The truth about healing is found on Kesha’s Rainbow. The party pop princess has been through hell in the past couple years. After a lawsuit came to light, accusing her producer of not only mentally abusing her and lending to anorexic habits, but also of sexually assaulting her, Kesha was found in the middle of a legal battle that was heard round the world.
Through all of the courtroom trials and tribulations, she’s also been fighting for something more substantial than contracts and dollar signs. She’s been fighting for the repairment of her soul. The proof is in the sound of the fourteen tracks found on Rainbow. Artists who go through tough times find themselves with albums documenting the journey after they’ve come out on the other side. It makes for inspiring tracks, ones that tell us we too can make it. Kesha, however, wrote hers right in the eye of the hurricane. She’s not done fighting, there is still struggle, and that’s what makes this album the one that will speak to the truest parts of your soul.
Gone are synths and glitter—okay wait, no, there’s still some glitter. But at any rate, we aren’t hearing 3OH!3 collabs and stories of the “Party at a Rich Dude’s House” anymore. While this isn’t to say Kesha isn’t still sex positive or party ready, she just has something different say this time around.
“Kesha lays it all on the table—the hurt, the healing, the screaming, the crying, the laughing—the life after pain.”
Now, she’s singing hymns for the hymn-less and taking Godzilla to the mall (we could explain, but how?). Her strength radiates as she returns to her craft, but in each song you notice one thing more than anything else—she’s human, and she’s been hurt. Where she could have easily hidden the pain with a tough exterior, she’s a motherfucking woman and she isn’t afraid to bare all.
That honesty is what the music industry—and world in general—lacks. I’ve loved Kesha from her first album, and each release has offered songs that I’ll hold near and dear to my heart for decades to come (totally looking forward to being the old woman with blue hair jamming to “Gold Trans Am” much to my grandkids’ dismay). While the past was good, Rainbow offers something totally different; therapy in the version of folksy pop rock tunes, Kesha lays it all on the table—the hurt, the healing, the screaming, the crying, the laughing—the life after pain. She’s not saying, “I’m okay”. She’s saying, “I’m working on it”.
In a world where everyone is already “okay”, it’s hard to go through shit. Everyone is telling you that they did it, so you can too. While you want to hear that your heroes have been healed, you’re still fighting a battle, and sometimes that makes you feel like you’re all alone. Kesha has offered the vulnerability of an anonymous counselling group, where you can cry without worry of judgement, and bond with others who need to do the same, fourteen times over. Not only with obvious selections, like the forgiving “Praying” or the encouraging “Learn To Let Go”, but with “Finding You” and “Boogie Feet” too. There isn’t one side to healing—it can include silliness and falling in love and all sorts of things as you feel your heart want to live again.
“Each color of the rainbow will take you through another step, and at the end, you might just find that the sky is clearer than ever before.”
There are plenty of colors in the rainbow, including the ones you don’t see. The varied hues that mix and blend with other shades and don’t appear at first glance. Just like that, there are plenty of steps to healing that aren’t easy to spot if you aren’t going through it yourself—and sometimes, even if you are. Kesha has illuminated every step on her path thus far, painted a picture, and shared it with us. It might have been in the pursuit of saving herself, or saving her listeners, but it has accomplished both. By showing every bit of her soul and healing process with Rainbow, she’s opened a world of understanding.
So the next time you’re going through hell, the next time all you can do is lay on the floor and cry until you’re physically sick, turn on Rainbow. Let it light a path of recovery, showing that it’s okay to seek help, okay to reach out to allies new and old, okay to speak your truth. Let it remind you that healing is both possible and a process—a spectrum if you will. Each color of the rainbow will take you through another step, and at the end, you might just find that the sky is clearer than ever before—but you don’t need to worry about that yet. For now, just let yourself breathe.