Pitchforks: 3.5 out of 5
Record Label: Kemosabe
Release: Dec. 4
Pop singer Ke$ha’s sophomore album “Warrior” makes use of the artist’s best and worst tendencies. On her first album and the follow-up EP, she embodied the image of a party girl, celebrating a hedonistic lifestyle without a hint of introspect of any kind. “Warrior” is a course correction for the better, with her sound more palatable and personable to the senses and the masses.
When she promoted her 2010 album “Animal” she inexplicably cited Bob Dylan’s classic 1969 country album “Nashville Skyline” as a favorite album, despite not a trace of that inspiration being anywhere.
While promoting this album, the singer boasted a mix of classic rock and pop influences embedded in the album’s production.
The attempt at rock integration in the production of “Warrior” doesn’t carry any extended audible allusions throughout the work, but they are still heard in brief moments.
Overall, the album’s production is pushed more in the electronic-infused pop direction.
In the opening title track, “Warrior,” Ke$ha celebrates the life of the misfits — the ones that “were born to break the doors down” — a theme carried through the album, as well as a celebration of her own youth and mindset.
With her first single, “Die Young,” the singer embraces the same “live fast” mentality of people in her age demographic.
The next track, “C’Mon” talks about hitting up a guy for a one-night stand in the midst of a worry-free summer.
When she isn’t engaging in this candor, she engages in aggressive reminders of her recent past on song’s like “Thinking of You,” a probably unearned slam session against a former beau with her repeated demands for the guy to scram — all said in a very explicit Ke$ha fashion, of course.
She still indulges in the spoken hip-hop that broke the flow of her already grating work on her debut album. However, it’s at limited usage on her newest release.
This holdover haunts the album in places and undermines more earnest moments. For instance, on “Crazy Kids,” Ke$ha sings, “Tonight we do it big, and shine like stars / And we don’t give a f–k because that’s who we are / We are the crazy kids,” which is followed by the unctuous lines, “I’m no virgin or no Virgo / I’m crazy that’s my word doe / It’s Ke$ha in the casa so they be let-let’s get loco.” It’s meant to be a representation that she’s fun and easygoing, yet it only acts as a deterrent, reminding listeners of those less illustrious times.
Yet that subversive personality works to her benefit on a track like “Dirty Love,” which features Iggy Pop, of all people. It shouldn’t work, but the combination fits in spite of itself, with a hilarious interlude from Pop, “Cockroaches do it garbage cans / Rug merchants do it in Afghanistan / Santorum did it in a V-neck sweater / Pornos produce it / But wild child can do it better.” Ke$ha counters with, “All I need is to get in between your sheets.”
Pop’s addition to the track reminds listeners of what the album could have been, if Ke$ha approached her lyrics with the same witticism and bucking attitude.
The mix of Ke$ha and Pop, the backup vocalists and its heavy rock influence make it a guilt-free and intoxicating track.
More improbable, yet functioning collaborations occur on the following tracks, which feature Patrick Carney of The Black Keys on drums and The Strokes. These guests help better define her as an artist and where she belongs in the pop landscape.
Despite her loopy yet endearing personality, listeners will want to hang out with Ke$ha.
The third album should streamline all these elements into a more even, regularly enjoyable product.
Your move, Ke$ha.
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