I am an avid music fan and I have been since elementary school. It took me a few years, but for many years now, I have been a proud fan of quality music. Music with substance, talent, and you know, created by driven musicians.
The only time I listen to the radio is on Saturday’s when Ira Glass takes over NPR with This American Life. I am uncertain, but convinced MTV ceased music videos and replaced them with Guidos and teen moms. My exposure to music that I do not love is very minimal.
I listen to real music, with instruments, thoughtful lyrics, and actual talent. My record collection is the anti-radio or pretty damn close to it.
Popular music is cheap, it’s a concept created by a fat man in an expensive suit. It’s overly catchy, it’s constructed by anyone other than the “singer”. It’s sexy, easy, and uses dancing as a distraction. The only requirement? Slight talent and the ability to be a puppet. Have a bangin’ body? Willing to sell it? You can be a pop star! It’s a formula.
Take a glittery alcoholic throw in a dollar sign mix in a little sex appeal and blend it with excess auto tune and glitter, voila! KE$HA is born.
The track “Tik Tok” launched Ke$ha into extreme fame. It’s loud, in your face, and hilariously bad. From the “brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack” to rhyming Mic Jagger with swagger. These are hardly lyrics. They are poorly written jokes.
The best part? Ke$ha is in on the joke. If she weren’t, her career wouldn’t be as successful. She “created” a new style of singing. It’s not singing exactly, but rather a hybrid of rapping and whining. She sounds (and probably is) perpetually under the influence. Her songs, vocal stylings, and overall demeanor, are what sells her as a product. She’s smart. She understands that she isn’t making serious music. That’s precisely why, she’s a serious artist.
It wasn’t by choice that I started listening to Ke$ha. On bad nights after the bars, my friends would say, “I feel like Ke$ha.” Instantly Animal was in the cd player, they were screaming, and I was embarrassed. Eventually I started recognizing the harmonies and soon enough, I was singing along. At first it felt shameful, but after a few listens, I knew I was a love sick crackhead.
When Ke$ha first emerged, I was an avid hater. Even as a “fan”, I still cannot put my finger on exactly what makes her so goddamn irresistible. Alone, speeding down the dark highways, I find myself slipping Animal into the cd player. I stop feeling dirty as the record wears on and through the hit songs.
Underneath the glitter, the drugs, and the ignorant lyrics, there’s a, dare I say it? Musician? Because there is. “Backstabber” is a heartfelt jam about bitchy backstabbing girls. It’s not in the typical Ke$ha styling either. She sounds like a female singing sensation. Rather than the bullshit singer she is now. The lyrics are simple, but golly, the girl has some pipes on her.
Will Ke$ha ever get over this phase and make music for the masses rather than the teenager alcoholics? Who knows. But what I do know is, “We R Who We R” is just as good, if not better than “Tik Tok”.
The line, “I’m so sick of being so serious / it’s making me delirious” explains it all. Ke$ha just wants to have fun and so do I. Don’t you? No? Okay, well we are who we are.
I am not ashamed.