American singer-songwriter, Kesha, has her fifth studio album, “Gag Order” set to release on Friday, May 19th. After a period of silence from Kesha since her last album, “High Road”, released in 2020, she is back with what is expected to be her most personal album.
Kesha rose to fame with her first album, “Animal” released in 2010, which was full of pop party anthems that defined the scene in the 2010s. In fact, Kesha’s single, “TiK ToK” was the first song to make it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, Kesha is no longer, “brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack,” as she proclaimed during this time, instead, she is looking inwards on her personal growth and trades in her glitter and ripped tights for a project of deep emotions.
Gag Order consists of 13 songs with no features except for a guest appearance of her mother and niece on, “Only Love Reprise.”
On May 17th, she dropped, “Only Love Can Save Us Now,” a single on her new project. The new song has elements of her iconic pop style while incorporating darker themes in the melodic chorus. Despite the content being heavy, the song leaves the listener with a positive message on the power of love over pain, chaos, and fear.
“This song is a desperate and angry prayer,” says Kesha.
“Eat the Acid,” articulates the overarching theme of the album of conflicting, complicated emotions with the lines, “I am the one that I've been fighting the whole time/Hate has no place in the divine.” And again on track 10, “Peace & Quiet”, saying, “Got the pendulum/Of emotions/Swinging back and forth/I'm up and down/Like waves in the ocean.”
Some of the most highly anticipated songs on the album are, “Eat the Acid”, which recounts a spiritual awakening she had during the pandemic and her ironic insistence on not actually taking acid. Track 4, “Fine Line,” alludes to the legal disputes between Kesha and music producer, Dr. Luke.
Luke v Kesha Lawsuit
In the last lines of, “Fine Line,” Kesha sings, “There's a fine line between what's entertaining/And what's just exploiting the pain/But hey look at all the money we made off me.”
In this lawsuit, starting in 2014, Kesha claimed she had undergone an extended period of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse from her producer and label owner. Dr. Luke, in turn, sued Kesha for defamation and accused her of making claims that would change the deal of her contract with the label. The situation has only been complicated further as a new libel law had been put into place in New York during the course of the lawsuit. Depending on the verdict of the New York Court of Appeals on the issue of the new law, the case is currently expected to go to court in July.
This situation is rumored to be the inspiration for the title of her album as she has said on social media that she feels as if she has a gag order from her former producer and label because of the legal dispute.
A New Era of Kesha’s Sound
It seems that she is ditching some of her ‘devil may care’ attitude that defined her persona and behavior back in the era of her 2010 debut album. This is for the sake of a project that showcases her growth as an artist and a person.
During an interview with The Rolling Stone, she says her album is full, “of anger, of insecurity, of anxiety, of grief, of pain, of regret.” She talks about how it is scary to put all of her emotions on display in an album but also how it is, “so healing.”
Metacritic, a site that gathers reviews from movies, songs, albums, and shows, and compiles reviews to create an average rating had a critic rating of 76 and a fan rating of 9.2/10 on the album.
Even her most recent album, “High Road,” lacks the depth of emotion that is anticipated for, “Gag Order”. Nonetheless, this album is anticipated to redefine Kesha as an artist with a wide, creative range and emotional depth.
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