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Ke$ha - Animal

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Ke$ha - Animal

Ke$ha - Animal

RCA Records
Pop is at its best when it isn't trying to rise above its station. It is the type of music that is fed to radio in sticky sweet candy-coated, fluff-filled shells. It really doesn't need to be anything more than that, but when an ounce of "something more" is injected into the recipe, it is appreciated. Sometimes that "something more" comes in a quirky singer, like Robyn. In other instances, it arrives as a brash look at sexuality and youth which is what Katy Perry provided. Even further than that, it manifests as a type of funneled insanity that drives Lady Gaga on to greater heights. For Ke$ha, she blatantly, and without apology, steals from all of the above and swirls it around until you're faced with a wall of unbelievably catchy, yet inanely simple pop-dance tracks.

30 Second Bio

Kesha (pronounced kesh-a) Sebert, a self-confessed party girl, is an LA-born talent. Despite working on her own music from the tender age of 17, Sebert got her break in the industry writing songs for other recording artists. "This Love" by The Veronicas was co-written by Sebert, as well as Miley Cyrus' "The Time Of Our Lives." In the pursuit of her craft, she even snuck into Prince's house during a jam session and left him her demo CD, hoping he'd produce it for her. It should come as no surprise then, that when given the opportunity to finally record her own album (after appearing on other tracks like Britney Spears' "Lace and Leather," Flo Rida's "Right Round," and Taio Cruz's "Dirty Pictures") that she would top the writing credits on each and every track.

In the grand tradition of pop music, Ke$sha's Animal is geared towards your closest youth-driven, hormone-filled house party. Perhaps that is why her debut single, "TiK ToK," became the first #1 Billboard hit in the US for 2010.

The Nitty Gritty

Animal is fun. That's what makes it a successful album. Filler or not, there's hardly a track on the album that doesn't satisfy the palate, when you need your thirst for party pop slaked. The lead single is proof positive that Ke$ha doesn't need lyrics crammed with ennui and intrigue. Much in the same vein as Lady Gaga's "Just Dance," with a better melody, "TiK ToK" just wants you to play along. That's all Ke$ha really wants you to do, and she isn't shy about it. Whether she's drunk as a skunk at a "Party At A Rich Dude's House" (a track that originated from her vomiting in Paris Hilton's closet), living for "Boots & Boys" (which is seductively dark and clubby), or "Hungover" (sporting a trance-synthed mid tempo vibe) she wants you right there along with her. When she tries to convince "Stephen" (in a vocal performance edited to resemble Imogen Heap's "Hide & Seek") of how worthy she is of his attention, despite how pouty and whiny she sounds, you kind of want her to succeed. Even if she proves to be a stalker. In the deep dark hole in the wall, freak-ridden dank bar, she begs everybody to "Take It Off" to an aggressive dance beat.

The rest of Animal stays within the lines for the most part. "Blind" and "Animal" are more pensive electronic pop tracks, while "Kiss N Tell," "Blah Blah Blah" (which sounds like Cobra Starship, especially with the guest appearance by 3Oh!3) and "Dancing With Tears In My Eyes" are more standard party pop.

Best of the Beast

While most of the album skitters by on that one-trick-pony attitude (and does well at it), there are definite standout tracks that are a cut above. The album opener, "Your Love Is My Drug" is a fiercely anthemic pop-dance track that is better than "TiK ToK" in just about every way. Not only does she end the track with a random, "I like your beard," she refers to herself as a lovesick crackhead. That's the basis for any great pop track, in my estimation. She also sings more on "Your Love Is My Drug," which is a refreshing change from her melodic talking/chanting that she typically does on Animal. Bopping along with a chunky and confrontational vibe is "Backstabber," the simple tale of a fake friend who can't keep her mouth shut. The music is distinctive in that it is more understated than most of Animal, which tends to be brassy and in-your-face, and proves to be another fantastic standout. "Dinosaur" also rises above for being a hilarious diss track. "D-I-N-O-S-A- U R a dinosaur!" She launches a verbal right hook at the creepy old men who buy drinks for pretty girls and try to take them home. "It's not long before you're a senior citizen and you can strut around with that sexy tank of oxygen" she barbs to an Annie-like electronic backdrop.

Summary

A solid pop offering, Animal never steps a foot outside of the reality it sets up for itself. If you can easily accept that everything is a party, or should be, then you should find very little fault with Ke$ha's album. The material on the album never strays too far from the idea that this is an excitable and zany young woman. Parties, boys, evil girls, gross old men... what young woman in today's society couldn't relate? The Animal here isn't Sebert, but youth and the journey of growing up. She's got excellent songwriting chops so even if she never releases another album, I could easily find myself grooving to this through 2010. But if her experiences as she gets older continue to translate to accessible and quality pop, I won't complain.

Released January 2010 on RCA Records

Disclosure: CD was purchased by writer so there is nothing to disclose. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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