Tuesday 4 December 2012

Ke$ha - Warrior

What with brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack and making jewellery and clothing out of her fans’ teeth, it’s fair to say that Ke$ha is one of the most insane popstars of recent memory.  There’s even a section of her website entitled ‘Weird’.  She certainly gives GaGa a run for her money.

Yet this crazy persona doesn’t quite diffuse into the music on this, her second album following 2010 debut ‘Animal’.  It’s based mostly in standard dance-pop with Ke$ha’s usual flare for bombast.  Each of the sixteen tracks is catchy and slickly produced, though they don’t push musical boundaries as far as the colourful costumes and make-up might suggest.

That’s not to say there aren’t some stylistic quirks on ‘Warrior’.  In fact, some of the influences are surprising and varied, using current trends to sound instantly familiar whilst retaining Ke$ha’s propensity for electro power-pop.  It gives a sense of unpredictability amongst the intoxicating excitement.  The middle eight of the title track, for instance, suddenly turns into a Daft-Punk/Madeon-esque slice of funky electro-pop, which continues in the vocoder ‘solo’ of Thinking Of You that’s Digital Love all over.  The anticlimactic verses of Crazy Kids feature a hushed sub-bass that’s pure filth.  Wherever You Are could easily be Katy Perry.  Only Wanna Dance With You features The Strokes' Julian Casablancas and Fabrizio Moretti, the vocals similar to Pink.  Love Into The Light begins with a Phil Collins-esque drum beat beneath its grating synth lines, creating a power-ballad that’s a surefire album highlight.  Then there’s Dirty Love , the duet with Iggy Pop and one of the most talked about tracks.  Why did he agree to this?  Beyond the similarities in their hairstyles, his inclusion reflects the rock-influence that underpins all of Ke$ha’s music, whilst his speech-song delivery mirrors her own.

Even if the music may not be wholly original, it’s through the vocal delivery that Ke$ha injects her personality.  She might not be the strongest of singers, but her half-singing-half-rapping style is infectious.  She’s still able to offer a degree of subtlety though, as on mid-tempo ballad Wonderland – even if this track seems dull by comparison.

There's no subtlety whatsoever in the lyrics, however, as Ke$ha unashamedly blasts out her ‘this is me – deal with it’ attitude.  But that's why her fans love her.  “We are the misfits, we are the bad kids, the degenerates, we ain’t perfect, but that’s alright”, she claims on the title track, heralding her own revolution, whilst on recent single Die Young she inspires us to “make the most of the night like we’re gonna die young”.  Work hard, party harder people.  Just don’t cross her – “I was down for you hardcore, while you were out trying to score, found out you’re full of it, I’m over it, so suck my dick”.  It’s on Love Into The Light that she’s at her most tender and honest: “I’m sorry, but I’m just not sorry”.  In celebrating difference, this is her anthem.

Then again, only Ke$ha could get away with opening her I Love Rock and Roll equivalent Gold Trans Am with the line “This song makes me wanna have sex in my car”.


Gizzle’s Choice:
·         * Die Young
·         * Thinking of You
·         * Love Into The Light

Listen: ‘Warrior’ is available now.