Kesha falling apart with laughter during the second verse of “Woman”
Kesha has had, to put it mildly, a tough run. Her career launched in about 2009, and at one point, she had the best-selling digital single of all time (“Tik Tok” had sold 16+ million units online, she’s since been passed by songs like “Uptown Funk” and “See You Again”).
In 2013, she checked into a facility for eating disorders to battle bulimia, yet she kept working on writing her third album while in rehab. The next year, she sued her longtime producer, Dr. Luke, for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. She has been in a legal dispute with Dr. Luke since 2014, during which time all of her recorded music was locked away and she wasn’t able to record any new music because it might be considered breach of contract. Last year, the case was dismissed on the grounds that even if the allegations of sexual assault were true, the specific instances identified had passed the five year statute of limitations.
So, with all her previous music under lock and key, Kesha came in to write a new album after basically a four-year legal fight from which she won nothing except four years lost. But her first album back doesn’t have the hint of any of the sadness that you might expect from the layoff. It started, of course, with her first single, “Praying,” which is a song plotted roughly along the lines of “I will take a high road that is just high enough that I still get to crush your skull as I walk it.”
But the rest of the album is freewheeling and unfettered. She does two songs with The Eagles of Death Metal, for pity’s sake. It sounds like the album of someone who has dropped all their baggage behind them and is finding the joy that comes from losing all of the weight.
Nowhere is that more obvious than on “Woman,” where the Dap-Kings provide a staccato beat of horns as Kesha tries to hang on to her vocal through a fit of giggles before finally giving up in the second verse. It’s a palpable joy to listen to.