Some one-hit wonders age like fine wine.
June 24, 2019 4:12 PM   Subscribe

This summer marks the 10-year anniversary of Kesha's insanely earwormy Tik Tok! Celebrate it with Kesha by overthrowing the classist patriarchy, why don't you?
posted by rorgy (58 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
let me tell you, arguing about a particular lyric in this song really opened up a rift between my dentist and me
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:38 PM on June 24 [36 favorites]


Objection: Kesha is not a one-hit wonder. All six singles off of her first two albums charted in the top ten (and acheived RIAA multi-platinium status), including a #1 for We R Who We R. Throw in the #2 charting Die Young off of her third album and her features on Flo Rida's Right Round and Pitbull's Timber and I'd say that you've got, at the very least, a multi-hit wonder.
posted by mhum at 4:50 PM on June 24 [61 favorites]


Fine song that I have added to my current list, and yes, Kesha is not a one-hit wonder.
posted by Peach at 4:59 PM on June 24 [5 favorites]


No one has ever captured the spirit of Star Trek: The Original Series like Kesha.
posted by greenland at 5:15 PM on June 24 [38 favorites]


Came to post above Trek vid; am satisfied.
posted by nonasuch at 5:19 PM on June 24 [5 favorites]


I do not miss the mid-late 00s trashbag aesthetic
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:35 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


dear boys: kesha would like to clarify a few points re: all y’all’s bullshit
posted by murphy slaw at 5:35 PM on June 24 [4 favorites]


Star Trek is good but the Star Wars version will always have my heart.
posted by athenasbanquet at 5:38 PM on June 24


Probably worth a [previously].

Ke$ha's music doesn't mean much to me but the story of her abuse by the music industry and by her former producer is a compelling one.
posted by Nerd of the North at 5:40 PM on June 24 [9 favorites]


When she hit that whistle note in Praying. That song meant a lot to me, and the power in that section ...
posted by WCityMike at 5:50 PM on June 24 [18 favorites]


I remember how fascinated I was by this song after I first heard it and I made everyone I knew listen to it. And they were all "What is wrong with you, why are you making me listen to this?" Which, OK, fair, but ... I was not wrong.

I am still pro-Kesha and I really want the best for her, no matter what. I am not a huge fan of her music but I love her.
posted by darksong at 6:02 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


That song has everything I hate about post 2000 pop music. But somehow I don't mind it. Morbid fascination maybe? I dunno. But even though it's terrible and goes against all my musical tastes and sensibilities I'll still listen.
posted by downtohisturtles at 6:24 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


I remembner when this song came out, I felt real bad for Uffie, like Ke$ha stole her schtick, repackaged it and made a million bucks. Now I feel bad for Ke$ha. But I like her music from back then. Her current stuff, not so much.
She did make an awesome video with that guy from Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23
posted by signal at 6:32 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


From the first time I heard this song, I was sure it was a pitch-perfect parody of all the most ridiculous tropes of mid 2000s pop music. Ke$ha is a Weird-Al-level genius, and nobody can convince me different.

And like downtohisturtles, this song is a train wreck I can never look away from no matter how many times I drive by.

That "tonight, ima fight"... [chef's kiss]
posted by straight at 6:34 PM on June 24 [10 favorites]


Like a lot of people I have been a Kesha supporter since Tik Tok - at first I was shocked by the banality of the song, then I hated it, then I was intrigued. Seeing her stilted and forced performance at SNL only cemented for me that either she was a complete trainwreck or she was an amazing performer.
posted by muddgirl at 6:38 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


The contraction "Ima" is the English language's greatest triumph, and one of the bright points of American culture. It encapsulates the versatility of our mess of a language and demonstrates why it's also such a powerful literary tongue, even despite some of its shortcomings.

"Ima" means "I am going to" and that's immediately apparent to anyone who is familiar with the parent slang for the same, "I'm gonna," which is basically everyone who is a native English speaker and probably most ESL speakers as well. That's a hell of a contraction. Bravo to everyone involved. Including Kesha.

Also, "Tik Tok" is a great song. It's a nearly perfect pop song of the era. It's catchy as fuck. And Kesha's part and the charisma she brings to it is the heart of "Timber," which is entirely forgettable outside the chorus.
posted by Caduceus at 6:55 PM on June 24 [26 favorites]


My all time favorite take on Tik Tok which turned out to be deeply wrong!
posted by latkes at 7:30 PM on June 24


Ke$ha Blow

Unicorns bleeding rainbows and James van der beek, cmon
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:32 PM on June 24 [4 favorites]


I’m still having a ball dancing to this track on Just Dance 2. Inching ever closer to nailing the footwork.
posted by mantecol at 7:32 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


Latkes: You want this link. It's a hell of a piece of writing, and I think of it often, even though it's hard to recommend because of aforementioned wrongness.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 7:34 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


Have to admit I was gonna write this off. But damn if it ain't charming. Reminds me of this this and this.

Good for fucking her.
posted by es_de_bah at 7:58 PM on June 24


Jim Henson did a song back in 1960 called Tick Tock Sick. It's not related to the Ke$ha [now Kesha] song, but nonetheless, it exists.
posted by hippybear at 8:11 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


I loved her from the start (perhaps in part because I hail from the same absurdly bougie Nashville suburb). Someone (switched on Pop podcast maybe?) managed to explicate the genius of her first album, for me, which was that the belligerence of her vocals actually helped imbue a heavily-autotuned track with a lot of personality. Tik Tok is a legitimately great workout song, too.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:13 PM on June 24 [5 favorites]


It's good writing. - Marvelous comparison with "Fight For Your Right to Party," and a right-on characterization of Kesha's voice as "harsh, bratty, calculatedly obnoxious" (one of the things I love about it)

...but I absolutely loathe "Put a Ring on It" and the writer doesn't, despite saying it's "a ringtone trying to pass itself off as a song." Which it is. And nothing can be worse than "My Humps."

Clearly "Tik Tok" polarizes. And I wonder if part of the reason is that it is a brash (and harsh, and bratty, and calculatedly obnoxious) declaration of independent femaleness, of not needing, while neither "Put a Ring on It" nor "My Humps" achieves that.
posted by Peach at 8:16 PM on June 24 [5 favorites]


I'm 100% here for the Keshanaissance. Although I'm the opposite of signal in that I like her new stuff better.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:29 PM on June 24 [4 favorites]


I’m a hardcore sucker for some well-crafted pop ear candy, and, old though I may be, I’ve always loved Tik Tok. It’s just so brilliantly stupid and fun and fun and fun. It’s not, like, my top 5 ear candy, but it’s definitely up there, and in constant rotation on my lawn-mowing playlist.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:31 PM on June 24 [6 favorites]


I'm going to be honest here and say that while I find the Dr Luke Ke$ha stuff fun and I won't walk off a dance floor if it comes on, I've always found it to be sort of the Bro mentality of what Strong Female Music should be. It never felt genuine but felt like she was being pushed into a box which was commercially successful but was a male-manufactured persona of Hard Rock Rap Strong Party Girl. It felt as false to me as The Spice Girls did when they first appeared and I said out loud the first time I saw Wannabe "oh, that's manufactured to be popular!".

However, I see The Spice Girls continue to be powerful, influential women with careers in various fields including music (let's not forget the reunion tour this year and the forthcoming animated movie that's been started), and Kesha has reclaimed her name and her freedom and is beginning to release music which feels, to me, like it's more honest to what she wants to put out into the world. I hope it's popular, and I wish her at least as long a career in whatever field she chooses to pursue as any of the Spice Girls have had until now, and even beyond for all of them.
posted by hippybear at 9:04 PM on June 24 [8 favorites]


The contraction "Ima" is the English language's greatest triumph, and one of the bright points of American culture.

But Kesha's use of it in 2009 was also such a quintessentially cringy bit of white pop star appropriating AAVE. It feels like what if Katy Perry had a song in 2015 that prominently featured "on fleek" in the lyrics.

"Tik Tok" actually came out before Kanye's infamous "Imma let you finish," but even so, it's hard not to hear echos of that feud in the use of the term here, especially after Kesha starts off with that great "Wait, what?" of how she wakes up feeling like P. Diddy.

None of which I mean as criticism of Kesha, but just talking about all the ways this song is so very good at pushing your buttons.
posted by straight at 9:04 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


right-on characterization of Kesha's voice as "harsh, bratty, calculatedly obnoxious" (one of the things I love about it)

Exactly. She can’t sing much - see exert here without auto tune - but her delivery is so excellent that I just don’t care. In fact I’d say for a pop star, delivery is the defining skill to have.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:08 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


If you dislike Kesha because of the Dollar-sign phase, you really should give her new album a listen. It's significantly more mature, powerful, and just downright captivating. If you aren't familiar with her backstory, that may also be worth a read.

As WCityMike noted, the vocals on Praying are standout, and I'd also give shoutouts to title track Rainbow.
posted by matrixclown at 9:23 PM on June 24 [4 favorites]


Apologies for the doublepost, but if her first live performance of Praying doesn't tingle the back of your neck I can't help you.
posted by matrixclown at 9:29 PM on June 24 [6 favorites]


In fairness on the autotune thing, they probably told her to just go for it and get an expressive performance, without worrying about pitch, because it would be tuned anyway. Maybe they even wanted it to be slightly off, to enhance the autotune effect. Doesn’t mean she’s incapable of being more precise.
posted by mantecol at 9:29 PM on June 24 [4 favorites]


She can’t sing much ... but her delivery is so excellent that I just don’t care.

If I were ever going to make an argument that Ke$ha is Punk Rock, it would start with this fact.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:30 PM on June 24 [5 favorites]


So we're ten years on, and even yet the first thing I think of when I see a reference to "Tik Tok" is the character of that name from L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz series, not this song.
posted by orange swan at 9:41 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


How are we this far into a thread and no-one has yet mentioned that her mother Pebe Sebert wrote one of the best country songs of all time, and that Kesha has done both a gorgeously minimalist version as well as re-re-doing it with Dolly Parton herself.

Kesha is the real fuckin deal. The Deconstructed version of Old Flames is one of my all time favorites.
posted by weed donkey at 10:06 PM on June 24 [5 favorites]


If you aren't familiar with her backstory, that may also be worth a read.

There's a NYT article from a few years back that is full of detail and worthy of reading. Apparently in that thread I linked this performance of It Ain't Me, Babe, which I'll relink here.
posted by hippybear at 10:08 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


I remembner when this song came out, I felt real bad for Uffie , like Ke$ha stole her schtick, repackaged it and made a million bucks.

Especially this song, on the first Justice album.
posted by atoxyl at 10:25 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


thank you so much to everybody posting links to her recent work; I'm sitting here absolutely crying my face off in the very best way. crying for all the shit I've been through and all the shit she's been through and how fucking incredibly far she's come and I've come and also wow I think I'm in love with this woman but that's neither here nor there. just, wow, what an artist, what a person. thank you for the tears.
posted by some_kind_of_toaster at 10:27 PM on June 24 [9 favorites]


Is it weird that I'm more familiar with this Kleptones mashup than the original? Probably.
posted by chbrooks at 10:46 PM on June 24


nothing can be worse than "My Humps".

And yet, without it we would never have had the masterpiece that is the Alanis Morissette version.
posted by automatronic at 2:04 AM on June 25 [6 favorites]


That a live non-tuned "Your Love is My Drug" is not even a little bad. Singing live takes a lot of energy and you have to meet high audience expectations, who want to hear the perfect track they're used to. I was expecting it to be way worse. #teamKesha
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 2:42 AM on June 25 [1 favorite]


The Star Trek video is so good, it's become the official music video in my mind.
posted by adrianhon at 3:25 AM on June 25


If we're talking Kesha then I also want to remind everyone of her amazing cover of It Ain't Me, Babe at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards.
posted by terretu at 4:23 AM on June 25


Kesha is the real fuckin deal.

I have heard a couple anecdotes that affirm she is very much not, but they aren't my own and I'm not going to repeat them on a public forum.

(Came in for some kesha trash talk and was surprised to see all the positivity; I'll step out and let y'all have your fun).
posted by aspersioncast at 4:56 AM on June 25 [3 favorites]


posted by aspersioncast
well-played
posted by thelonius at 5:12 AM on June 25 [9 favorites]


But Kesha's use of it in 2009 was also such a quintessentially cringy bit of white pop star appropriating AAVE. It feels like what if Katy Perry had a song in 2015 that prominently featured "on fleek" in the lyrics.

Eh, not really. Languages are so fluid. They blend and merge easily, doubly-so in creative and highly collaborative areas like music. "Ima" is such a natural, and obvious contraction/evolution of "I'm going to/I'm gonna" that it just flows freely across (any supposed) borders. To my ears, it's in the same general category as "y'all."

"On fleek," on the other hand, doesn't work that way. It's so obviously artificial in that it has no apparent precursor that it derives from. It's much more created slang than it is a natural linguistic contraction or evolution of a common phrase. It's very existence is seemingly intended to create a border, not cross one.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:16 AM on June 25 [4 favorites]


Insane Ian, "DiG DuG" (disclosure: Ian is a friend of mine, but this is still great)
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:18 AM on June 25 [2 favorites]


"Ima" is such a natural, and obvious contraction/evolution of "I'm going to/I'm gonna"

Not taking a substantive stand here, but I think it's rather a contraction of "I'm finna," which is much more racially marked.
posted by praemunire at 8:20 AM on June 25


Not taking a substantive stand here, but I think it's rather a contraction of "I'm finna," which is much more racially marked.


IME (which is primarily informed by west coast hip hop and absolutely a non-authoritative white guy viewpoint), "im'a" implies imminent action ("i am about to put a boot in your ass") vs "finna" which implies threatened action ("i am fixing to put a boot in your ass, and if you push me, i will")
posted by murphy slaw at 8:44 AM on June 25 [5 favorites]


I have heard a couple anecdotes that affirm she is very much not, but they aren't my own and I'm not going to repeat them on a public forum.

(Came in for some kesha trash talk and was surprised to see all the positivity; I'll step out and let y'all have your fun).


omg I get to say "weird flex but ok"
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:02 AM on June 25 [11 favorites]


Exactly. She can’t sing much - see exert here without auto tune - but her delivery is so excellent that I just don’t care.

I've seen her live—she was a surprise guest at a Ben Folds concert (which is Just So Nashville I can't even) and sang a duet with him and it was actually incredibly moving. I don't recall if she was off-pitch or anything but she was at least as good a singer as Ben Folds, which is to say, competent. (They also did "You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly" together which was great.)

Living in Nashville I've also heard some stories and uh. Kesha has had some problems for sure. But I do think she's the real deal.
posted by joannemerriam at 9:06 AM on June 25 [1 favorite]


IME (which is primarily informed by west coast hip hop and absolutely a non-authoritative white guy viewpoint), "im'a" implies imminent action ("i am about to put a boot in your ass") vs "finna" which implies threatened action ("i am fixing to put a boot in your ass, and if you push me, i will")

I'm an old lady now and am not an expert on How Young Folks Talk (especially not in linguistic communities I'm no longer a part of), but that's not how it was used when I was growing up.
posted by praemunire at 11:58 AM on June 25 [3 favorites]


I love me some Ke$ha but her early song "Blow" worries me. Is she a terrorist?

Back door, cracked we don't need a key
We get in for free
No VIP sleaze
Drink that Kool Aid follow my lead
Now you're one of us
You're coming with me
It's time to kill the lights and
Shut the D.J. down
This place's about to
Tonight we're taken over
No one's getting out!
This place's about to blow!

posted by chainsofreedom at 12:21 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


but that's not how it was used when I was growing up.
This is a cool discussion, but my data point is also that they were parallel in meaning, but also depended on which side of the south you were from. 'Fixing to' was more 'east' generally, and 'going to' was more 'west'.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:27 PM on June 25


I always liked "Dinosaur"

("Hey," you say, "Wanna come with me?"/ I'm about to barf, seriously (seriously, ah!))
posted by chavenet at 4:02 PM on June 25


Because no one has yet shared it, and we are celebrating Kesha:

Cry$tal Warrior Ke$ha, a Twine game by porpentine. (previously)
posted by Barking Frog at 7:56 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


I don’t like Tik Tok, hated My Humps, and basically never paid attention to any of her other songs.

Until Praying. That one got released around the time my own harasser was trying to invade my workplace; during my fight to prevent him from being invited into my workplace for a several month visit (semi-successful, in the end he only visited for two weeks during which I absented myself), I listened to that song on constant repeat.

I still don’t like her earlier work, but knowing the context in which it was done has changed my respect for her.
posted by nat at 10:01 PM on June 25


Forever in my family to be known as "Kay Eee Dollar Sign Hah" thanks to a throwaway joke on Glee
posted by AzraelBrown at 12:50 PM on June 26


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