Review Summary: Yeah, I'm surprised too.
My relationship with pop music is a complicated one. With pop music, I feel like I’m a stereotypical thirteen-year-old girl in a junior high relationship: I have very specific tastes and you better know what I want, and if you even think about disappointing me, I’ll throw a hissy-fit and you’ll be dead to me. Absolutely dead. Black Eyed Peas? Dead to me. Bieber? Dead to me. Kesha? Dead to me…or maybe, I dunno, I’ll give it a second shot, maybe. She’s got some decent singles from time to time. “Die Young”, the leading single off of her second full-length Warrior
, was actually pretty decent. But Cannibal
, her most recent EP, was god-awful. I’m so conflicted. What’s a thirteen-year-old girl to do?
The biggest reason I try to give pop music a second chance, more often than not, is just because of the sheer talent behind it: Max Martin and Dr. Luke, two prominent producers on Warrior
, have been mostly responsible for the last decade of catchy, infectious pop, and who am I to resist? It’s just that the vehicle of the music, in this case Kesha, has turned me off, but it seems like she has turned a corner on Warrior
. Mostly gone are the bratty lyrics and snot-nosed rapping, and, although replaced with more clichéd, trendy club anthems and lyrical pop themes (the live-for-tonight/tomorrow-doesn’t-matter/throwing-cares-away personified by “Die Young”, “All That Matters”, “C’mon”, “Only Wanna Dance with You”, etc.), it’s a hell of a lot more tolerable and accessible than her previous work (surprisingly!). And even when she dips into the bratty well (“Crazy Kids”, “Thinking Of You”, “Dirty Love”), the poppy hooks and slick production of Warrior
keeps it afloat.
What’s more so, however, is that Kesha has always been a terrific singer, and I felt that she never played to that strength. Again, another corner seems be turned here on Warrior
, where she showcases her pipes. Ballads “Wonderland” and “Love into the Light” are carried by her vocal performance, and although she has had ballads on previous efforts (“Harold Song” being a stand-out), it never seemed to fit into the slutty theme of her previous work. Now that Warrior
shows a more tasteful (for Kesha, anyway) side, a more fleshed-out side, a more sensible side, the ballads work here, and are nice breaks from the crunchy, blasting productions found elsewhere.
And, for me, there’s a lesson to be learned here. Often when I check out a band that I’ve long since detached from, when I still find out that, yes, they still suck or that I still don’t like them, I just move onto completely ignoring them from that point on. But you never know when things will change, if bands or artists will turn a corner and create something surprisingly enjoyable. I know that the Black Eyed Peas are horrendous. I know that Weezer has been laughable for the past decade. But if you don’t check out work from artists that you’ve even had a hint of interest from before, you might miss out, like I might have done with Warrior
So stop being a thirteen-year-old girl and give it a spin. Songs might get stuck in your head. You might come back to it over and over again. It’s a strong pop effort, complete with catchy hooks and almost void of the typical filler you’d usually find from the genre. And if Kesha has turned you off before, she might set you straight this time. You might be pleasantly surprised.