What is a Ke$ha? A creation that baffles with its glitter-spangled fangs laden with synthesised chart topping symphonies? Or simply another addition to the ever growing stack of disposable entities of the 21st century? Judging by her sophomore effort, Ke$ha’s definition is still hazy.
Less than a year after releasing her first album (Animal), Ke$ha returns with a 9 track EP entitled Cannibal, and the title is directly proportional to the lyrical content: fierce. Ke$ha rips into anyone standing in her way, and her target is mainly the entire male species:
“Use your finger to stir my tea / And for dessert I’ll suck your teeth”
“Sleazy” also sees Ke$ha enter newfound territory, showcasing her rapping abilities. Although fairly simplistic, she pulls it off quite believably: “I’m not gonna sit here while you circle, jerk it and work it/Imma take it back to where my man and my girls is”
Regarding lyrical content, for the most part it is pretty samey. “Grow A Pear” and “C U Next Tuesday” are laden with innuendos, and personally my least favourite on the EP. One of the stand outs however, is “We R Who We R” (annoyingly stylized), and one of the songs you can’t help but love no matter how juvenile it seems. One thing to say about Ke$ha is that she will stand up for the outsider, after largely being one herself. Other stand outs include the strong ballad “The Harold Song” wherein we learn that Ke$ha can actually belt out a decent few notes. “Blow” (which is surprisingly not a shocking innuendo) creates the idea of not only being a ring leader, but shows we mightn’t have seen the whole Ke$ha just yet, as the song leads the way into a sinister pitfall:
“Follow my lead / Now you’re one of us / You’re coming with me”
Although not a perfect record, it has a fair few memorable moments, and furthermore defines the Ke$ha we think we know. Whether or not we’ve gained a full picture of who she is as an artist though is questionable. However, with the prospect of seeing multiple genres coming through with each album, I would be happy to continue to be baffled by the glitter tinged embodiment that goes by the name of Ke$ha.
Hatchie – Keepsake
Keepsake, the debut album by Brisbane dream pop artist Hatchie is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars
Brisbane indie-pop artist Hatchie (known to her friends and family as Harriette Pilbeam) is in the envious position of being a pop artist unspoiled by the many trappings of what it is to be a modern pop artist. Unlike some of her contemporaries who craft music by committee or with Sheeran-like self-importance, Hatchie is as of now, unsullied by the pressures of the cookie-cutter pop machine. Hatchie’s debut full length is a showcase for a talent who is supremely confident and composed in her abilities, and Keepsake is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars. The album is also a wonderful throwback to pop’s dreamy 60s influences that shuffle in and out of this delirium while working alongside distinctly more current musical touches.
There is the lush dream pop sounds of “Without a Blush”, taking cues from the best of what Stars and Goldfrapp conjure but heaping a tonne of Pilbeam’s charisma on it. Like her vocals, “Without a Blush” has this elegance that has the ability to elevate songs from being beautiful to grand. It is the kind of vocal elegance that really shines through on songs like the skittering, beat-driven “Obsessed” and the alternative, guitar-fuelled (yay!) “When I Get Out”. Indie/electronic closer “Keep” is a wonderful end to proceedings.
However, the great strength of Keepsake is not just its composure in how all the songs have been put together. It is also this genuine, natural-sounding quality that permeates the album- nothing overly written, overly produced or put together by research groups or music analysts. It just sounds like talent. We can argue that much of pop music is constructed to appease the moment- designed to grab as much attention as possible in an A.D.D. world. And sure, that can be said about almost any kind of music, but the resulting aural tone of Keepsake is anything but transient or transparent.
The best way to combat tepid chart-topping music is to write better pop songs. Songs like “Her Own Heart” and the disco-toned “Stay” are examples of pop music that come across as timeless. We are moved by the songs found on Keepsake when we listen to them today. And I suspect that in 10 years time, or in 20, we will most likely feel the same. It is rare to find the sort of ageless beauty you find on Keepsake.