Thoughts: Kesha's Rainbow shows her true colors


We as a society owe Kesha Sebert an apology. When she burst onto the scene in 2010 with the megahit "Tik Tok" she was dismissed as a Gaga wannabe, a pop flash in the pan. Since then, of course, Kesha has dropped the both the "$" and the pretense. She's a genuine songwriter who has had to struggle with some serious shit. Rainbow is at last her signature document, a work that shows her range, her willingness to experiment, and most of all, her strength.

Rainbow's opener "Bastards" quickly establishes a clean break from the dance-pop of her catalog with a distinct country twang. Kesha uses her Nashville origins as inspiration for some of the strongest tracks here, especially her duet with Dolly Parton "Old Flames (Can't Hold a Candle to You)." The song, a Dolly staple, has personal value as well-- it was written by Sebert's mother, a songwriter herself with decades of experience. 

The album doesn't stop at country, as Rainbow also trades in piano balladry ("Prayin"), hard rock ("Let 'Em Talk"), and even an adorable acoustic song about Godzilla. This thing goes some places. Album highlights include "Woman," a feminist anthem accompanied by the Dap-Kings horns, and "Finding You," an understated, heartfelt foot-stomper. 

Kesha's goals with this collection are clearly established in the record's centerpiece, "Rainbow." The song describes the moment when she truly realized her worth and her resilience in the face of hardship. The songs' platitudes would be weak without the surprisingly lush arrangement. It represents the entire album in microcosm: Emotional truth adorned with an intelligent sonic palette. That's a far cry from brushing one's teeth with a bottle of Jack.

- Matt