tue 04/08/2020

CD: Kesha - Rainbow | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Kesha - Rainbow

CD: Kesha - Rainbow

Kesha's comeback is full of vim and studded with gems which bode well for the future

Heading for an alternate universe from 'Tik Tok' et al

For the last four years US pop superstar Kesha has had a huge but miserable media presence. Her bitterly fought court battle to be released from her contract with producer/alleged Svengali Dr Luke, which involved allegations of abuse and sexual assault, created reams of headlines and social media conjecture, but gave the lie to the notion that “all publicity is good publicity”. And there’s been almost no music in that interim. Now, however, minus the dollar sign that used to make up the “s” in her name, Kesha returns with all guns blazing, and the best of her third album takes the listener by surprise.

The mood of Rainbow is righteous fury, as might be expected. On the three opening tracks, this works brilliantly. The album’s opening lines, on the stadium-acoustic “Bastards”, are “Got too many people that I’d like to prove wrong/All these motherfuckers been too mean for too long”, and she doesn’t stint on the swearing from thereon. “Let ‘Em Talk” is an Avril Lavigne–style plastic punker and the cuss-crazed, Stax-on-speed “Woman” comes on like a rabid Amy Winehouse, courtesy of The Dap Kings’ horn section.

Kesha, however, also has a penchant for cheese and power ballads. Sometimes this works, as on the space-pop “Hymn”, but sometimes it’s less successful, as on the ultra-epic “Praying”. Dolly Parton pops in for the country waltz “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You)” and Kesha let’s her hair down for a glam stomp on the “Monster Mash”-meets-Sweet “Boogie Feet”, but the best material arrives when she doesn’t curb her innate eccentricity.

There’s plenty of country flavour on Rainbow and it works well, from the kooky, albeit faintly stalker-ish “Hunt You Down” to the jolly, Eartha Kitt-goes-electro canter of “Boots”. The album’s closing tracks, the child-like, preposterous “Godzilla” and the excellent, five-minute cosmic strum of “Spaceship”, showcase a woman whose talent is only just starting to truly shine. In fact, turn this album into an EP of its best six or seven cuts and it would be 5/5 material, because Rainbow is a smart, sassy, well-calibrated return to the fray.

Overleaf: Watch the video for "Woman" by Kesha

The mood of 'Rainbow' is righteous fury, as might be expected


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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