Courtesy of Tribune News Service

Review: 'High Road': Kesha goes back to her roots

Album: "High Road” by Kesha

Release Date: Jan. 31, 2020

Run time: 49 minutes

Label: Kemosabe Records/RCA Records

Grade: B

If you don’t know anything else about Kesha, you probably know her most popular song, "TiK ToK." This song was a staple to every road trip, party and radio station playlist. Everyone seemed to be listening to this song, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, we all wanted to be as carefree as Kesha was in "TiK ToK" at one point in our lives. She’s come a long way since its release in 2009, but it seems as if she has evolved right back to her "life of the party" roots with her latest album release, "High Road." 

Kesha’s first two albums, "Animal" (2010) and "Warrior" (2012), were full of party anthems such as “TiK ToK” and “Die Young.” During this era, Kesha was known for being a glitter-loving party animal. 

Two years after the release of "Warrior," Kesha entered an ongoing legal battle with her former producer, Lukasz Gottwald, also known as "Dr. Luke," whom she has accused of both physical and sexual abuse. This paved the way for her 2017 redemption album "Rainbow."

"Rainbow" was full of emotional lyrics that most likely came from the battle with her former producer. When Kesha announced her fourth studio album, "High Road," was being released, an assumption was that it would be a part two of "Rainbow," sharing more of her legal story and deeper emotions. 

Kesha's fanbase was proven wrong after hearing the high-energy songs included on "High Road."

The album opens with “Tonight,” which is simply a song about Kesha and her friends going out for the night. This song shows off Kesha's carefree personality, with lyrics such as “I got my girls to call the Uber 'cause I can't find my phone.” This song sets the tone for the rest of the album and shows that Kesha is back to her old self. 

In “My Own Dance,” Kesha says she woke up “hungover as hell like 2012,” which proves the Kesha we know in 2020 is the same Kesha we used to listen to in 2012. She goes on to sing, “'You’re the party girl, you’re the tragedy,' / but the funny thing is, I’m f****** everything.” Just as Kesha’s lyrics have switched from party-centric to emotional and back to party lyrics, she shows that she is not tied down to one stereotype, because she is everything wrapped up into one. This song is not only catchy and nostalgic of 2012 Kesha, it’s also an uplifting song about doing what makes you happy and not what the critics — or media, in Kesha’s case — expect to see.

Although "High Road" is, for the most part, an energetic, happy album, there are a few songs that stick out including “Father Daughter Dance” and “Cowboy Blues.” These are much slower songs, with deeper and more meaningful lyrics. 

“Father Daughter Dance” is where Kesha wishes her “heart wasn't broken from the start” and explains she will never get to go to a father-daughter dance or have someone to walk her down the aisle. This is the most emotional song on the album, and it shows Kesha in a new light. 

Though Kesha explains she is everything from the party girl to the tragedy, "High Road" seems a little unbalanced, focusing more on Kesha’s party life. This makes the two or three emotional songs stick out like a sore thumb. Still, it is an album full of well-thought-out songs that can make anyone want to dance around their room. 


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