Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ke$ha's Animal - Pop Trash Review

This review took me about six weeks to write. At this rate, I'll be commenting on "Sweet 7" some time in December. The reason for the delay is actually quite simple. Basically, I can't decide whether I should build a shrine to Ke$ha in my bedroom or view her exploding popularity as a sure sign that the Apocalypse is nigh. I initially thought of her as a canny Lady GaGa wannabe but I couldn't have been more wrong. I wouldn't be surprised if the fame monster begins each recording session by pouring over Italian Vogue before masturbating to the latest Lars Von Trier film in a John Galliano gown to get in the mood, while Ke$ha just rolls out of the gutter and sings about her hangover and overworked vagina. The thing is - I really want to be on team Ke$ha. She's a dirty skank who just wants to fuck and party, which makes her indistinguishable from 90% of my friends. The problem is that she's a one trick pony. "Animal" is by no means a bad album - in fact, parts of it compare favourably to "The Fame" - it's just incredibly limited in its scope. I like songs about getting drunk, fucking and fame whoring as much as the next gay but by the 15th ode to excess, I just wanted to gulp down a litre of carrot juice and scrub my genitals with industrial strength disinfectant. I'm not hating on Ke$ha because I genuinely admire her idiosyncratic lyrics, catchy hooks and fuck you attitude. I just hope she follows Lady GaGa's lead and takes things to the next level on her sophomore album. In the meantime, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. Here is my track by track review:

Your Love Is My Drug

"Maybe I need some rehab or maybe just need some sleep" really sets the tone for the album. However, the opening track is actually kind of sweet. "Your Love Is My Drug" is probably the closest thing to a straightforward pop song on "Animal". The production (courtesy of heavyweights like Dr Luke and Benny Blanco) bounces along happily, while Ke$ha's lyrics are surprisingly cute. I like the line about having "a slumber party in her basement"... on second thoughts that could be a really nasty metaphor! This is an obvious choice for the album's third single but I'd prefer "Animal", "Stephen" or "Kiss N Tell".

Tik Tok

There isn't much to say about this polarising party anthem. I know a lot of people consider it juvenile trash but I think "Tik Tok" is a modern classic that will still be on high rotation at 40th birthday parties in 2030. Give the song's fabulous parody a listen. It's already top 5 on Australian iTunes, which is a testament to the extent to which "Tik Tok" has already become ingrained in popular culture.

Take It Off

Is this jam really about a sex on venue premises? Ke$ha should do a tour of gay saunas. Bitch would be in 7th heaven! I know I complained about the number of slut anthems on "Animal" but this is one of the album's best and holds up as a crisply produced pop gem. Moreover, "Take It Off" has my favourite lyric of 2010: "got my drunk text on, I'll regret it in the morn". I thought I was the only person who goes clubbing and shamelessly spends half the night sending inappropriate texts. I feel so validated!

Kiss N Tell

Max Martin's first contribution to the album is a real standout. Something special happens when the Swede combines with Dr Luke and "Kiss N Tell" is no exception. The production is an interesting Katy Perry meets Britney mash, while Ke$ha's amusing lyrics offer a witty take on the cheating boyfriend genre. Instead of playing the victim, homegirl goes on the offensive by memorably calling her man a slut and ridiculing his manhood. Fair play. Think of this as an inferior but still extremely enjoyable version of "Hot N Cold".


Ok, by this point I was ready to devote my life to stalking Ke$ha at underground sex parties. "Animal" begins very impressively but it's all downhill after this song. However, there's no denying the poptastic brilliance of "Stephen". It's so different from everything else on the album. There are glimpses of genuine emotion and even a moment or two of vulnerability. I particularly love the lyrics, which range from amusingly delusional ("I watched your ugly girlfriend sneer across the room, as if I really care that she's here with you") to wonderfully demented - "I'll knit you a sweater, I'll wanna wrap you up in my love forever!" Another highlight is David Gamson's oddball production, which reflects his 80s glory years with Scritti Politti. I'd love this to be a single but it's probably just a tad too weird and wonderful.

Blah Blah Blah (Featuring 3OH3!)

The title sums up this aural turd perfectly. Sorry, slut but Katy Perry did this first and slightly better on admittedly awful "Starstrukk". Whoever chose this as the second single deserves a bullet.


Dr Luke and Max Martin return to helm the pop tart's first attempt at a ballad and it's not as awful as some critics would have you believe. Admittedly, autotune is Ke$ha's friend and the lyrics are abysmal ("even my dirty laundry smells like you") but there's an edge to her voice that I actually find appealing and the subtle synths work nicely. Think P!nk's "Sober" sung by a trashed bitch at karaoke and you get the general idea.

Party At A Rich Dude's House

This song is so bad it's amazing! Apparently Ke$ha wrote the song after vomiting in Paris Hilton's closet while laying down backing vocals on "Nothing In This World" - one of my all time favourite songs! For that alone this trash deserves a Grammy. The driving guitar and punk attitude also make a nice change. I would probably enjoy "Party At A Rich Dude's House" a lot more if I were a drink away from passing out in an alley but listening to it sober, there's no denying that it's quite shit. Chalk this up as a twisted guilty pleasure.

I actually imported this shit from Italy!


"Backstabber" is a total grower. I hated it at first but now the song reminds me of the electro-rock experiments on Ashlee Simpson's criminally under-appreciated "Bittersweet World" album. That said, Ke$ha isn't quite in the same league as Ashlee when it comes to musical genius but everyone can identify with these lyrics. In fact, I could dedicate this anthem to quite a few people and probably will when I get my drunk text on! Not exactly single material but accomplished filler nonetheless.


Copy and paste everything I said about "Hungover". Ballads are clearly not Ke$ha's forte but the guitar driven chorus at least helps "Blind" stand out from the rest of the album.


If nothing else, "Dinosaur" proves that even Max Martin still has a few new tricks up his sleeve. I can't think of anything in his canon of hits that even sounds remotely similar to this. The production rips off pays homage to that classic Was Not Was jam "Walk The Dinosaur" (fuck, I'm old!) and the lyrics are hilarious - "not long till you're a senior citizen and you can strut around with a sexy tank of oxygen"! It's about time someone wrote a song about dirty old men and I suggest this be played on a weekly basis at The Midnight Shift.

Dancing With Tears In My Eyes

This is a surprisingly insightful dance anthem about regret. After half a dozen mediocre tracks about partying, it's a relief to hear something with a bit of heart. Lyrics like "on the floor I'm just a zombie, who I am is not who I want to be" and "I've wasted the love of my life" are surprisingly self aware by Ke$ha's standards and the Dr Luke/Benny Blanco production is admirably restrained. Fans of Lady GaGa's "So Happy I Could Die" should enjoy this. A definite step in the right direction.

Boys & Boots

Of the 40 or so Ke$ha demos floating around the internet prior to the album's release, Tom Neville's "Boys & Boots" is one of the few to make the final cut. I would have gone with "Friday Night Bitch Fight" for pure comedy value or the surprisingly lovely "CUNxTuesday" (don't be put off by the fabulous title!) but this slinky little pop tune is catchy and cute. It also shows off the diva's versatility. She's not all quirky one liners and autotune.


I love Greg Kurstin. Anyone who can contribute gems to talents as diverse as Kylie, Sia and Ladyhawke is clearly a genius and he doesn't disappoint here. The album's title track is a shiny pop gem with a genuine hands in the air chorus that doesn't rely on studio trickery or filthy lyrics to be memorable. Ke$ha clearly has a lot of potential, songs like "Animal" stand up to anything on "The Fame". I just wish she'd stop trying to be America's answer to Lily Allen and put a lid on the bratty lyrics.



Another song that has been floating around the internet for the best part of a year. It's not particularly good and makes you wonder who culled Ke$sha's impressive stash of demos.

Dirty Picture (featuring Taio Cruz)

Now, this is a fun. I love Taio Cruz and his voice combines surprisingly well with Ke$ha's. The song sounds like a reject from David Guetta's "One Love" album but that's not a bad thing. At all. I like the electro beats and can imagine a decent DJ turning this into something wonderful. Definitely worth hunting down for dance fans.

RATING: 7/10


John said...

Meh...there's so much good music out there right now that if I don't like how someone positions themselves, then I can move on. The beauty of most of the Pop Trash you feature is that it is effortless...those artists don't have to work to be trashy. Ke$ha obviously is workin' it HARD, and it ain't pretty.

Having said that, I heard the Dirty Picture track on Taio's Rockstar, and you are right about the vocals working together.

tommie said...

Ke$ha is better than Lady DelusionalDouche. There. I said it.

Oh and psst - there's a new Stacey Q single out called Pandora's Box.

Matt said...

Ke$ha has stated numerous times that she will go in a direction like the song 'Animal.' So good call on that. She said there is more to her than the party whore, lol, and that's probably why it was included as the closing track to prep us for the next album.

The Prophet said...


Even though there's a couple of songs I don't really listen to the rest of the songs are so good that it makes up for it.

And most of GaGa's first album was just about sex and being famous, bit she acted like she was delivering Gods scripture straight from the big man himself.

Ke$ha just wanted to make a fun album you can party to and that's what makes this so good. She always admits she just wanted a fun album,and that's what she gave us.

She'll have more substance in her music on her future albums, especially if she does a country album like she said she wants to do.

Back$tabber is my favorite.

And please Mike don't review Sour 7. I was going to as well just so I could write about what a fucking urinary tract infection it is, but I couldn't get through it, it's just the most contrived unoriginal crap I've ever heard.

tommie said...

TheProphet - I'm thinking of temporarily reviving my blog just so that I can rip Sour 7 a new arsehole. Seriously, even if I look past 4.0, it's the worst pop record of the year. Period. The whole thing sounds like a bunch of reject tracks from better artists. It's as bad as the Cheryl Foul album and that's saying something!

I can't believe the girls that did Overload recorded that piece of garbage... oh wait, they didn't.

Daniel said...

Kesha's grown on me in the past few months. I still think she's very unauthentic, but because it's catchy and was only $8.99 at HMV I decided to get the cd. My faves are Your love is my drug, dinosaur, animal, and boots & boys. And while I still question her "singing" ability, the second she announces a show in my city I'll be buying a ticket!

Mike said...

John - I'm down with Ke$ha marketing herself as the ultimate party skank. The thing is, even if it is an act: does that make her any less authentic that Lady GaGa, who I'm assuming doesn't walk around in masks and metallic ball gowns 24/7? My problem is more with the repetition. She just needs to widen her world view a bit. After a while it just gets dull.

Tommie & Prophet - Sour 7 isn't that bad! LOL! Actually, it's pretty dire but that's what makes it amusing to me. I think I'm gonna review it just to annoy everyone. And Ke$ha better not do a country album. It will sell less that Toy Toy's "From Nashville To You"!!

Matt - I'd love it if "Animal" is a taste of things to come. It's an amazing track.

Daniel - Ke$ha is coming to Australia in March to do some promo and I'll be scanning park benches and homeless shelters to get her autograph!

Cyber said...

Ke$ha apparently got a near perfect SAT score - whichmakes the "drunk dirty party whore" direction and image she has as either genius or confusing. Surely a genius wouldn't brush her teeth with a bottle of Jack Daniels?

tommie said...

Mike - it's really that bad. It's horrid. If you told Siobhán, Mutya and Keisha ten years ago that this is what "Sugababes" would sound like they would probably die of fear.

It's really the worst record I've heard in a long time and that's saying A LOT.

Paul said...

Hmmm, i have yet to get through the album more than once. Probably because - well, did you ever watch Buffy? In year six when she was have building destroying sex with spike, she obviously loved a good quivering orgasm but hated how she got it. That's how I feel when I listen to Kesha :)

tommie said...

I forgot that Mike lives in a country where Cheryl Foul debuts in the top 40... of course he'd have HORRIBLE taste.

Me said...

Bitch please! You are one of several people who ends up getting regular updates when I end up in g.a.y. late after one to many...

I love that mash up of Tik Tok and Love At First Sight (Ruff & Jam US Mix) that is doing the rounds.

But just when I was considering buying the album I hear the abysmal Blah Blah Blah which has to be the worst song since the BNP Poster Girl sang about her scat fetish with

Animal is a good track though.

Mike said...

Tommie - you can talk, "Fight For This Race" was a top 60 smash in Sweden. You should be ashamed!!

Jay - "Animal" (the song) is amazing. If you like "Tik Tok", get the album. It's uneven but a lot of fun for drunken whores like ourselves.

tommie said...

Sweden's going down the dumper too then. Yuck!

The Prophet said...

The Sugafrauds are such scum, look at their latest "performance".

I hate love Keisha Buchanan now because shes like the Sugababes enemy, but I also hate her because that bitch would've stayed in this shitty group if they hadnt kicked her out. I used to be the ultimate Sugababes stan but as soon as Mutya left they were a mess. Sugababes 1.0 and 2.0 were amazing. Sugababes 3.0 were tolerable. Sugababes 4.0 make me want to shove a giant soup spoon up my urethra.

tommie said...

I like the overwhelming audience reaction in that clip.

They've just lost it completely, haven't they?

james said...

She's ok, and she's growing on me. And I'm going to buy the cd and put it on repeat in my car and really let it soak in. But does it stand up to The Fame? Nah, sorry it doesn't, not IMO. For me at least, the Fame is one of the most perfect pop albums to have come out in a long time, there's not 1 track on the Fame that I can't listen to over and over. But like I said, Ke$ha is growing on me. Sometimes you want to be avant garde and artsy and The Fame will do that for you, but sometimes you just wanna be a filthy whore, and that's where Ke$ha comes in! Stop ta ta talking that blah blah blah! :)

Jess said...

OK first off I'd like to say that I agree about 85% of what you said.
Especially with the blah blah blah bullet.

If anything a future single-- definitely 'Take It Off' It's my favorite song.

I actually don't like 'Your Love Is My Drug' though all that much. It's tipical.

I think much better songs that deserve more credit are: 'Stephen', 'Blind' and 'Boots & Boys'. The thing about Stephen is it's kind of different. Blind the beat just kills me! I love it. Boots & Boys. Well. What else to say? Have you heard the song? Maybe not single but credit all the same.

Now Dinosaur I know everyone loves and it's fun and all but I's not hopefully a single.
Unfortunately, my senses are telling me summer single. :( Eh, whatever. As for the other songs excluding Tik Tok and these mentioned, EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. IDK.

the writer said...

oh, kesha, the queen of autotune with a shit album. she can destroy a song easily with her bad vocals. at least she's pretty.

Richard said...

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