Kesha Has Risen, And Dr. Luke Better Start Praying

by Hannah Rose

Even though Kesha’s nearly-three-year legal battle to free herself from producer Dr. Luke continues, our wildgirl is finally back in the game, and as someone who has loved basically every single song Kesha has ever put out, I’m ready for shit to get lit. I flung my limbs around mosh-pit-style to “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes” after my high school boyfriend dumped me. I cried to the “The Harold Song” on repeat when my 9-month fuckboy dumped me. I drove around blaring “Last Goodbye” as I was contemplating breaking up with my college boyfriend. And now I’m listening to “Praying” and “Woman” with the vengeance of a scorned lady, even though I’m so in love with my bae it’s disgusting. Kesha’s music provided us a way to simultaneously cry, dance, and get wild, and we’ve been missing out on this synergy while she was gone. So you better believe that when her new album, Rainbow, drops on August 11, I’m going to scoop it up fast as fuck because she’s bouncing back from her nightmarish situation with Dr. Luke, and she’s doing it the Kesha way, with dope, emotionally-charged banger$.

To refresh your memory, her lawsuit against Dr. Luke, filed in California in October 2014, claimed that over the 10 years leading up to its filing, Dr. Luke “sexually, physically, verbally, and emotionally abused Ms. Sebert [Kesha] to the point where Ms. Sebert nearly lost her life [she had to be hospitalized due to an emergency medical condition as a result to bulimia],” so that he could “maintain complete control over her life and career.” (You can see the full thing here. It’s fucked up.) The lawsuit sought to void Kesha’s contracts with Dr. Luke and his business bros, allowing Kesha to work with other labels and publishing units and receive damages. Because, you know, if somebody abuses you, should unequivocally be able to remove them from your life and career.

However, the court system was really shitty about it and keeps refusing to let her out of the contract. Because society still has a tendency to dismiss — and even blame — victims of abuse, especially when it comes to rich and powerful male perpetrators who have connections to other rich and powerful people. So, in fact, Rainbow is still being released on Kemosabe Records, the Dr. Luke-owned imprint (distributed by Sony) that Kesha has been trying to distance herself from for years, #FreeKesha (although Dr. Luke is nowhere to be found in the credits, thank Buddha). So yeah, he’s a real piece of shit, and, worst of all, he’s been getting away with it. But nevertheless, Kesha persisted like the fierce goddess that she is. 

In a Lenny Letter Kesha wrote to commemorate the release of “Praying,” her first single in almost four years, she expressed, “I have channeled my feelings of severe hopelessness and depression, I’ve overcome obstacles, and I have found strength in myself even when it felt out of reach. I’ve found what I had thought was an unobtainable place of peace.” And, with the enlightenment of someone who has a great therapist and spiritual awakening, she wrote, “This song is about coming to feel empathy for someone else even if they hurt you or scare you. It’s a song about learning to be proud of the person you are even during low moments when you feel alone. It’s also about hoping everyone, even someone who hurt you, can heal.” She’s sticking it to the man by channeling her zen, and, as a result, Rainbow is a therapeutic and powerful work art.

Katie Baillie, who reviewed Rainbow a month before its release for Metro, wrote,”The vulnerability of some songs will bring a tear to your eye, while others are so close to Kesha’s old sound, it’ll have dance floors filled everywhere in no time.” She called the album a “powerful, emotional and strongly feminist record. . . a roller coaster of emotions, making you weep at the sadness of ‘Rainbow’ and fist-pump the air with ‘Woman,’ and it was so worth the wait.” 

Kesha, we got your back, and we’re ready for you, queen. Watch her bomb videos for “Praying” and “Woman” below, and get your copy of Rainbow on iTunes

Photo: Screenshot from Kesha’s “Praying” music video

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