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‘Rainbow’: Kesha finds peace through imperfection

On her new album, Rainbow, Kesha’s out to prove that, despite all we know about her, she’s got some secrets and tricks up her sequined sleeves.

Her mom, Pebe Sebert, wrote a hit with Dolly Parton in the 1980s. On her new album, Kesha sings the song with the legendary blond, ushering in a new generation to a country classic.

Kesha’s new album should earn consideration from fans of all across the radio dial, per se: In addition to her song with Parton, she brings in Eagles of Death Metal (longtime friends of hers) and Rick Nowels (a friend of Lana Del Rey if that matters).

In a new cover story for Rolling Stone, we get insight into Kesha the artist, not Kesha the center of a messy, years-long lawsuit with Dr. Luke over her contract and whether he raped and abused her.

Remember that Kesha is, after all, a singer. She’s leaving the autotune behind and letting herself scream out.

Side note: If you never picked up the Bob Dylan tribute album Amnesty International put out a few years ago, you’re missing one of the most raw, goosebump-inducing covers this writer has ever heard. I had to pick up the box the four-CD set came in to make sure I was hearing correctly — this is Kesha covering ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright’:


According to interview Brian Hiatt, she refused to say Dr. Luke’s name during their time together — how much of this is principled stance and how much is legal obligation doesn’t really matter in the end.

The new album, Rainbow, is available now and she’s clearly proud of the work.

She tells Hiatt, “I feel like myself for the first time ever. And I made a record I’m extremely proud of, from the bottom of my guts — I excavated the most gnarly lyrics that were so difficult for me. And people still like it! It’s really beautiful and it’s very healing. I feel like I’m being seen for what I actually am, and people are OK with it.”

Despite the ongoing legal issues — which you can read about here, here, here and here, for starters — the new album is on Kemosabe, Dr. Luke’s imprint from Sony.

In one of the interview’s most entertaining and fired-up exchanges, Jesse Hughes from Eagles of Death Metal speaks out on her legal issues: “When she was going through her shit, we were like ajher big brothers. I was like ‘Who do I fuck up? You want me to go to his place right now?’… That’s how strongly I felt about it. That’s not even a lie, man.”

In addition to her legal… situation… Kesha also faces, head-on, her problems with anorexia and the heavy use of Autotune in her earlier albums, seemingly both at once in a song called “Emotional.”

The lyrics include “When they say I can’t sing/I just want to die.” She explains to Hiatt that the word ‘perfect’ makes her furious.

“I don’t know how to deal with that word. ‘Perfect’ is a tricky word. Because it’s like, ‘What the fuck is perfect? And who gets to decide?'” She even gets annoyed with photo processing technology that lets the average selfie-taker eliminate imperfections and hopes she can serve as inspiration, of a kind, to “some kid out there…would be like ‘Oh, that’s OK, to be just a person.'”

Love her or hate her, believe her or don’t, there are layers upon layers to Kesha. Read the rest here.


Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

Amber Healy has 521 posts and counting. See all posts by Amber Healy

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