Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, April 1, 2011


Love her or hate her, it seems the name Ke$ha [or Kesha as we will now refer to her] has hit the mainstream which means regardless of how you feel about her lead single “Tik Tok,” you will be hearing of and from her for awhile to come. Yes, the unnamed singer on Flo Rida’s “Right Round” not only has the biggest song in the country right now, but is about to release her debut album Animal this January via RCA Records. Now as with any pop album, my initial expectations are/were low given that most label only look for a solid radio hit [or two] when working pop rather than an entire, flowing work of music. However, the single has been stuck in my head for weeks and I just had to know what else, if anything, Kesha had to offer.
Starting off strong with more than obviously radio ready “Your Love is My Drug,” Kesha presents herself as a strong vocalist with the ability to be a bit more loose/raw with her delivery as she walks a thin line between singing and attitude-laced spoken word. No, it’s not rap, it’s too disconnected to be considered that, but it is a critical part of Kesha’s overall sound. In fact, it’s the driving force behind her single “Tik Tok” as she uses this approach on every verse. I’m not being negative toward it, I’m just saying, this isn’t rap.
As the record really gets going, you realize quickly that much of what makes Kesha great is not her at all, but the beats behind her music. Even the least enticing lyrical tracks ["Take it Off," "Dinosaur," "Boots and Boys"] have incredibly well designed beats that will keep you coming back for more. I have a feeling once DJs get their hands on the instrumental version of this record, we’ll see some of the hottest remixes in years as literally every beat has something worthy of praise behind it even though the overall track may be unappealing. This is a popular trick in pop music though, it’s rarely about the lyrics when there are no real instruments to be found.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say pop records need to be filled with deep emotions, etc. In fact, I don’t expect that whatsoever, but there is a fine line between fun and catchy and just completely soulless songwriting. Kesha does get it right more times than not however, especially on the particularly catchy “Blah Blah Blah” which features underground favorites turned pop stars 3oh!3 or the equally amusing “Backstabber.” These, among other tracks, pack true pop gold from start to finish, but I will warn you to proceed carefully as the line between great and outright dumb is very, very thin throughout the duration Animal.
While Kesha does get bonus points for co-writing every song on her album, the real judgment on whether or not a pop album works comes down to three factors: catchiness, relevance to culture, and its sustainability [aka, how long before it's forgotten]. In terms of catchiness, Animalsucceeds as I dare anyone to not bob their head along throughout and have a slew of favorites that will receive endless replays. Her relevance is really something no one can questions. The pop culture references, new age dance/pop/crunk fusion sound, and perverse delivery shows a 21st century female truly owning her sexuality and persona. She’s a force to be reckoned with when it comes to being brutally honest in the pop world. Even if a lot of it is shallow, I dare say few word say the things that come out of her mouth. Finally, in terms of replay value, it’s hard to say. While much of Animal is catchy and approachable, it’s not as well structured or designed as anything Lady gaga is putting out, but it is miles ahead of underground acts like Hyper Crush. I guess the real judgment will come when “Tik Tok” has died off and the second, third, and fourth singles impact. America loves a train wreck and the partying, sex, and vulgarity of Ke$ha delivers just that, but I wonder if this is one party animal we’ll actually want to invite back.
Score: 6.5/10
and yes
April Fools

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