Kelly Mageras Writing the Review Harry Kloman Ke$ha Music Review It’s hard to make a musical impact these days. Artists struggle to find profound words to then attach to the perfect instrumental arrangement. They try to sound “real” and from the heart with every work that they produce. But sometimes all it really takes is a few F‐bombs and a creative beat to communicate effectively with your audience. If you consider yourself a bit of a music snob, you may have your reservations about purchasing Ke$ha’s newest album, “Warrior,” on iTunes. Another slightly adjusted version of her first big hit, “Tik Tok,” may have you questioning musical humanity. But you’ll truly be shocked at how pleasant of an experience your listening will prove to be. Ke$ha’s by no means the one‐trick‐girly‐pop‐pony that we expected. The first song on the album, “Warrior,” is placed strategically. The lyrics aren’t anything of substance, as is the case with most upbeat songs in the pop genre. But she uses the track to introduce a new sound experimentation. A hint of white noise coupled with the revving of an engine introduces the track. This then transitions into a slow and sudden synthesizing techno beat, which prepares her auto tuned voice to enter at an uplifting pace. The track then balances out from her smooth introductory chorus to her first bouncy verse with a sound reminiscent of house music. These complemented sounds, ranging from slow level beats to a repetitive pulsating base, differ from Ke$ha’s usual mindless party sing‐alongs. Not that you wouldn’t listen to this song at a party. But the beat is more relevant in terms of our current young fist‐pumping generation. Ke$ha’s lyrics also eventually tap into her vulnerable side. Redefining the standards of the typical “Eff you” song is “Thinking of You.” The upbeat repetitive electric guitar and drum sound will automatically get your head nodding. And you will only become more invested as you listen to the lyrics. Her words are not the deepest, but they get straight to the point. Not to mention she talks like a normal angry girl in her 20’s would after a break‐up and uses insulting profanity. Of course this isn’t a song you would blast in the car with your mom on the way to church. But if you’re running on the treadmill, getting ready to go out, or in your self‐empowerment stage of a break up, this song is perfection.
The true gem of this album, however, is the slow and relaxing track, “Wonderland.” Like a lot of the album, this song is unique to most of Ke$ha’s past work, but this one is even more so than the others. A simple, yet intoxicating, piano serves as the introduction. A twangy slow guitar then holds you ransom until the end of the song. But you won’t mind at all because along the way you’ll connect with Ke$ha’s discussion of “wasted youth.” She reminisces about child‐hood memories, and you feel the nostalgia amplifying from her beckoning voice. Now you may be questioning how anyone could connect with a girl who brushes her teeth “with a bottle of Jack.” But “Wonderland” is truly an unexpected presentation of Ke$ha’s new musical diversity. With a cross between sounds reminiscent of both Lynard Skynard’s “Tuesday’s Gone” and Liz Phair’s “Why Can’t I,” the song is an irresistible mix of listening satisfaction. Even more shockingly pleasant is the last song on the album, “Past Lives.” Here the musical arrangements sound similar to styles of “Florence and the Machine” with the mix of an acoustic guitar and echoing claps in the background. And her voice on this track makes you double take, unsure if an Ingrid Michaelson song was accidentally added to the album. Most importantly though, this final song reveals that Ke$ha’s lyrical capabilities surpass discussions of getting wasted and partying all night. She’s still Ke$ha, though. You’ll never completely escape her profane language, or her aggressive beats. But she has come to a place where her profanity makes her relevant. Her party songs are still there, and still enjoyable, but they’ve evolved from her typical Britney‐Spears‐esque limitations, and ventured to more adventurous and stimulating sounds. Most remarkable, though, is her integration of slower, more acoustic songs. By making use of this type of music, she’s able to actually show off her pleasantly imperfect voice separate from her usual auto tuned resonance. These types of songs on her album have lifted her above and beyond any expectations that the world could hold. So swallow your pride and take a listen, music buffs. Ke$ha’s new album deserves your ears.