photo by Dana Trippe
Although Kesha still owes two albums to Kemosabe (Sony/RCA) and is forced to continue working with people who ignored her decade-long abuse, she has taken back her voice ever since the release of “True Colors” in 2016. Today, her newest video for single “My Own Dance”, from upcoming 2020 record High Road, sends a big “fuck you” to the fans and industry folks demanding the return of the original 2000’s party animal.
In 2010, shit hit the fan when “party animal” Kesha Rose Seber hopped on the scene with her animal print and eclectic style, producing a then-unique combination of pop and hip-hop tracks to get wasted to. Her first single “TiK ToK”, off her 2010 debut album Animal, hit everyone like a cocaine glitter bomb and catapulted her career into the limelight. As of 2019, the song now has sold over 25 million copies, making it the fifth best-selling single in the digital history. What the world didn’t know was that Ke$ha was living a disturbing, horrific nightmare for ten years at the hands of Kemosabe Records’s (Sony/RCA) Dr. Luke. In October 2014, Kesha sued Dr. Luke for sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, emotional abuse, and violation of California business practices which had occurred over 10 years working together. She states that Dr. Luke repeatedly drugged her, had sexual contact with her, with and without her consent, and that his abuse caused her eating disorder. Her case was dismissed by Judge Shirley Kornreich, who is married to lawyer Ed Kornreich, who is a partner in Proskauer Rose, the law firm that represents Sony/RCA. Interesting. Sony parted ways with Dr.Luke and although he is no longer the CEO of Kemosabe Records, he is no doubt still benefitting from her continued success.
In 2016, it became clear that Kesha was slowly but surely processing life after abuse, releasing “True Colors” and opening up about the pressure she had operated under, along with 2017’s empowering record Rainbow, which included one of the decade’s most-influential pop tracks “Praying”. Obviously about Dr.Luke and her abuse, she makes amends with her past in “Praying” and publicly decided to move on for her own sake, shaking the world and sending chills down the spines of listeners who came to realize the pain brought to the artist throughout the years. With the release of Rainbow came the critics. The album was totally different than her previous work as a neon glitter queen and took more of a western, pop-rock vibe that didn’t please many listeners but was one the Kesha herself felt was appropriate and approached a seriousness around recovering from trauma that was sorely needed in 2017.
Now it’s 2019 and Kesha is back again, but this time she’s ready to explore her party-roots again. Although last single “Raising Hell” and now “My Own Dance” both pull from similar pop styles heard in Warrior and Animal, she remains clear on her vision for the upcoming 2020 album High Road. The old Ke$ha is dead and gone along with he-who-shall-not-be-named, and she is ready to embrace happiness yet again. “My Own Dance” celebrates the fact that Kesha is allowed to be happy and write party-pop songs without being forced back into the box of 2010. “The internet called and it wants you back/Could you kinda rap, and not be so sad?” is a nod to the “haters” that can’t get past her musical and personal development, while she parades around, limbs flailing, in her classic Kesha gaudy outfits. With this single, one thing is quite clear. Kesha isn’t just a party girl, she’s everything.