Review: Ke$ha - "Warrior"

BREAKING NEWS: The body glitter industry has been resurrected! She’s baaaaaaack! Ke$sha: the woman, the myth, the legend.

I can practically hear the naysayers’ eyes rolling. Stop that! Have faith, I’m going to convert you into a certified Ke$ha Animal by the end of this article. Prepare yourself. It will require a drastic lifestyle change.

Screenshot by Emily Akin/Gavel Media

What is it with this Ke$ha stigma? Multiple editors told me that I would be fired if I gave “Warrior,” her new LP, a positive review. They were joking. I think. Someone else told me that they would “pity-share” this article on Facebook for me. These comments seem to indicate a universal hatred of Ke$ha and everything she stands for. Fools, all of you.

Screenshot by Emily Akin/Gavel Media

Nevertheless, I understand where the haters are coming from. After all, she does have a dollar sign in her name. Ke$ha’s EP “Animal” and subsequent LP “Cannibal” definitely appeal to a certain musical taste. They are auto-tuned to death and have no real breadth in subject matter. Unless you appreciate music for its sheer blast-ability in the car, old Ke$ha probably wasn’t for you.

I happen to love old Ke$ha. She was irreverent and crazy. But she was also incredibly smart with her lyrics. Many people probably missed the Jeremy Dahmer reference in the title track of “Cannibal.” She writes all of her own music and lyrics. Before she grew as a performer, Ke$ha was actually a well-known and respected songwriter. She has written for the Veronicas and Britney Spears, among others. So quit hating on old Ke$ha, you’re all killing my adolescence.

While I am willing to excuse hate on old Ke$ha in small doses, I will hear no such criticism of the new and improved Ke$ha. None. Ke$ha shines on “Warrior.” She brings on collaborators such as Ben Folds and Iggy Pop for her third studio album, and the discrepancy between those two performers is a testament to the diversity of this album.

Easily the best song on the album is “Dirty Love,” which features a raucous performance by Iggy Pop. Could two artists be more perfectly suited for each other? I think not. Iggy might be a relic of the 1970s, but he proves that he’s a hip old geezer with his sidesplitting musings on sex: “Santorum did IT in a V-neck sweater/Pornos produce it/But a wild child can do it better.” Ke$ha later screeches on the track “I JUST WANT YOUR F***ING FILTHY LOVE.” It’s ridiculous, it’s awesome and it’s mildly reminiscent of Ozzy Osborne.

The irreverency continues on “Supernatural,” a faux-serious song about Ke$ha’s apparent sexual tryst with a ghost. After all, “Warrior” was written following Ke$ha's "spiritual awakening." I don't mean to question her spirituality, but I'm guessing this spiritual awakening resembled an orgy more than anything else. Then again, Snoop Dogg smoked so much pot on a religious trip to Jamaica that he legally changed his name to Snoop Lion, so who are we to judge Ke$ha for having a spiritual “experience” with a ghost? Admit it, your curiosity has been piqued.

Even if you don’t like her music, you have to see the humor in Ke$ha’s lyricism (or lack thereof). There is a complete absence of irony in her lyrics, which is in itself so ridiculous that it usually feels intentional. Do we really believe that she had sex with a ghost? Does SHE really believe that she had sex with a ghost? Does it really matter? Clearly she doesn’t take herself too seriously: “Feeling like I’m a high schooler/Sipping on a warm wine cooler/Hot cause the party don’t stop/I’m in a crop top like I’m working at Hooters.” Oh Ke$ha, you make me laugh.

Screenshot by Emily Akin/Gavel Media

While a decent portion of the album is still heavily auto-tuned, Ke$ha lets her natural voice come through on surprisingly honest tracks such as “Wonderland” and “Past Lives.”  In other efforts to prove she can carry a tune, Ke$ha is planning on releasing a new EP, “Deconstructed,” which will consist of songs from “Warrior” stripped of all the auto-tuning.

“Warrior” is a blast, if you can overcome your natural repulsion from Ke$ha. Try to fight it! Just forget about “Animal” and “Cannibal” if those weren’t your cup of tea. She is not writing deep, emotional music here. Ultimately, “Warrior” is at its best when Ke$ha rocks her craziness. If you don’t want to have fun and dance around like a fool, don’t bother listening. This music probably isn’t for you. Candy, puppies, rollercoasters and parties probably aren’t for you either.

Screenshot by Emily Akin/Gavel Media

Give Ke$ha a break. She just wants to invite you to the glitter and strobe-induced rave that is “Warrior.” This music isn’t pretentious. She isn’t trying to radically change her image or become an overnight deep lyricist. Maybe you are a hardcore Ke$ha fan who once made a trash bag dress in homage to Ke$ha’s VMA masterpiece. (Hint: I did that in high school. Don’t you wish we were friends?) Maybe you’re a soulless person who thinks Nickelback is God’s gift to mankind. Maybe you’re my editor who’s preparing to fire me as we speak. Either way, “Warrior” will drastically improve the next party you throw.

Put it to good use, Animals!

Gavel rating: 6/10

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Emily Akin