Kesha Returns with Rebranded Image in New Album Rainbow

By Pilar Shen-Berro

After five years of silence, Kesha is back and stronger than ever. She’s dropped the ‘$’ and picked up a brand new style. Her long-awaited album is a startling change from her past music, but overall has been a well received rebrand. The most powerful albums weave together genres to form a harmonious statement. Kesha’s album Rainbow fits this description perfectly, featuring a blend of country, pop, and rock with lyrics that go straight to your heart. Despite the mixed genres that usually don’t quite mesh together, this album is high quality and telling of the direction the new Kesha will be taking in the near future. Through her album, Kesha shows the world the true colors of her musical rainbow.

This new, stronger music style is due to the separation of her and her sexually abusive manager, who abused and manipulated her into giving him control over her music career. Kesha attempted to break the contract that tied her to him but was caught up in two lawsuits, which resulted in a dismissal of her claims of abuse, leaving no other option but to allow her music career to remain dormant until recently. She is still being forced to write and produce two more albums for the company that treated her poorly throughout her teen years. Thankfully, the producer who abused her was dropped by said company, but the fact that she has to work in an environment where she was treated so terribly is awful. 

Kesha’s music before Rainbow was heavily influenced by Dr. Lucas, her abuser, so this album is the first look into what Kesha actually wants to make. The album is a direct way for her fans to explore the creativity that she wasn’t allowed to express previously. Rainbow isn’t exactly a cohesive album; it encompasses a variety of genres that don’t fit together. However, it’s a lot better than it could have been. Rainbow is a graceful telling of her story and the emotional turmoil she went through, while simultaneously avoiding the path of fiery rage that people expected after the legal war she fought with her producer. 

In her song “Praying,” one of the more somber tunes in the album, she address the abuse that she suffered and promotes empathy. She even says that there is more that she could say about her ex-producer that would further ruin his reputation. Instead, she takes the high road and makes peace with herself. “Praying” is raw and brave; Kesha doesn’t sugarcoat the abuse that she endured but also doesn’t sink to his level by spreading hate. Instead, she wishes him farewell. 

Taking a turn from the party material she used to produce, Kesha uses her new album to fight for gender equality. In the song “Woman,” she showcases the power and self sufficiency of women. The lyrics, “I buy my own things, I pay my own bills/These diamond rings, my automobiles/Everything I got, I bought it/Boys can’t buy my love,” are a play on songs typically written by men about all the women and money they have at their fingertips. Kesha spins the lyrics to show that women are capable and powerful of all that as well.

Kesha has come a long way since her first album in 2010. The fact that she has finally released her album that solely represents her artistic genius is a huge step, not only for her, but also for others abused in the music business. It’s no secret that the music business isn’t easy, and many people are manipulated by producers and record companies. This album is a symbol for overcoming such abuse; after all this time she is finally free of the reputation that Dr. Lucas forced on her and has successfully reinvented herself.