thu 09/04/2020

Album: Kesha - High Road | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Kesha - High Road

Album: Kesha - High Road

Having fought demons, pop's wild woman gets back to being enjoyably brash

Holds a candle to her best work

Doubters presume Kesha’s multi-million-selling success derives mainly from a decade ago, the time of her monster hit, “Tik Tok”? Since then, the thinking goes, after the gruelling, much-publicised sexual abuse court cases with Dr Luke, she’s more a figurehead for #MeToo, than an actual pop star. Not true.

Doubters presume Kesha’s multi-million-selling success derives mainly from a decade ago, the time of her monster hit, “Tik Tok”? Since then, the thinking goes, after the gruelling, much-publicised sexual abuse court cases with Dr Luke, she’s more a figurehead for #MeToo, than an actual pop star. Not true. Kesha’s last album, her third, 2017’s Rainbow, was a chart-topper in the States and a Top Five hit here. Now she follows it with an even more ebullient outing. Given her usual bawdy, potty-mouthed, exuberance, that’s saying something.

Rainbow was quirky, eccentric, angry in places at what she’d undergone, also musically experimental, with country’n’western flavours and odd psychedelic campfire songs. High Road is closer to the classic stompy bangers of her first two albums. Happily, she’s also re-embraced her boozin’, badass party girl persona. “Life’s a bitch so come and shake your tits and fuck it,” she belts out on the raucous “My Own Dance”, with a healthy side order of self-empowerment.

Her stentorian voice is foghorn strong, shown off especially on less likeable power ballads such as “Shadow”, but she’s equally capable of tasty rapping on the title track and the mighty bitch-off “Honey”. The latter scotches a love rival with lines such as “Honey, you can have my sloppy seconds, if you really need/For my picture’s under legend if you Google me”. Brashness wins the day, from the boisterous “Raising Hell”, featuring LGBTQ+ icon Big Freedia, to piano-led whopper “A Little Bit of Love”, to the Atari game electro freakery of “Kinky”.

Best of all, though, is the cabaret oompah madness of “Potato Song (Cuz I Want To)”. Only Kesha would do something as outrageously bonkers as this infantile anthem against conventional expectations, with bananas lyrics such as “I used to think my Gucci bag meant my shit was together/But now I see growing up is a game that I don’t wanna play/I’m over adulthood/I’m throwing all my big girl panties in the garbage can/Because I can/I’ll be riding my pony until it’s time for candy and I’ll be naked - because I want to!” Her zest for it all is contagious and this album retains her place among pop’s most likeable, loudest, and least predictable.

Below: Watch the video for "Raising Hell" by Kesha featuring Big Freedia

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