‘Rainbow’, with the lines,
‘And I know that I’m still fucked up
But aren’t we all my love?’
…both say the most, they’re conveying to the listener her unadulterated thoughts, unfettered by the opinions of others. That isn’t to say the rest of the album is any less worthy. The singles already released from the album, ‘Praying’, Woman’, ‘Learn To Let Go’, and ‘Hymn’ have all met with great praise for good reason: they’re anthemically strong songs which speak to the heart. There’s some lovely surprises on the album as well. ‘Godzilla’ could almost be a song you’d sing at the top of your voice to your kids as you’re driving in the car – if it weren’t for the bittersweet final line:
‘What do you get when you meet Godzilla and fall in love?’
Other treats in the album include the mystical and psychedelic ‘Spaceship’; the super-up-tempo ‘Boogie Feet’, and ‘Old Flames (Can’t Hold A Candle To You)’, sung with the sublime Dolly Parton, who gives it all she’s got and proves she’s not only still got it, but she’s going to have it for a good while to come yet.
Kesha accompanied her singles with essays written about each song, and we’ve covered these. With the CD she’s also written an extensive piece thanking her fans, her family, and all those associated with the album. It’s moving and lovely and gives us the hope that it’s going to be alright. There is hope for Kesha Sebert.
All in all – ‘Rainbow’ promises a brighter day. This album is bittersweet and hard fought, but at the end of the day it’s Kesha’s voice telling Kesha’s story. And it’s commanding, imposing, opulent, and majestic. Here’s hoping it’s not another four years until we hear more from her.