Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Ke$ha Project: 'Red Lipstick'

I have a confession I need to make; one that has caused me countless hours of tormented soul-searching and sparked a number of arguments - a few of them heated - with friends and fellow music-lovers; a secret I've hidden for long enough, and one I really ought to have let out a while ago. I know it is liable to send even my most open-minded and explorative readers rocketing toward the "exit" door or button, or barring that will likely inspire deep pangs of doubt as to just what musical sensitivities and opinions you may have been trusting, if any. All I can say before I pull my little Montgomery Clift is that I am, believe it or not, entirely sane, and I do stand firmly behind what I'm about to type, as a critic or at least educated observer of pop music and music in general (in other words, no, ye of flattering faith, this is not irony or intellect-free surrender to the senses...sorry), and if you'll hear me out, now and over time, I intend to defend what I put down here with evidence, analysis and commentary every bit as thought out as the most searching bits of this blog endeavor - and I do use "defend" rather than "persuade," may I point out.

All right, here goes. My dirty little secret confession:

I love Ke$ha.


Still with me? Awesome. Like I said, I plan on thoroughly expounding upon this appreciation as I continue on with the blog, and at some point at the very least one will be able to understand my rationale even without necessarily buying a word of it. And that's enough for me.

Well, someone's buying it...a lot of someones. The 23 year old songwriter from Nashville has gone from nobody to chart-busting Top 40 behemoth in the time it takes an American Idol to go from nobody to chart-buster to has-been (that is, approximately 6-12 months). I'll admit it, too...I'm so over the singles from her debut set, Animal, that I'm actually looping back around to appreciation again. The radio overplays the four top ten singles (which is, in itself, quite a feat) ad nauseum, and anyone would be excused for shutting her off thinking those were the entire representation of this annoyingly stylized-monikered, Jack Daniels-loving upstart with dirty hair.

But they're NOT. Aside from the fact that Animal is actually, despite what tag-along critics would have you believe, a pretty good pop album, and a great debut album, there exists, out in the world, a veritable horde of unreleased Ke$ha tracks. I don't mean like that leaked "demo" of Britney's "Telephone," I mean, for the most part, full-on, mostly- to fully-produced tracks (Ke$ha is not solely a singer, of course, but is equally into songwriting - she wrote The Veronicas' "This Love," among others - and production, with iconic producer Dr. Luke as a mentor). There are different genres represented, too: some are the electro-pop of Animal, while others are more formulaic pop songs one might write as a label's in-house songwriter; others still have a more rock edge, varying from teeny-bop Hoku-style rock to more along the lines of the Donnas; then, finally, there are the ever-so-thrilling experimental pieces, which I particularly love and am especially excited to discuss and share.

But I actually started writing this in the first place because a friend of mine said she needed a reason to wear red lipstick tonight, and the idea finally took root. So here, without further ado, is your first bit of unreleased Ke$ha goodness, appropriately titled "Red Lipstick." This one is from her rocker-chick side, certainly, but what I love most about it is how fun, amusing, and typically Ke$ha (dear God, that dollar sign is going to be the death of me...more on that later) her asides are. This is an artist who truly has a great time in the studio, and it comes across on the best of her records with a glee that has captivated millions (and millions of those dollar signs, too) and made her an inescapable star who may just have gotten too big too quickly for a musician who is not, I strongly believe, destined to be a flash in the unforgiving pop music pan. More on that later, though. Now, to my friend and to all of you, I'm gonna put on m-m-m-m-m-m-my "Red Lipstick!" Enjoy. (Just try it.)

Ke$ha - 'Red Lipstick'

 
Download this MP3 - (Right Click)
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