80 of 93 people found the following review helpful
An album whose intent must be understood before it can be enjoyed,
This review is from: Animal (Audio CD)
Ke$ha, `the girl' from Flo Rida's "Right Round," releases an album of her own in early 2010 very similar in theme to that of Lene Alexandra's, for those who are familiar with her. It's an album which exudes a crystal clear persona and message through its lyrics and the performer behind them, and what it exudes is guaranteed to garner a plethora of negative critical response, scowls and gasps of shock from critics and parents alike. Briefly after its release, `Animal' is already boasting a #1 lead single (the most downloaded single of the year, in fact), a so-far-unreleased album cut ("Blah Blah Blah") shooting to #2 on the iTunes Top Charts and a #1 spot on the iTunes Top Albums Charts (which will inevitably lead to a #1 spot on Billboard); with all this, however, came an overload of predominantly negative critic reviews. So in essence, what we'd assume to have on our hands here is a musical version of Transformers 2. Unlike Transformers 2, however, Ke$ha's album is in fact fun and enjoyable, albeit vapid and free of substance.
The persona so many critics (and likely flabbergasted adults) are appalled with is the promiscuous, binge drinking partier Ke$ha plays on a large majority of her debut. Virtually every track brings mention of guzzling booze, screwing boys, and/or partying `til you projectile vomit. The recurring theme Ke$ha ultimately seems to be trying to push here is role reversal, essentially making a point to exude the stereotypically male attitude and mindset throughout her songs. `Just turn around boy, let me hit that, don't be a little b*tch with your chit-chat, just show me where your d*ck's at' she orders on one track, while another finds her repeatedly calling a male ex-lover a slut. The man-woman role reversal has been done before, but one has to ask, would this album be as shocking and would it garner as much negative attention if it came from a man? For most hip-hop artists and sexually-driven male singers, this sort of fare is startlingly commonplace-critics wouldn't think twice about hearing Snoop Dogg, R. Kelly or Eminem talk about rampant sex or getting wasted, but coming out of Ke$ha's blonde-haired, gum-cracking mouth it's suddenly worth blacklisting? This is likely because female singers under the age of 30 are immediately pigeonholed as role models, people who are supposed to set an example for the generation's youth; most specifically, young girls.
To enjoy Ke$ha's album, one must understand that they are listening to an entertainer, not a role model. Also like Lene Alexandra's album, the naughty lyrics are dressed up in infectious, head-spinning backbeats and production, thanks to production geniuses Dr. Luke and Max Martin; the genre Ke$ha tends to stick with is a dizzying blend of trashy dance-pop and thumping, pulsating electronica, a down-to-the-tee blend of Lady GaGa and Katy Perry. Naturally, as a result, the album comes off like the soundtrack to an endless night of clubbing. "TiK ToK," the highly popular lead single, more or less deserves its success-it's obscenely catchy and plays like the much-needed part 2 to GaGa's own "Just Dance." The album opener, "Your Love Is My Drug," isn't much different, with its dizzying stop-go thumps and loops. The thunderously infectious "Kiss N Tell" proceeds to follow the same formula, with an anthemic chorus loop chugging along to a surging electro-pop beat; it's her safest bet for single #2. The 3OH!3 collaboration "Blah Blah Blah" may be tied for that, actually-it's a pristine example of Ke$ha's seemingly trademark horny-drunk-girl lyrics paired with a beat so addictive even prudish listeners shouldn't have any complaints.
The vocals throughout the album are a mix of Gwen Stefani/Fergie-inspired bubblegum rapping and kittenish talk-singing, meaning in other words, no, she's no Christina Aguilera, but like most vocalists of that sort, she'll be instantly recognized on radio. Ke$ha's brief flashes of vulnerability work better than expected, and arrive in the tracklisting just around the time that the trashiness begins to wear thin. "Hungover" is the closest the album comes to a ballad, and it finds Ke$ha mourning over an ex, comparing her inability to get over him to-surprise surprise-a hangover. The song has a big, arena rock-style chorus and is her best bet for a sweeter, less morally questionable single. Similarly, "Blind" is one of the album's strongest tracks, boasting Avril Lavigne-esque angst and yet another larger-than-life anthemic chorus.
"Dancing With Tears In My Eyes" and the free-spirited title track also display the gentler side of Ke$ha, and tunes such as these can as a whole soften the blow of the album's vulgarity, but most listeners will find it difficult to enjoy `Animal' until they embrace it for what it is: a very of-the-moment, ironic slapstick raunch album that rides heavily on its exciting, infectious surge of electronic beats. It's debatable whether or not Ke$ha herself is in on the joke, but either way the one-dimensionality of it all allows her to sidestep the most common problem new artists stumble into: facelessness. She's solidly defined her persona and her music here, and admittedly it's one hell of a guiltily pleasurable ride, but it leaves one to wonder how she plans on building a long-term career out of this sort of thing.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 7, 2010 5:35:50 PM PST
Steven James says:
Good lord, you may have written a fantastic review only I don't have the patience to wade through it. Use paragraphs and break it up a little. My eyes be hurtin'.
Posted on Jan 7, 2010 7:18:42 PM PST
S. Yu says:
I was going to write a review but yours sums this album up perfectly, it's a shame I almost didn't read it because it looks like hieroglyphics.
Posted on Jan 10, 2010 10:56:21 AM PST
Brian M. Marousek says:
Paragraphs are your friend.
Posted on Feb 1, 2010 10:54:59 PM PST
the mook says:
he was too enthralled with ke$ha to break up the love. im sure after 94 review he knows how to paragraph his thoughts.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2010 1:51:55 PM PST
Adam C. Bryant says:
nice review totally spells the album out for what it is
Posted on Mar 4, 2011 7:22:05 PM PST
great review. i will agree and understand what you are saying about the whole female male reversal thing. I dont totally agree in that all of the examples of male artists who are sexist and treat women as objects are male rappers. I only make this distinction because female rappers do already say comparative things and/or more offensive things than kesha. I think perhaps part of what makes kesha harder to swallow is that her genre of music is not rap or r and b, this album speaks to a different audience. everyone expects rap to have plenty of expletives and so on, but still i do have to agree with you some.
Posted on Apr 7, 2011 9:41:43 AM PDT
Chet Fakir says:
Great so now its cool for women to be as mindlessly sexist as men! Of course I thought that already happened a decade or two ago. Here's to a world of swine! Salut!
Posted on Jul 12, 2011 3:31:20 PM PDT
Erin Marshall says:
You hit the nail on the head! Damn good review.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2013 2:55:03 AM PST
I'm not sure that's true Kyle about her getting flack because it's not R&B or rap. I mean, Janet has gotten flack for years about her excessive/explicit sexuality and she is dance/r&b, depending on the album. I don't personally, like male or females singing much about these kinds of things, but I do believe if aa man can and get away with it, why does a woman get called a slut for doing it? Simply because we've been conditioned to think that way, look at history in western society; men didn't have to be virgins before marriage, but I woman had to be. I believe both should be held to the same standards, but sadly this will probably never change.
Posted on Oct 7, 2013 6:44:28 AM PDT
Vera Claythorne says:
I love that you know who Lene Alexandra is. She's so perfect.