The New York Times released a heartbreaking profile of America's favorite embattled party girl Kesha this morning. While those carefully following her legal disputes had little to learn from the emotional portrait, some interesting details were revealed about the pop star's relationship to her creative team at Sony. One of the most fascinating facets of the piece is how early in her career, Kesha was pigeonholed as "fun" and restricted from doing more emotional or thoughtful art. This has now become a problem for her legally, in that she is currently prevented from releasing music that is not “reasonably consistent in concept and style to the artistic concept and style” of her original works. This aesthetic was encouraged by Dr. Luke (Kesha's producer and alleged abuser) himself, who often forced Kesha to dumb down her lyric writing.
“Something that was always told to me is: ‘You’re fun. We’re going to capitalize on that,’ ” said Kesha, recalling early meetings with Sony. “I was like, ‘I am fun, but I’m a lot of other things.’ But Luke’s like: ‘No, you’re fun. That’s all you are for your first record.’ ”
Kesha went on to explain how this detail had affected her earliest works, which were originally meant as quasi-political statements. About the writing of her first hit single, "TiK ToK" she had this to say: “I remember specifically him saying: ‘Make it more dumb. Make it more stupid. Make it more simple, just dumb.’ ... I was like, O.K., ‘Boys try to touch my junk. Going to get crunk. Everybody getting drunk,’ or whatever, and he was like, ‘Perfect.’ ”
But the track, according to the NYT was originally meant to be "more nuanced and more definitively ironic." Discussing where "TiK ToK" falls in the history of great jams about partying, Kesha wants to see "The Beastie Boys’ '(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)' as the soul sister of 'TiK ToK.'"
“You know, when I first came out, I was saying I want to even the playing field. I’m a superfeminist," said Kesha. "I am an ultra-till-the-day-I-die feminist, and I am allowed to do, and say, and participate in all the activities that men can do, and they get celebrated for it. And women get chastised for it.”
“To this day, I’ve never released a single that’s a true ballad," Kesha continued, "and I feel like those are the songs that balance out the perception of you, because you can be a fun girl. You can go and have a crazy night out, but you also, as a human being, have vulnerable emotions. You have love.”
On that note: writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner was allowed to listen to one of Kesha's 22 new unreleased tracks, a sweeping orchestral song arranged by Ben Folds, which marks a starkly different direction for our beloved glitter goddess. The track, titled "Rainbow," cann't currently be released due to the legal ramifications of Kesha's current court battles. However, it was described as "big and sweeping, and you can hear every instrument that Ben Folds and his associates played — it does recall a Beach Boys vibe, just as she wanted it to. And as Folds said, the way she sings the song is so rich and so real that it jerks you out of your expectation of a pop song."
"If it ever emerges from private listenings, it will be your favorite Kesha song ... In the final section, her voice becomes stronger and more strained, and the effect is devastating. I asked to hear it three more times."
You can read the full New York Times profile over here.
[Photo: Getty Images]