Heartache leaks in from every corner of the world, tipping life into all shades of gray. Living seems pointless until the wisps of a million different colors spill out from the horizon—at the end of every storm always comes a rainbow. After five years of being legally barred from producing music, Kesha grows despite her painful past, and she returns with Rainbow, an album that radiates resilience.
Kesha uses Rainbow to overcome the many difficulties she has faced in the past few years. In 2014, Kesha sued Dr. Luke, her former producer, for allegedly abusing her sexually and emotionally throughout their many years of success in the music industry. Kesha was previously known as Ke$ha, a famous, perky, and extraordinary pop star with hit singles such as “TiK ToK” and “We R Who We R” that dominated global music charts and dance floors. However, in Rainbow, Kesha sings about more than partying and having fun. Now, her songs prominently display her feminist views, courageous responses to traumatic experiences, and incredibly personal promises to heal. In an interview with Good Morning America, Kesha said, “I think this record has quite literally saved my life. I hope you guys like it, I hope you can hear it, and I hope it helps people.”
The Kesha who produced the pop-rock album Rainbow is refreshingly raw; her current music is crafted from emotional lyrics and deep instrumentals, but the upbeat party songs that helped her climb the charts in previous years still remain in many of her tracks. The record’s name originates from the song “Rainbow,” an optimistic track that starts out with simple piano chords that later blend into the spirited voices of an orchestra, which produces strands of hopeful energy within the motivating lyrics. The lines that define Kesha’s bravery and strength are, “I can't lose hope, what's left of my heart's still made of gold.” In “Learn to Let Go,” a strong drum beat complements the occasional strum of an electric guitar. “Let ‘Em Talk” features Eagles of Death Metal, an American rock band who brings fruity guitar riffs to the lively rhythm of this track. The acoustic guitar chords that repeat in “Godzilla” help portray the whimsical, innocent nature of the song, while “Woman” utilizes the sassy sound of horns to accentuate Kesha’s fun, wild voice.
In addition to shining light on the depth of Kesha’s new songs, Rainbow also showcases Kesha’s underappreciated vocal range. In her 2010-2012 hits, such as “Blow,” Kesha’s voice barely squeezes through layers of auto-tune and touch ups. Now, Kesha’s clear vocals breathe free. In the chorus and bridge of “Finding You,” Kesha reaches high notes and lulls listeners into her romantic lyrics. “Hunt You Down” and “Spaceship” demonstrate Kesha’s sweet, southern toned voice, showing off her Nashville roots. “Baby, I love you so much,” Kesha sings with breathy vocals in “Hunt You Down,” “don't make me kill you.”
Perhaps the most remarkable song on Rainbow is Kesha’s single “Praying,” a silky piano ballad laced with the cheering of a strings ensemble. In this revolutionary masterpiece, Kesha sings to the people who have hurt her, and, amazingly, chooses to wish them happiness even after everything they've done. This song was the perfect way for Kesha to rise from under the grief that Dr. Luke caused her; instead of taking her anger out on shady social media posts, she uses her emotions and paints a harmony of healing. Kesha’s hidden talents are revealed yet again when she hits a piercing whistle note, something she would have never had the chance to display in her previous albums. This unbelievably high F6 note was so riveting that it even sparked reaction videos across her fanbase. Kesha sings in a silvery voice over the humming of a violin, “I hope your soul is changing, changing. I hope you find your peace falling on your knees, praying.”
Rainbow is the flower that blooms in the midst of the battlefield, the voices that laugh even when the world spins into darkness, and the hope that stitches the horizon. Now, Kesha stomps back into the music industry with fortitude, and she sets her new life streaming into success by producing an album about loving, healing, and finding the “rainbow” in every situation.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.