Review Summary: Taking the superficiality of pop to an all-time low.
When the sleigh bells start jingling and the air gets a little colder, it can only mean one thing: an avalanche of money-grabbing music releases is just around the corner. Yes, the holidays are great for a lot of things, but quality albums is not one of them, and Kesha’s (I refuse to stylize it as Ke$ha, by the by) latest release is no exception. Taking a page out of the book of Gaga, Cannibal
is a nine song EP that comes packaged alongside her re-released debut Animal
for the holiday season, giving us the opportunity to discover the wonderment of this pop sensation if we haven’t already. Given how horribly hollow Animal
was, will Cannibal
attempt to be anything more?
As one might expect, Cannibal
is more of the same from Kesha, as she sing-talks her way through big beats and gargantuan synths, all the while displaying her trashy and sleazy lyrical style. Lead single “We R Who We R” is a paint-by-numbers, feel-good pop song that’s laden with hooks, and despite being completely void of any sort of integrity or creativity, it will continue to terrorize every club and radio station for weeks to come, thus serving its purpose completely. The EP’s other single, “Sleazy”, is more stripped-down and runs amok with booming bass drums and handclaps, while Kesha shockingly informs us that that song’s beat is going to make her ejaculate…but a clever pause reveals that she’s actually
just “coming” over to our place (oh, how clever!).
And although the rest of Cannibal
doesn’t come close to the towering feel of the albums singles, there are plenty of empty half-thrills to go around. “Cannibal” and “Blow” take a back seat in terms of thudding beats compared to the album’s singles, but they still offer some decent chorus hooks. And I don’t know if the Super Mario Bros. helped produce this album or what, but there seems to be significant amount of 8-bit beats during the EP’s later half: all of “Crazy Beautiful Life”, “Grow A Pear” (Is this a pun? I don’t understand) and “C U Next Tuesday” (oh, how clever...again!) offer very little in terms of hooks or interesting choruses, but they do have some very tasty and creative 8-bit noises. And look out for ballad “The Harold Song” to be mashed up with Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” sometime in the near future, because like “Tik Tok” and “California Gurls”, the tracks are pretty much the same.
But if it seems like I’m just going on and on and on about how cool the beats and hooks are, it’s for a reason: it proves to be the only reason to listen to this EP. Kesha, ironically, is the thing that ruins Cannibal
completely, as her trademark sneering, sleazy sing-talk is completely unlikeable and her lyrics are nothing short of mind-numbingly bad. Unlike her pop peers, Kesha just comes off as a brain-dead party girl who was dragged off the street and relies on production and auto-tune to mask her lack of charm and talent. What exactly makes this girl so special? While it’s true that pop music lends a lot of itself to production values and engrossing music, it’s ultimately the pop star that has to draw people in, and Kesha, sadly, completely fails to do so.
, for me, communicates one simple fact: if you take away the thrilling, atmospheric music in the background, if you take away all the production values and the producers and the song writers, there’s absolutely nothing left. If Kesha was to stand on her own, there would nothing to talk about, which is why Cannibal
is a tragic figure: if you put this kind of music and hooks with a real talent, this would be one of the more enjoyable pop releases of the year, but Kesha herself completely ruins everything. Kesha’s raunchy style makes Cannibal
even more superficial than the normal pop outing, which is really saying a lot, and it proves to be nothing more than a throw-away effort from a pop “star” who’s 15 minutes of fame are slowly coming to a close.