Kesha: Lessons from a controversial song
If you find Kesha strange and her music groovesome but gimmicky, you mustn’t have heard of Iggy Pop’s outrageous stage shenanigans in his prime: Not only is the 65-year-old punk-rock luminary behind “Real Wild Child” credited for “inventing” the stage dive, he was also known for exposing himself to the audience—and rolling around broken glass! Ouch.
In the exhilarating duet, “Dirty Love,” a cut from “Warrior,” Kesha’s hefty, Billboard 200-charting sophomore album, the kooky couple requires no gimmick to warrant music lovers’ attention.
Indeed, despite Kesha’s devil-may-care irreverence and over-the-top lyrical excesses, there’s a lot of musical fun to be had in her radio-friendly fusion of hip-hop and electronica, garnished with Auto-Tune sound.
The funky beats of “Only Wanna Dance With You,” the catchy whistling of “Crazy Kids,” and the gliding melodies of “Supernatural” will keep you grooving and singing along—and you’ll find “C’mon’s” choral harmonizing too idiosyncratic to resist!
If her Salt-n-Pepa-like dance-floor riffs and tendentious lyrics sound repetitive, Kesha’s ballads will clue you in that there’s more to her than her “digitized” musicality—as she refreshingly demonstrates in the ethereal “Love Into The Light,” the moody thumping of “Past Lives” (in the deluxe edition), and the light-country drawl of the sultry “Wonderland.”
Last year, the singer’s calculated “vulgarity” got the better of her after she released the album’s uptempo sing-and-rap carrier single, “Die Young,” her hit collaboration with Fun’s Nate Ruess: “Looking for some trouble tonight/ Take my hand, I’ll show you the wild side/ Like it’s the last night of our lives/ We’ll keep dancing till we die.”
The song was pulled from radio playlists in the wake of the Dec. 14 massacre in Connecticut—in which a heavily armed gunman opened fire inside an elementary school and killed 28 people, mostly children!
Reacting to the pull-out, Kesha tweeted that she “didn’t want to sing ‘Die Young’s’ lyrics but was forced to,” then retracted her controversial statement: “After the tragic event, I was sad and feeling a lot of emotions when I said that I was forced to sing those lyrics.
“But, I did have concerns about the (contentious) phrase—because many of my fans are young. The song underscores the importance of living each day to the fullest, and staying young at heart!” Unfortunately, for some, its carefree lyrics have taken on a tragic meaning!