January 5, 2010
US Billboard 200: #1

“Don’t be a little bitch with your chit-chat, just show me where your dick’s at!” chants Ke$ha (pronounced, keh-sha) on Blah! Blah! Blah!, her second Top 10 single from her debut album, Animal. This album, as much as other critics have called it the end of civilization, is a good temperature reading on pop music. It’s repeating tried and true formulas with better precision and accuracy and much more auto-tune, along with exceptionally unveiled references to any kind of hedonistic lifestyle. Ke$ha makes it a ploy to be as straightforward as possible. There is rarely a metaphor or witty double entendre sandwiched between Dr. Luke’s mastering of electropop/rock and Ke$ha’s dry, suburban whore delivery of songs that, let’s be honest, are just as tricky as pop radio allows.

The lead single, TiK ToK brings rap, rock, hip-hop, pop, and electronica together to form a sparkling, frenzied ode to partying and the DJs that make it happen. Number one in 9 countries, it shows the mass market appeal that manufactured pop music has to have today to be worthy of radio play. Second single, Blah! Blah! Blah!, featuring electro group 3OH!3 hit #7 in the U.S. just based on digital sales, showing for the second time (as TiK ToK continues to break digital records) that she is a child of the digital age. The song is a smash hit of electropop and lyrics dirty enough for any rapper, the one thing it lacks for me is a significant dance break, but I can say that for the whole album. The songs are dance-y in the extreme, but not that sort of dancing; it is college party, drunk-off-your-ass and making-out-with-a-complete-stranger kind of dance music. Where the album fails is in the Avril Lavigne, circa 2004, rip-offs like Party at a Rich Dude’s House and Backstabber where the electropop leans more toward pop/rock. After the let down of the middle of the album, we get one more good dance song out of Boots & Boys, a Britney-esque song that objectifies men and puts them in the same category as boots. She is just the latest member of a myriad of female musicians that wish to show that they too can be just as objectifying as men, they just do it to a catchy beat and melody instead of to electric guitars and an 808 machine.

This is what you should come to Animal and Ke$ha as an artist wanting, because it’s what you’re going to get from her: unapologetic, glitter falling from the ceiling, dance-pop music. But just when you think you’ve got her all figured out, she throws something like the titular track or great fourth single material (after Boots & Boys), Stephen, a harmonic, glitzy, raucously rhythmic pop song about her being stalkerish about a boy, at you and you think, wait, maybe she’s not all what she described in Entertainment Weekly as “garbage-chic” (which comes across as the antithesis of Taylor Swift). She has substance but it’s a young deepness, something to be explored as our generation’s mind-set hardens into a new era. I think the reason a lot of critics find popular music of the last decade or so, so inane and uninspiring is because this is a different generation and like the critics of the 50s and 60s found our parents’ music inane and crazy, so our critics find ours. There are good artists out there, but if we shoot down every new successful act as selling out and stupid, we lose our trendsetters and pop culture minds. Like it or not, Ke$ha is setting a tone for a decade and so is Lady GaGa, Taylor Swift, David Guetta, and Kings of Leon.

Ke$ha’s album is not the best album of the year, even though it’s just the 3rd week of 2010. What it is a good debut pop album from a songwriter (she co-wrote every track on the album) that is well worth its sticker price.


Blah! Blah! Blah! feat. 3OH!3
Boots & Boys

~ by vinyabarion on January 20, 2010.

3 Responses to “Animal”

  1. Happy that you’re still reviewing ^-^

  2. I was wondering if you were going top review this. I think what you offered as an explanation of critic’s views on recent music is an interesting thing to say, though I myself have yet to decide how true it is.

    Animal is a genuinely well-done pop debut, and many of the songs on here have the potential to be singles. I just hope she isn’t a flash in the pan.

  3. Ooh, do you think you could do Past < Future (Namie) & Attitude (Meisa) reviews? =]

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