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Kesha: High Road review – back in the driver’s seat | Music

When Kesha Sebert emerged in 2009 as Ke$ha she was styled as the ultimate party girl, singing EDM-tinged anthems about glugging Jack Daniels for breakfast. The emotional purge of 2017’s Rainbow, however, replaced bangers with ballads, its rock-tinged catharsis written and recorded in the midst of a legal battle with her one-time producer over claims of sexual assault. The dichotomy of her public image is summed up on the thumping electronic hoedown of My Own Dance, the second track on a follow-up focused principally on joy and pleasure. “You’re the party girl, you’re the tragedy,” she sings, before adding: “The funny thing is, I’m fucking everything.”

These multiple identities barrel into one another across High Road’s 15 tracks. Opener Tonight is a brilliantly abrasive late-night anthem, complete with a purposefully off-key, drunk-at-3am chorus, while the gospel-tinged Shadow eulogises well-earned happiness. The playful, video game-sampling Birthday Suit, meanwhile, rubs up against a delicate country ballad, Cowboy Blues, about mourning missed opportunities. The genre-hopping leads to the odd stumble here and there, but overall the never boring, often excellent High Road finds Kesha returning to the party on her own terms.

Watch an album trailer for Kesha’s High Road.

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