No more monsters, I can breathe again
July 6, 2017 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Kesha's new single, Praying, is worth a listen. Whether you've followed formerly Ke$ha's difficulties [lazy previously link] in the news over the past 5 years or not, this is something new. It's not what you might expect from the singer best known for Tik Tok and Timber. It's heartbreaking, actually. And gives me goosebumps. LennyLetter gives her space and freedom to talk about the new single.
posted by hippybear (43 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm probably going to have this on repeat for the rest of the week.
posted by Talez at 10:42 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


So, the question is, did she get out of her previous contract dispute, or has she given up and moved on and let them win by recording more albums for them? what just happened here?
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 10:42 AM on July 6


So, the question is, did she get out of her previous contract dispute, or has she given up and moved on and let them win by recording more albums for them? what just happened here?

Dr Luke was cut loose by Sony.
posted by Talez at 10:46 AM on July 6 [20 favorites]


So, the question is, did she get out of her previous contract dispute, or has she given up and moved on and let them win by recording more albums for them? what just happened here?

I wasn't clear on this either, but I found this article which semi-explains it: Sony/RCA has not publicised the arrangement that has allowed Kesha to release music again, but Dr. Luke is no longer the head of the record imprint which Kesha's contract is under.

(For a more detailed 'previously,' see this post, which I can't believe is a year and a half old!)
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:46 AM on July 6 [5 favorites]



posted by sunset in snow country at 10:47 AM on July 6 [7 favorites]


I just found that in a Guardian article. Awesome. Glad that finally worked out for her.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 10:47 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, that's amazing.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:51 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


i was thinking at first that this was pretty good, but she really gets real in the last minute and a half
posted by pyramid termite at 10:56 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


I'm so glad Kesha's back. She sounds like she's in a good place.
posted by pxe2000 at 11:01 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Glad to hear she's able to release music again. Music industry contracts tend to be rotten for all but a favored few even just plain, and when it combines with an abuser being in control of them, it's more than a bit terrifying (and it was clear to me that just from Dr. Luke's public actions that he was an abuser, which made her account of his private ones entirely believable to me.)
posted by tavella at 11:05 AM on July 6 [5 favorites]


It's beautiful and I wish she could let go of the Coachella-vibed cultural appropriation.
posted by tofu_crouton at 11:43 AM on July 6 [8 favorites]


Jesus Christ. I'm not a Kesha fan...hate most pop music, in fact...and I didn't expect this to have such an effect on me. I'm going through a rough spiritual and emotional time right now regarding a family member who hurt me deeply decades ago and whose own reckoning is probably not far off, and it's taking all my will power not to send this to him. I'm still trying to get myself under control.
posted by tully_monster at 11:52 AM on July 6 [6 favorites]


Wow, I had no idea she could sing like this. Beautifully heartfelt, tons of soul--it's like Beautiful-era Christina all over again.
posted by skullhead at 11:58 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Maybe it was a good thing Seinfeld wouldn't hug her.
posted by Mchelly at 12:16 PM on July 6


Oh man. Oh wow.

Oh.

Thank you.
posted by ZakDaddy at 12:37 PM on July 6


Insta-purchase. Thank you for sharing this.

Go, Kesha.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:50 PM on July 6


Holy shit. I didn't/don't know who Kesha is, and I don't like or know pop music - I've just been hearing what's popular in the last 2 years since I have a young daughter. I love folk music, the '60s stuff. But I've been setting the radio station to pop when my daughter is in the car (because she likes it, as kids tend to do), and everything I hear is just so glib, disingenuous, facile, lazy. It fills me with rage sometimes, to be honest. In fact, we really need to stop listening to that station.

I haven't heard anything so real from a (pop)ular artist in...I don't even know. So real. Please let her rise. Please let people pay attention to this. Thank you.
posted by kitcat at 1:01 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


This is amazing. Thank you.
posted by teleri025 at 2:12 PM on July 6


the Coachella-vibed cultural appropriation

What am I missing? Are clowns and metallic angels protected cultures now?
posted by cmoj at 3:32 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


the text is in faux devanagari script and holi colors. fits right in with the burning man desert landscape. only thing missing is coldplay
posted by yaymukund at 3:35 PM on July 6 [8 favorites]


I avoided this most of the day because I loved the shit out of Tik Tok, Timber, etc. and was honestly a little terrified that it would turn out that what I liked about her work had too much to do the reprehensible Dr Luke and the persona he forced on her, but, no, this song also rules and is great.
posted by Copronymus at 3:40 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Yaymakund calls out the two most obvious ones, the font choice and the callbacks to her video Take It Off in which she turns an Indian holiday into a rave for herself. Then there's the Anthropologie stuff; "if I don't literally copy the sacred patterns of a culture it's 'cool", which always feels worse to me because it's further from homage territory.
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:07 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Then there are the allusions to Lemonade which me feel awkward watching them.
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:10 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Free Kesha... is best Kesha.
posted by mhum at 5:33 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


This was great. I've needed some new music. This is just the ticket.
posted by shoesietart at 7:09 PM on July 6


I always liked Kesha but this is really something else. Just fantastic.

BTW, the setting, if anyone is curious, is Salvation Mountain in the SoCal desert.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:47 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Vox article on this.

Good for her.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:36 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


agreed abt the appropriation -- in this day and age, that's a mistake that won't age well. regardless tht's just the video. the song itself is a powerhouse, and i adored the framing on who's supposed to pray for forgiveness here. that sort of peaceful vengeance vibe, i dig it.
posted by cendawanita at 10:19 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


"was honestly a little terrified that it would turn out that what I liked about her work had too much to do the reprehensible Dr Luke and the persona he forced on her, but, no, this song also rules and is great."

Naw, Kesha is a super-talented songwriter! Dr. Luke was responsible for making her use a drunk party girl persona and that lazy/drunk accent in all her songs. Which is fun for pop music, whatever, but Kesha is way too intense a human being to carry off "give no fucks party girl" so the videos were a bit awkward, and a lot of her most interesting songs went to other artists, because Dr. Luke wanted a manufactured pop product, and Kesha's writing is so much more interesting than that! I mean she writes great pop (and I love pop! And I love a lot of Kesha's pop!) but she too interesting and her writing too varied to be confined to what Dr. Luke wanted her to do in the name of "marketability." I've been super-excited to hear what she can do with her own songs without him interfering.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:32 PM on July 6 [9 favorites]


I thought it was much more an updated 1970s post-hippie vibe with the whale and rainbows and font choice.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:54 PM on July 6


She's always been a guilty pleasure for me. I'm thrilled that she's finally able to show the world what she's capable of.
posted by MexicanYenta at 1:54 AM on July 7


I have more fun working in my shop since I ditched most of the "older" stuff I liked in favor of a super-majority of modern pop and rap artists as seeds in pandora. Hopefully I can remember to add kesha next time I'm out there.
posted by maxwelton at 2:06 AM on July 7


The video is very American Gods! Especially the red cross part.
posted by divabat at 2:30 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


I thought it was much more an updated 1970s post-hippie vibe with the whale and rainbows and font choice.

(The original hippies were just as appropriative as their Coachella descendants.)
posted by tobascodagama at 6:29 AM on July 7 [5 favorites]


I have trouble understanding lyrics, so if anyone else is in the same boat, here they are!
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:49 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


I'm glad someone posted this, I thought about it myself! Looking forward to her new album.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:33 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Dr. Luke was responsible for making her use a drunk party girl persona and that lazy/drunk accent in all her songs.

I'm actually a little disappointed to hear that since it's what I liked about her earlier stuff. The "ugliness" and humor of her club pop was reminiscent of the Beastie Boys and not something that I see often in female pop artists. (Dinosaur is actually my fav from her)

This song is obviously very meaningful to her. But I guess it doesn't really jump out at me.
posted by picklenickle at 6:18 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


There's an interesting discussion to be had about artist personae and audience expectation and participation in those personae and how and whether the audience will allow the artist to evolve outside of what is expected.

I'd say an excellent example of this from my own musical fandom history is what happened with Guster. They're a fairly successful electro-acoustic folk band that started out as street buskers and then over time ended up with very successful charting hits. Their sound was sort of the same but was definitely evolving. And then they did this one album. Which I completely fucking loved because it was Guster, but it was Guster on psychedelic prog steroids. OMG, so so good. And it completely tanked. And their next album was back to form.

Similarly, U2 went from Joshua Tree to Achtung Baby and then WAY out to POP and it derailed their fan base entirely.

For contrast, in 4 years The Beatles went from "She Loves Me" to Sgt Peppers.

Sometimes your audience will surf the wave, other times they will not. Exactly how artists are able to navigate that evolution, whether through study or intuition, is something that remains mysterious for me.

True confession: It's often the album that is the complete break with What Came Before that perks my ears. I didn't get into Pearl Jam until Vitalogy was released. Etc.
posted by hippybear at 12:00 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Also, okay, I just watched this video again, and it somehow made me burst into tears.

Fuck the Lemonade comparisons. This is its own work, and its symbolism is specifically related to Kesha and her circumstances over the past many years. Symbols are a common artistic tool. Just because Beyonce used them and the world noticed doesn't mean nobody else ever gets to use them again. Jeebus.

This is brilliant. I look forward to her album release next month.
posted by hippybear at 12:09 AM on July 8 [4 favorites]


It's frustrating to me that people who point out cultural appropriation are always accused of being censors. It's a hollow accusation because, as this thread exemplifies, it's not actually any sort of threat to artists. Most people don't actually care enough about cultural appropriation to pay much attention to it. Even those of us who care will usually admit to enjoying the song. Dear everyone, nobody's going to take away Madonna, Katy Perry, or Kesha because they used fucked up symbolism in their music videos.

Literally, America was founded by people that killed Native Americans and then dressed as Mohawks to protest the British [1]. If I point out this hypocrisy embedded in our national myth, am I saying they shouldn't have protested? Am I saying that America shouldn't have been founded? No, that's ridiculous.

[1]: http://queer.wtf/post/148111087496/the-destroyers-of-the-tea-were-dressed-to-look [self link of transcript of a lecture]
posted by yaymukund at 2:27 AM on July 8 [7 favorites]


Kesha's triumphal anthem. Love her for this, love this for her.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:22 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I'm actually a little disappointed to hear that since it's what I liked about her earlier stuff. The "ugliness" and humor of her club pop was reminiscent of the Beastie Boys and not something that I see often in female pop artists. (Dinosaur is actually my fav from her)

Kesha's talked quite a bit about being influenced by the Beastie Boys, so just because that strand isn't in this song doesn't mean it won't surface elsewhere!
posted by pretentious illiterate at 7:14 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


YouTube just showed me a new release, posted today. Kesha - Woman (Official Video) ft. The Dap-Kings Horns

(lyrics hilariously probably NSFW, crank it to 11 with caution.)
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:07 AM on July 13 [6 favorites]


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