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In the midst of turmoil and a public legal battle, Kesha has released a new album full of tensions of recent years.
Who is she? The singer and songwriter, formerly known as Ke$ha, made headlines in the early 2010s with his hit dance songs such as “Tik Tok,” “We R Who We R,” “Die Young,” “Blow,” burst onto the pop music scene. even more.
- She continued to make the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 throughout the years, receiving nominations at award shows and becoming one of the biggest pop artists of the decade.
- But in the last decade, a bitter, drawn-out legal battle with producer Dr. Luke and his record label largely derailed her career.
- kesha latest album, gag order, Created by Rick Rubin, this artistic examination addresses feelings and experiences.
what’s the big deal? You can’t help but think of Kesha’s experience when you listen to the new album.
- Dr. Luke, legally named Lukasz Gottwald, signed the singer when she was 18 in 2005.
- In October of 2014, Kesha married Dr. Luke, accusing him of drugging, raping, and emotionally abusing her during the years of their working relationship. He denied all the allegations.
- Gottwald countersued Kesha for defamation, and breach of contract, and the two went back and forth over the years, with the singer wanting to terminate their contract.
- gag order Released under Dr. Luke’s label.
Want more on Artists Taking a Stand? To consider this, listen to David Simon talk on AI, television and the WGA strike,
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What are people saying? NPR Music’s Stephen Thompson and Ann Powers join in all things considered Ari Shapiro to discuss new album and legal battle:
Ann Powers, on her first impressions:
I really value artists who work to convey the complexities of emotion in pop music, not only in their lyrics but musically as well. I think the album is kind of a rocky listen, but in the best possible way. I mean, it takes us into the mind of a woman who has dealt with so much and who is unsure of herself at times. But she’s determined to just be honest, and honest is not a word I ever take lightly.
The album is very important to Kesha’s own work and beyond her career. I mean, it’s been years now since we’ve had the #MeToo movement go mainstream. And as a public, we like to focus on stories of triumph and stories that somehow get resolved.
But for the victims, their stories are rarely fully resolved. And Kesha is gifting us with this album. She lets us listen to the often conflicting feelings inside our heads, and reminds us that not only is healing a lifelong process, but justice is a lifelong process.
Stephen Thompson, on the legal battle:
These lawsuits have been going back and forth.
He is facing a defamation case. She’s suing him … and I think the cumulative effect of all that conflict — not only between her and Dr. Luke, but between her and this label that’s supposed to be taking care of her career — I think the frustration has built up and accumulated in such a way that she can’t ignore it in the records she’s putting out.
Ann Powers, on where it fits into the wider pop music landscape:
This record isn’t just about Kesha’s story, but the story of pop artists in general. I mean, so many pop stars get to the point where they’ve been put in a box and want to disown, you know, the bondage that they were in. And Miley Cyrus recently did just that, but this record goes way beyond Miley’s record.
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So what now?