Review Summary: Like the glitter that Ke$ha throws in the air, Warrior shows some sparkle but ends up as a mess.
It’s puzzling. Never has a singer making such trashy and shallow music been so greatly supported and defended by so many pop-music fans. I’ve struggled to see how Ke$ha rises above her mainstream contemporaries to the point where such praise is justified. Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with the fact that trashy and shallow music has never sounded so genuinely endearing. However, Ke$ha should savour that compliment, because endearment can make people like you, but it won't improve the quality of your music.
Warrior had initial promise, but further inspection displayed an album that was merely a slightly improved retread of 2010’s mediocre Animal. First single “Die Young” was huge, inescapable and completely worthy of its chart success – the type of song that even pop-music cynics can’t help dancing along to at parties. Much of Warrior tries to recapture the magic of “Die Young” and the success rate is entirely hit-and-miss.
“Warrior”, and “Supernatural” all have those semi-annoying buzzing synths throughout, but only the latter manages to scrape together a strong-enough hook to become a decent song. “Wherever You Are” and “All That Matters (The Beautiful Life)” both have thumping percussion, but I could only see the former tearing it up in a club atmosphere. “Only Wanna Dance With You” and “Dirty Love” are melodically similar in their hooks, and they’re both awful! The former is the only track produced by both Dr. Luke and Max Martin and still ends up horrible, while the latter is awkward and uncomfortable – and yes, I’m wholly referring to the Iggy Pop feature.
Highlights are found where Ke$ha isn’t merely trying to recreate “Die Young”. Album closer “Love Into The Light” is refreshingly stripped-down and has the most anthemic chorus on the album, while “Wonderland” is touching a piano-led ballad – when Ke$ha sings, “Everything was so simple then”, she leaves us wondering why she can’t keep her music this simple all the time.
There’s some other decent material to be found (the bass-heavy “Crazy Kids” and should’ve-been second single “Thinking Of You” come to mind), but when Warrior’s quartet of bonus tracks could substitute four included songs and make for a better album, it’s not a good sign. Ke$ha has an above-average personality but the fact remains that she’s yet to make something more than an average album, which, despite reaffirming Ke$ha’s ability to create a hit song, Warrior definitely is.