An Open Apology Letter to Kesha

Dear Kesha,

I need to apologise to you. Firstly I was never a fan of your old music. To be honest I hated it, I despised the whole thing you had going on from the dollar sign to the obnoxious party tunes. Everything about your image and music seemed utterly hellish to me. Of course it was hellish to you too but I didn’t know that then. How could anyone? We see pop stars and we think we know them. We are cowards writing nasty things from behind screens and thinking it means nothing. What fools we are. 

I confess when I saw the #freekesha thing I thought, ‘oh please don’t, no one with ears wants new music from Kesha.’ I didn’t know a fucking thing about your life or what had happened to you because of your career. I was one of those mean bastards you sing about in the opening song of your new album. That song is perfect by the way, it sums up the hell of 21st century pop stardom better than anything I’ve ever heard. And it has a sense of grace too, which some of us could learn from (especially me).

So I’m here to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry for hating you when I didn’t know you. I’m sorry for judging your music. I’m sorry for thinking you were nothing but a pop star. I’m sorry for clicking on those awful articles about your appearance and being a complete bitch. I’m sorry for forgetting you were a human being. I’m sorry for all the shit you’ve been through. And I also apologise for underestimating your musical ability.

One look at the collaborators on Rainbow and I understood it was going to be something different. Eagles of Death Metal, the Dap Kings, Ben Folds and Dolly fucking Parton. There’s no sign of EDM or Ed Sheeran or a rapper anywhere. It’s so refreshing to see someone go with their gut, rather than the trends. No wonder this album is the best thing you’ve ever done.

I love Let em Talk, it’s fun but there’s truth here. And Mother is another grown up party anthem, after all anything with the Dap Kings can’t fail to sound good. Sure there’s other poppier songs on here that I skip, but I can’t help but admire how you have built a bridge from your old sound to something more authentic.

And what can I say about Praying? I have yet to listen to it without goosebumps and tears. It’s not a pre-rehearsed performance – it’s gritty, raw and devastatingly moving. The other stand out song for me is Rainbow. The rehab must have been hell, to have come out with this song is testament to your bravery and talent. And Ben Folds is an utter gent. It’s nice to know there’s good guys in the world who can believe in women and support them and not crush their dreams.

Hunt You Down has style and sass that reminds me of the best country divas. I also love that you cover your mum’s song, Old Flames, and when Dolly comes in it sounds epic. It could have been so easy to do a cheesy version, an obvious sweet little ditty so kudos for pushing the sound in a rockier direction.

Godzilla is weird sure but its irreverence is its charm and when do you ever see that on a major pop album? I love it, it reminds me of the wacky anti-folk stuff. I love Spaceship too, with its glorious banjo – to finish on such beautiful optimism is stunning. You could be in the ditch but you refuse to be. You’re in the stars now.

So good luck with this album, even if it doesn’t sell like your old ones then don’t be afraid. You’re somewhere else now, a different cosmos. You only have a couple of albums to go on that contract and you can be really free. Right now you’re still that caged bird singing. To lay down and die would surely be easier – what you’ve done is inspiring. One day you will be able to open that cage door and fly away with your head held high. Until then thank you for opening my eyes and changing my perspective on things. I hope you find your peace and the support you deserve for this album.

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