The first line that Kesha sings on ‘Rainbow’ is “I got too many people I got left to prove wrong.” And yet, the album suggests that she knows she owes nothing to anyone – in ‘Hymn’ she asserts “don’t need no forgiveness”, and in ‘Let ‘Em Talk’ she cries out that “nothing’s gonna stop me now.”
‘Rainbow’ is therefore a love letter to Kesha’s younger self, a reassurance and a promise. It reaches out to the girl who played an act because she thought it was what people wanted, to the girl who lost herself to trying to control everything. It serves as a reminder to her present self, and the self of the past few years, that life can be more colourful and magical than it seems sometimes – that she can be more colourful and magical than she’s been made to feel.
The fluorescent magic of it all makes the album somewhat chaotic – there are country tones mixed in with party pop combined with punk guitars and funk sounds. It is not a record solely about healing – which is precisely what makes it speak to such a process. The truth is that life after trauma is a jumble of states, unpredictable and uncontrollable. One minute you can be forgiving of those who hurt you – as Kesha sings on painful yet triumphant lead single ‘Praying’ – and the next seeking vengeance, as the same song addresses with the lyric “when I’m finished, they won’t even know your name.” The album goes beyond these themes too, because healing must go beyond itself. It can’t all be focused on capital H Healing, because that means not engaging with the rest of the world. So Kesha sings of life as a party, too, of buying her own things in empowered anthem ‘Woman’, of an imagined relationship with ‘Godzilla’. The messiness works because it is true to life, and by extension, to the healing process.
It works because it shows Kesha Rose Sebert as a complete person, silly and serious, at peace and in pain, strong and vulnerable. It works because it covers the whole spectrum – it’s a rainbow.
Photo credit: Idolator <http://www.idolator.com/7665817/kesha-rainbow-album-tracklist>