Gag Order

Gag Order

Three years before Gag Order, Kesha released 2020’s High Road, a cheery-sounding LP that attempted to return to her early party-pop days, despite the clear-eyed courage of its predecessor, 2017’s soulful Rainbow. After the “TiK ToK,” Jack Daniel’s-swilling early days of Kesha’s career came very public litigation with her former producer and label head Dr. Luke, whom she accused of sexual assault. It’s not something she can legally address on record, but the title of her fifth studio album is a not-so-thinly-veiled reference to her ongoing battle. Produced by Rick Rubin, the album is her most innovative to date. There’s the minor-key, Auto-Tuned ode to hallucinogenic transcendence “Eat the Acid” and the indie-folk neuroticism of “Living in My Head.” The minimal synth turned explosive experimentalism of “The Drama” was co-written with Kurt Vile and includes an inspired interpolation of the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated.” If early fans celebrated Kesha for her bravado, now they’ll find her fearlessness expressed in both new sonic textures and a new emotional vocal performance: laid bare, raw, undeniable.

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