Last week, my friend Ying visited as he had some architecture interviews in New York City. Fun times! Friend times. During our time together, I annoyed Ying with my insistence that we scan radio stations looking for Ke$ha’s hit single, “Blah Blah Blah.” At first, Ying found my obsession humorous. Soon, he found it annoying. Finally, he found it dangerous as I would often disregard safe driving practices in my search for this song (Sorry GEICO!).
During one of his trips to Manhattan, Ying bought Ke$ha’s Animal for me. Such a gift tickled both my friend and ironic bones. Surely, Ying realized I didn’t really adore that Ke$ha song! It was all in jest.
The next week, I listened to nothing but Animal. While listening, I wondered: Is Animal the seminal popular music recording of our time?
No, it is not. It most definitely is not.
However, there is something fascinating about the Ke$ha. Sometimes, this fascination comes out as pure, unadulterated hate (This website knows that of which I speak). Other times, the fascination comes out as DANCING. There are lots of things about Ke$ha that befuddle me, like, why does her touring band have a bassist who resembles Günther? I mean, most of her songs don’t use electric bass. They use synth bass!
Any who, in this spirit of befuddlement and interest (Also, in the spirit of testing Ke$ha’s claim that her album is a “total party jam, from top to bottom”), I’d like to walk you through Ke$ha’s album. Please, sit down, make yourself/ves comfortable. I know, I know “don’t be a little bitch with your chit chat.” I will just show you where the review’s at.
1. “Your Love is My Drug”
Ke$ha’s album does open with a top-to-bottom party jam. The third single from Animal starts, like many of the songs on the album, with a crunchy synthesizer line. Next, Ke$ha pops up and begins singing. Surprisingly, she does not start the song sounding drunk/ like Uffie (That comes in the second verse). Later in the tune, she sounds like Katy Perry. From Uffie to Katy Perry? That is what the University of Julliard calls range.
The opener sticks to the soaring conceit that Ke$ha is addicted to her beloved in the same manner that a drug addict is addicted to drugs. However, the song focuses on the light-hearted areas of drug addiction where you dance and stuff. Ke$ha sings an image of a “love-sick crackhead.” Yes. These are the stories the generation needs to tell. You hear that, Hollywood? I would very much enjoy a romantic comedy where drug addiction stands between the two characters. Let’s see Katherine Heigl deal with THAT.
2. “TiK ToK”
In the future, “TiK ToK” will mark the time when Ke$ha entered the collective consciousness. Much has been said of this hit. Did you know that Sean Combs (also known as Puffy Daddy) contributed two lines to this hit? The more you know!
Oddly, while the song is called “TiK ToK”, not much of it concerns time. I guess the endless party defies time. Perhaps Ke$ha wanted to present the Infinite Bash and the relativity of time by not discussing time in the text of her song. Perhaps!
3. “Take It Off”
Much like Gwen Stefani featuring Eve’s hit song “Rich Girls”, Ke$ha takes a well-known song and appropriates it to party. In Ke$ha’s case, “Take It Off” uses the melody of “The Streets of Cairo, or the Poor Little Country Maid” for its hook. Instead of discussing French locales, Ke$ha talks about a “place downtown/ where the freaks all come around.” Eventually, these freaks “take it off” which excites young Ke$ha. Take what off? Is this a burlesque? A gentlepeople’s club? We do not know. Ke$ha, in an effort to preserve the mystery of this debauched Shangri-La, does not give many details. However, she does have whiskey in a water bottle that will lead to her drunk texting. She might regret this later, but currently, she cares not.
4. “Kiss N Tell”
In the narrative of this song, our intrepid heroine (Ke$ha) leaves town for a weekend. During her absence, the boy with whom she entered a romantic relationship cheats on her, maybe multiple times. Ke$ha musically accosts the perpetrator, singing “I never thought that you would be the one/ Acting like a slut when I was gone.” In some ways, Ke$ha progressively uses the word “slut” to insult a male. In other ways, she gives up that reclaimed power, saying “You’re looking like a tool, not a baller/ You’re acting like a chick. Why bother?”
In the end, such dalliances don’t matter as Ke$ha can find another lover, who not only is more attractive than her cheating beau but also has a bigger penis.
“Stephen” is the first song on Animal that does not fulfill the claim of being a top-to-bottom party jam. You know how back in the hey day of pop music (late 1990’s, duh) a singer would have their semi-provocative, poppy first single, followed by their sweet-as-sugar second single, and then another upbeat, poppy number, and then Blink-182 makes fun of you in some videos, Fred Durst performs with you at the VMA’s, then he claims he did it all for the nookie, and then Fred Durst goes to write some songs with another pop star, and then allegedly gets some play, and then Justin Timberlake breaks up with you and records with the Clipse and Timbaland but you get married to either your agent or a guy named Jason Alexander or star in A Walk to Remember or marry Nick Lachey, etc.
“Stephen” is in that second single territory. Also, I think it is supposed to be a joke song against American Sweetheart, Taylor Swift. HERE ARE THE FACTS:
-The song is called “Stephen.” Taylor Swift has a song called “Hey Stephen.”
-Ke$ha makes a comment about knitting. Taylor Swift is a documented knitting enthusiast.
-KE$HA EVEN AFFECTS A TAYLOR SWIFT VOICE AT THE END OF THE SONG!
While such an unwarranted attack on Ms. Swift offends me as an American, it seems to be a device by which Ke$ha mocks traditional pop mores. Again, perhaps.
6. “Blah Blah Blah” (featuring 3oh!3)
The second single from Animal , or Wherein Ke$ha Becomes America’s Sweetheart, or Wherein Our Heroine Adds to her Mystery.
“Blah Blah Blah” expresses a utopian ideal where Ke$ha has her choice of mute lovers who can get her rocks off while not complicating her consumption of Jack Daniels with discussions of where they live or wondering what is Ke$ha’s middle name.
The second single contains some of the more confusing Ke$haisms such as “zip your lip like a padlock” and “come put a little love in my glovebox.” Early in the song, Ke$ha asks an unnamed male to show her “where your dick’s at” I wonder if she had some horrible experience where young Ke¢ha accidentally saw a male whose penis was where his left nipple should have been. Now, she has to be very specific with men.
Despite these problems, I am at a point in my life where I will not change the radio or television if this song is playing.
“Blah Blah Blah” raises some questions of what kan and kan’t be said in a Ke$ha song. The lines “Don’t be a little bitch with your chit chat/ Just show me where your dick’s at” remain intact while 3oh!3’s verse uses volume/pitch shift to disguise the end lines of the couplet that goes “You be delaying, always saying some sh[it]/ You say I’m playing, I’m never laying the di[ck].” Are 3oh!3’s words censored to echo Ke$ha’s pleas for terse flirting?
“Hungover” drifts into “Halo”/”Already Gone” territory. It also reminds you that Ke$ha’s album is FOURTEEN SONGS LONG. Ke$ha Newsom over here.
Again, not a top-to-bottom party jam. Being “hungover” in this song is not about alcohol but about a person. Layers. Metaphors.
8. “Party at a Rich Dude’s House”
In this song, Ke$ha implores her friends to “come on, let’s do it” and by coming on and doing it, she means partying at the house of an affluent child. At one point, Ke$ha endorses urinating in Dom Perignon. Such a feat requires the aim of an Olympic archer (like Geena Davis!).
“Party at a Rich Dude’s House” is the type of song that is played in a teen sex comedy when a party either happens unexpectedly or grows too large, much to the chagrin of the host. Ideally, the host would live in a house that displays a suit of medieval armor.
In this track, Ke$ha addresses people who used to be friends but have betrayed her trust by revealing intimate secrets of her sex life. The move is made more heinous by the fact that all Ke$ha ever did was “drive your broke ass around,/Pick you up, take you out,/when your car broke down.” Such backstabbing will not be tolerated.
Wherein our protagonist is wronged but does not let that get the best of them.
Ke$ha let someone too close, and unfortunately, that person betrayed Ke$ha’s trust. Unlike “Backstabber,” the anger in “Blind” seems to be focused on a romantic interest rather than a friend.
Keeping her head up, Ke$ha recognizes that she will be ok. Her former flame, however, will “miss [Ke$ha] until the day [he or she] die[s].” You will never catch Ke$ha crying.
After all that DRAMA, we get back to the top-to-bottom party jams. Apparently, the epidemic of older gentlemen hanging out in younger establishments has become too much for Ke$ha to bear. She delivers a meteor the “Dinosaur” phenomenon in the form of this bouncy jam. It is also chockfull of weird, creepy sounding lines like “Hey carnivore/ You want my meat, I know it.”
12. “Dancing With Tears in My Eyes”
Here, we come to the end of the album. An emotional Ke$ha realizes the toll her actions have taken on the rest of the life. To close the album, Ke$ha examines what has transpired. She sings “Trust me, I’m paying for it./ With every move I die.” The themes of consequence and dance are made more powerful as this is the final statement with which Ke$ha leaves us. . .
There are two more songs left on the album?
Shit. Never mind about that emotion stuff. Fuck.
13. “Boots & Boys”
Ke$ha makes up for that emotional tease of the last song with a real jammer hammer in “Boots & Boys.” Ms. Ke$ha has two obsessions in life and they are footwear (specifically, boots) and boys. The song is pretty straightforward, aside from the laser-sounding synthesizers throughout the song. There is also an EPIC ASCENDING BREAKDOWN that should be twenty minutes longer (not really twenty minutes, but the song should luxuriate in those lasers).
“Animal” seems like a more appropriate closer for Ke$ha’s album than “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes.” A soaring, anthemic, heart-pumping number that you could score that scene of (500) Days of Summer where they look at buildings or a commercial for a new BlackBerry. Ke$ha changes shapes just to hide in this place but she’s still, she’s still an Animal. She’s sick of dressing like a human when she’s feeling like a leopard. Life! Dance! Uplifting!
So, that is Ke$ha’s album, Animal. Sometimes fun. Sometimes not fun. Forty-five minutes of power and pain. Oftentimes dance-y, often-more-times confusing. The moral of the story? Stop talking!