Kesha is back and stronger than ever with her new album Rainbow. After a rocky five year absence from music, Rainbow is a defiant, no bullshit comeback. Proving to be a warrior and force to be reckoned with, Kesha tells her truth with raw emotion and the utmost honesty.
The first half of the album sticks heavily with Kesha’s pop roots, but possesses a genuine sincerity rarely ever seen in albums of the same genre. Tunes like “Let ‘Em Talk” and “Woman” encompass the catchy, upbeat sound Kesha is known for, however, the message is what runs deep. “Woman” is a fierce anthem of female empowerment, the singer expressing her powerful ability to take care of herself. “Hymn” couples a head-bopping rhythm with a deeper desire to connect with those who feel lost, like they never had a place to call home. Kesha sings, “This is a hymn for the hymn-less / Kids with no religion / Yeah we keep on sinning / Yeah we keep on singing.”
The artist confronts the pain she’s faced in the past year in the track “Learn to Let Go.” Potentially referring to Dr. Luke, the record producer accused of sexually abusing her, Kesha sings,
“Had a boogey man under my bed / Putting crazy thoughts inside my head / Always whispering ‘It’s all your fault’ / He was telling me ‘No, you’re not that strong.’”
Following the same sentiment, “Praying” is another song in which Kesha comes face to face with the torment of her past. A slower, heart-wrenching melody, Kesha gets the most raw and real as she breathtakingly belts out her most inner emotions. She sings,
“Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell / I had to learn how to fight for myself / And we both know all the truth I could tell / I’ll just say this is I wish you farewell / I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’ / I hope your soul is changin’, changin’ / I hope you find your peace / Falling on your knees, prayin’.”
Title track “Rainbow” brings the light back to the album. Inspiring, upbeat, and an anthem to sing along with, “Rainbow” is all about believing in and loving yourself. “I’ve found a rainbow, rainbow, baby / Trust me, I know, life is scary / But just put those colors on, girl / Come and play along with me tonight.”
Taking a hard turn halfway through, the album switches from heavily pop influenced to a true folk-country sound. “Hunt You Down” is a salute to Johnny Cash’s “Walk the Line,” possessing a similar rhythm and lines like “Life is so perfect / When you walk the line.” Making a sensational appearance, Dolly Parton shows up in Kesha’s cover of her own song, “Old Flames (Can’t Hold A Candle to You).” A duo one probably wouldn’t imagine coming together, Kesha and Parton’s voices are a beautiful combination. The rendition of the classic Parton country hit brings pop-rock to country and is an absolute must hear.
Reflecting the cover, the album finishes on “Spaceship” a tune about life after death through the eyes of Kesha. The singer reflects on how meaningless all of the drama and hurt on earth seems in the larger picture of existence and what happens after we die. With a very Bowie-esque attitude, she laments on not feeling like she belongs on earth, but that outerspace is her true home. She sings,
“I’m waiting for my spaceship to come back to me / It’s coming back for me / I don’t really care if you believe it’s coming back for me, yeah / I been living in a lonesome galaxy.”
The song ends with a subtle background music as Kesha speaks the words,
“As I leave this earth and sail into the infinite cosmo of the universe, the wars, the triumphs, the beauty, and the bloodshed, the ocean of human endeavor, it all grows quiet, insignificant. I’m nothing more than recycled stardust and borrowed energy, born from a rock, spinning in the ether. I watch my life backwards and forwards and I feel free. Nothing is real, love is everything, and I know nothing.”
Rainbow is nothing short of Kesha’s best work yet. Deeply honest and personal, it feels less like a pop album and more like a conversation between friends.