Kesha: Rainbow (Kemosabe/RCA) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Aug 15, 2017 Kesha Bookmark and Share

On Rainbow, Kesha sounds breathless. Her third studio album is an album about survival, and if Kesha is exhausted, she has every right to be. The 30-year-old is embroiled in an ongoing lawsuit with her former producer and alleged abuser Dr. Luke, and recorded 14 songs for this album while still in rehab. What results is an unsurprisingly impassioned, if all-over-the-place, pop record.

“Let ‘em Talk,” featuring Californian rockers Eagles of Death Metal, is the first of two particularly punchy tracks which assert Kesha as an unrelenting force of pop. Its rave-like spirit with rock and country inflections hit with a hard party feel. Feisty lyrics such as “Shake that ass/Don’t care if they talk about it” re-assert Kesha as a pop artist with a knack for a killer tune, just as much as the huge commercial success of 2010’s “Tik Tok” or her 2013 feature on Pitbull’s “Timber.”

A shriek of “Ok! Shut up!” begins “Woman,” before a jolty piano riff accompanies her notably rich, sneering voice. On one line, Kesha can barely sing, she’s giggling so hard. Of course this laughter is glossy and sheeny, practised a hundred times, but even so, its fun-loving sensibility is a mischievously charming inclusion.

Elsewhere, Rainbow is a messy collection of fervour. After the strong succession of the first four or five tracks, there is little consistency to hold onto. From the piano ballad “Praying” to the title track, written on a toy piano while Kesha was still in rehab, there is a confused directionlessness which even the expensive polish of a major label can’t conceal.

Odd surprises hang around every corner. “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You)” appeared as an acoustic cover on Kesha’s 2013 EP Deconstructed. Originally co-written by Kesha’s mother, Pebe Sebert, and popularised by Dolly Parton in 1980, it returns as a full-band country-rock ballad here, featuring Parton herself. The pedal steel is wearisome on an otherwise widely club-appropriate record, Parton’s distinctive voice crackling alongside the warmth of Kesha’s.

Catchy melodies abound, but there is too much insistence on melody, and not enough on thoughtful instrumentation or profundity, for this album to rise as a pop classic. (

Author rating: 5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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August 15th 2017

Under The Radar who? why you give to Kesha only 50? You didn’t known about the rial music!

August 16th 2017

How dare you?

August 16th 2017

Ellen, you and your opinion are complete trash. You’re an ugly internet troll. Hope you choke on you half ass rating.

Patrick C
August 22nd 2017

Bullshit review. This is by FAR her best album, it’s emotional, raw, and heartfelt. She weaves her way through the different genres while showcasing her beautiful voice. This is the album she’s been wanting to create since she began as Dr Lukes puppet.

She doesn’t need heavy producing and auto tune. Id much rather prefer her voice taking center stage, not a thousand instrumentals.