Beleaguered singer-songwriter Kesha triumphantly returned to the music scene with her new single "Praying" on July 6. She's the latest pop star to let the light in and let her authentic self come through.
Since last year, the decade's most colorful superstars have reached points in their careers where they've turned down the theatrics and let the music speak for itself. Lady Gaga's Joanne album saw the singer become less invested in her wild looks and more emotionally-invested in her music. That was best epitomized in the heart-wrenching ballad "Million Reasons." With the release of this year's serene "Malibu," former award show twerker Miley Cyrus revealed that she became sober, cutting weed out of her routine. Cyrus' natural glow shone beautifully in the music video. Sad-girl songstress Lana Del Rey went from 2012's Born to Die to celebrating living in "Lust for Life" featuring The Weeknd. Pop music's been beaming brightly lately.
Kesha is the most recent artist shedding an old image to become more vulnerable in her music. She debuted on the scene in late 2009 with a dollar sign in her name and the debaucherous hit "TiK ToK." More party-hardy jams followed before her career came to halt in 2014 when Kesha sued long-time producer and label boss Dr. Luke over emotional and sexual assault allegations. While in and out of courtrooms, she was writing for her upcoming album, Rainbow. Out of the ladies changing their tunes, Kesha's return with "Praying," her first single in four years, seems like the most natural and vindicating considering what she's been through to get here.
Kesha wrote "Praying" with Australian artist Ben Abraham and Ryan Lewis of "Same Love" fame. Instead of electro-pop beats, Lewis backs Kesha with piano and sweeping production. Dr. Luke had Kesha heavily Auto-tuned in the past and now her raw voice is the main instrument, pleading for inner peace in difficult times. Like a caged bird finally freed, she finds strength in belting, "And you said that I was done / Well, you were wrong and the best is yet to come." Kesha turns her struggles into a powerful hymn of hope that introduces a new and empowered version of the singer.
"Praying" is now available on iTunes and Apple Music. Kesha's Rainbow album will be released worldwide on Aug. 11.