— kesha (@KeshaRose) August 12, 2017
Kesha’s long-awaited album, Rainbow, is out. When I first heard her song Praying I didn’t know if I liked it but at the same time, I didn’t want to turn it off. It continues to grow on me. I haven’t listened to the whole album yet but I kind of like what I’ve heard so far. Not every song but I think it’s solid overall. I am, however, influenced by my impression that it sounds like Kesha is making the kind of music she wants to. There’s a nice blend of her country focus with some of her old rock/pop/dances beats and hooks making their way in. Her ballads are pretty but, in my opinion, not the record’s strength. In addition, there’s a lot of humor, which, considering her past few years, is a lovely testament to Kesha’s optimism. What really drives the album, though, is a sense of catharsis. Her latest release is the titular track and I think it’s my favorite. Kesha’s voice sounds good and the emotion behind each line pulls you in. It’s obvious the song has a deep meaning for Kesha, as does the album. She posted a letter on Refinery 29 about how the album came about and what she hopes we hear in it. You can read her full letter here, below is an exceprt.
“Rainbow” was the beginning. That song and the lyrics were a letter to myself promising that I was going to take care of myself going forward and that I was going to be okay.
Since those difficult and emotional days in rehab, I started imagining that one day I would put out a new record and I would call it Rainbow. For a long time, I didn’t know if that idea was just a fantasy, a ghost to keep me waking up and actually getting out of my bed, or if it could actually come true. But I just held onto that idea because it was all I had. I just kept saying, “I’m gonna put out Rainbow… I’m gonna do it.” This idea, and the support I received from fans and total strangers, is what helped me get up every day. I know that this album saved my life.
“Rainbow” was the first song I wrote for this record. I wanted to call the album Rainbow because after the storm, there’s a rainbow — and recently, I feel like I’ve gone through some things that have felt like a storm in my life. This was my way of telling myself that I was going to make it through. I made the decision to take the dollar sign out of my name. I did away with my cynical self-deprecating “I don’t give a fuck” attitude and the matching Twitter name @keshasuxx. I let myself be 100% genuine, vulnerable, and honest in my music. I used to be very mean to myself. Rainbow is my letter of encouragement, a promise that I want to start a new dialogue and be more supportive and nicer to myself.
For the past couple of years, color has been symbolic of hope for me. I don’t think it is a coincidence that it’s also symbolic for the LGBTQ community, a sign of freedom to be yourself and celebrate who you are no matter what anyone else thinks. I have been trying to bring more color into my life because that light brings me more happiness and more joy, and it makes me feel more youthful and more childlike. I want to reconnect with that part of myself. The naiveté and the joyfulness of a child is one of the most beautiful things in the world, and somewhere along the way you can get injured or hurt or heartbroken and sometimes you lose little pieces of joy. I just don’t want to be that broken person. And I’m not anymore. I am a walking testament to anyone out there that with honesty and self-love, you can feel whole again. No matter what you have been through, even if things feel unfair and hurt your soul, it does not have to define who you are. You can be the person you want to be today.
“Rainbow” was the song that started a new chapter in my life. Before then, I had made other people’s opinions of me my higher power. “Rainbow” was the beginning of me turning that around and being kind to myself. It is a reminder that I can make it through anything. I hope this song exudes hope and self-love, because each of us deserves it.
It’s a pretty powerful letter. I read it with Kesha in mind but I’d be lying if I didn’t find a part of myself in there. I love Kesha’s message about how she’s going to be nicer to herself now. Also that she has eliminated the symbols and language that painted herself in a bad light. I, too, rely heavily on color to express or embolden myself so I identified strongly with that part as well. Later in her post, she talks about how Rainbow is the 8th track on her album as a nod to The Beach Boys’ God Only Knows, which is the eighth track on Pet Sounds. I consider God Only Knows to be my song to my son, I’ve sung it to him since the day my Baby Blues started to dissipate.
The part, I think, that speaks the loudest is her desire to not be “that broken person.” Most of us have heard about what Kesha went through. If you haven’t yet you can read about it here and here. It’s easy to feel sorry for her. But I love that she’s not wearing that mantle, she’s coming out if the gate strong and most importantly, completely herself. Her music, her look, her thoughts and vulnerability are all hers. She’s not hiding anything or glossing over what she’s been through (except, possibly, the events that she cannot legally discuss). Instead, she took back her narrative and rewrote it the way she wanted it read. Rock on, Kesha.
Here is Rainbow (explicit). I dig the pink hair.
— kesha (@KeshaRose) August 11, 2017
Photo credit: WENN Photos and Twitter