A joining of two eras. How Kesha’s new album High Road combined both of her eras together
Kesha released her fourth studio album “High Road” earlier this year, combining the two styles that have defined her career at one point or another. Those being the fun party and sex driven sound, with heavy bass that was prevalent in her early works such as her first two albums Animal/Cannibal (2010) and Warrior (2012), and the more emotion driven and personal style of music that came through in her first album after the Dr Luke court case, Rainbow (2017).
Kesha has created an album that shows these styles coming together seamlessly. With the album containing songs that are either solely musically and lyrically one style, one style with a hint of the other style or a mix of both styles together.
The album itself starts off with the song “Tonight”, which is a clear indicator that this album is bringing two sides of Kesha’s music together. This is clear with how the song starts off with her new sound that is a lot slower and calmer but quickly turns into a very original era Kesha. Especially with the songs having heavy beats and lyrics being based on partying and of having fun.
The album continues to mix these styles together especially in the next three songs on the album, being “My Own Dance”, “Raising Hell (Feat. Big Freedia)” and the namesake of the album “High Road”. All three of these songs are filled with deeply personal messages, like being comfortable with yourself and not letting other people dampen who you are, which was a major part of the Rainbow album. But these songs also bring in the fun party style that was prominent in Kesha’s early songs, especially “Raising Hell” which is the song that I find myself dancing along to the most in the album and still listen to when I want to boost my mood.
The next three songs in the album, “Shadow”, “Honey” and “Cowboy Blues”, continue to bring forward more of Kesha’s new style into the album while bringing in hints of her old style especially withing the lyrics themselves. Which are very playful in nature, this is especially clear in “Cowboy Blues” with the following lyrics.
“Do you ever lie in bed with your three cats
And get obsessed with some boy you met
One time three years ago in Nashville
And you can’t remember his last name?”
Next up in the album is the first of four songs that are clearly either her old style or her new style. The song in question is one of two songs that are in her new style and that is “Resentment (Feat. Sturgill Simpson, Brian Wilson and Wrabel)”. The song is very sad and powerful in its message of how she is in a toxic relationship that is causing her constant anger and resentment.
The album then continues to mix styles with the next two songs “Little Bit of Love” and “Birthday Suit”. This is until we get to the next two songs that bring in the full old Kesha. Those are “Kinky” and “Potato Song (Cuz I Want To)”. Both the songs are completely playful and fun in their music and lyrics. Both also bring forward aspects of the lyrics in Kesha’s early work that being sex driven (Kinky) and not giving a shit (Potato Song).
The album then goes back to mixing both styles together with the song “BFF (Feat. Wrabel)”, before giving us the last of the songs that are specifically one style with the song “Father Daughter Dance”, which for me personally was the song with the most powerful and personal meaning in the album. The song talks about how growing up without a father affected her and how it continues to affect her even to this day and the sadness not growing up with a father brings to her. This is seen in the lyrics,
There was always drama
I’m sorry I’m always so anxious
And I’m just sorry I’m fucked up
I really just don’t know how to love, how to trust
I tried, but when I talk about him, I should probably cry, but
He’s nothing, he’s no one, a stranger
Oh, I wish my heart wasn’t broken from the start
I never stood a fightin’ chance
In all my days, from my cradle to my grave
I’ll never have a father-daughter dance
The album then finishes off with mixing both styles together in the last two songs “Chasing Thunder” and “Summer”. To complete an album that creates a lovely blend between two era’s/styles of her music that has defined her career at some point or another.