Kesha went through hell and back, and now she's going to party, dammit! The festivities start with "Raising Hell," the first song and video from her new album High Road, which follows her 2017 survivor's testimony Rainbow.
There's a lot happening in "Raising Hell," which features bounce legend Big Freedia, and all of it's good. The song finds a wonderful midpoint between snarling party girl Kesha half-rapping over crunchy pop-EDM and her soulful balladry on Rainbow. Festival-tent drops are seamlessly weaved in between classic booming Kesha hymn-like choruses, assisted by a gospel choir and Big Freedia.
Seriously, only Kesha can have you acting like a fool with with lyrics like: "I'm all fucked up in my Sunday best/ No one can shame 'cause I love this dress/ Hungover, heart of gold, holy mess" — and then goose-bumped and tearing up a beat later, when she starts belting about how her mama raised her.
The post-chorus is an ass-shaking sermon from Big Freedia, including this future-classic Kesha lyric: "Bounce it up and down where the good Lord split it." Oh!
The live-while-we're-young anthem is paired with a genius visual from Luke Gilford, which has Kesha starring as big-haired '80s profligate televangelist preacher, Righteous Gemstones-style. She has to liberate herself from an abusive husband, who doesn't like how she gets the congregation on their feet, while shaking her hot pink pantsuit-clad tits.
Given Kesha's history, it's extremely gratifying to watch her "accidentally" clobber her dumb gross husband with a fire poker (after he pins her up against the wall and chokes her). Post-murder Kesha sits in her dark mansion shivering for a while. Then, she goes full Thelma & Louise — burned body, motel room, headscarf and all. She grins and blows a kiss to the camera while the cops handcuff her. It's simply perfect.
Enjoy and see the track list for High Road, out January 10, below. Besides Big Freedia, it also includes features from country singer Sturgill Simpson, Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, Wrabel, and Kesha's old persona: Ke$ha. I guess the old Ke$ha can come to the phone right now. She's alive and thriving as Kesha makes peace with her past.
Kesha recently spoke about High Road and "Raising Hell" for the first time with Radio.com. She explained that she Big Freedia became friends on the Kesha Cruise, and now have matching tattoos. She also revealed that she chose the title ironically:
"I chose that as the title of the record because it has many meanings. I feel like as a human being, morally, I try to take the high road. People may assume that that's what the entirety of the record is about, but in fact, the song itself is about people who like to try to bring you down and talk s***. Sometimes you just got to stay above it, sometimes you gotta just get really high and laugh about it. In a sense, I take the high road but in a sense, I definitely am not taking the high road in that song. So, the irony of the title is why I chose that to be the name of the record."
High Road Tracklist:
2 "My Own Dance"
3 "Raising Hell" (Feat. Big Freedia)
4 "High Road"
7 "Cowboy Blues"
8 "Resentment (Feat. Sturgill Simpson & Brian Wilson)
9 "Little Bit Of Love"
10 "Birthday Suit"
11 "Kinky" (Feat. Ke$ha)
12 "Potato Song (Cuz I Want To)"
13 "BFF "(Feat. Wrabel)
14 "Father Daughter Dance"
15 "Chasing Thunder"
Photo via YouTube