Kesha is back.

Kesha. The chick who brushes her teeth with Jack Daniels. She’s back. But without the $ in her name.

For anyone who follows the world of pop music, you likely know that Kesha was out of the scene for the past five years because of indictments that she made against her former producer, Dr. Luke, for sexual misconduct. She claimed to feel like she was in a prison, caught between his abuse and her record label’s unwillingness to handle the situation or simply let her out of her contract. In the meantime, she’s been living a supposedly rather depressed life where she has no freedom. Interesting, as this album is being released on Dr. Luke’s imprint record label…

Here is a letter that Kesha wrote to accompany the song that was co-written by the latter half of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis along with some dude from Australia and some other dude from Austria. It’s a powerful song, especially when you understand the background.

For me, God is not a bearded man sitting in the clouds or a judgmental, homophobic tyrant waiting to send everyone to eternal damnation. God is nature and space and energy and the universe. My own interpretation of spirituality isn’t important, because we all have our own. What matters is that I have something greater than me as an individual that helps bring me peace. This is one of the reasons why I love swimming way, way out into the middle of the ocean and just letting the sea carry my body. It is my greatest form of surrender to the universe, a full-body prayer — or meditation.

This song is about me finding peace in the fact that I can’t control everything — because trying to control everyone was killing me. It’s about learning to let go and realize that the universe is in control of my fate, not me.

I dragged myself out of bed and took my emotions to the studio and made art out of them.

It’s from our darkest moments that we gain the most strength. There were so many days, months even, when I didn’t want to get out of bed. I spent all day wanting to go to sleep, and then when I did fall asleep, I had horrible night terrors where I would physically cry and scream through the dark. I was never at peace, night or day. But I dragged myself out of bed and took my emotions to the studio and made art out of them. And I have never been happier with a body of work as I am with this record.

I hope this song reaches people who are in the midst of struggles, to let them know that no matter how bad it seems now, you can get through it. If you have love and truth on your side, you will never be defeated. Don’t give up on yourself.

“Praying” was written about that moment when the sun starts peeking through the darkest storm clouds, creating the most beautiful rainbow. Once you realize that you will in fact be OK, you want to spread love and healing. If you feel like someone has wronged you, get rid of that hate, because it will just create more negativity. One thing that has brought me great relief is praying for those people. Being angry and resentful will do nothing but increase your own stress and anxiety — and hate is the fuel that grows the viruses. Don’t let anyone steal your happiness!

In the past couple of years, I have grown into a strong, independent woman. I have realized through this long journey of ups and downs that if I’m lucky enough to have a voice that people listen to, then I should use it for good and for truth. I’ve battled intense anxiety and depression, a relentless eating disorder, and all the other basic bullshit that comes with being human. I know I’m not alone in that battle. Finding the strength to come forward about these things is not easy, but I want to help others who are going through tough times.

I was blessed and honored to be able to work with some amazing people that helped me realize the vision of this song. Thank you to Ryan Lewis and Ben Abraham, who wanted nothing other than to help me channel all this raw emotion into a powerful song, and to the mad scientist Jonas Åkerlund, who helped me actualize the psychedelic journey that is this physical, emotional ride for the music video.

This is just the beginning. I am so happy and grateful to begin sharing all the music I have been writing with the world. I’ve written a record that reveals my vulnerabilities, and I have found strength in that. In the past, I’ve always felt like I was trying to prove something, trying to be someone I thought people wanted me to be, but on this record, I’m just telling the truth about my life. This album is me. The most raw and real art I have ever created, and now it’s my gift to you. I hope you love it. Thank you for not giving up on me. We made it <3. I love you all so much.

Beth Ditto

Formerly of Gossip (f/k/a The Gossip), Beth Ditto is a plus sized lesbian who can rock the fucking face off of your skull. I don’t really know how to describe her music. Avant garde, new era disco, west hollywood glam, sizzle rock? I like that. That works. We’ll go with that. She’s probably the best at that genre. Better than any others who do that thing that I said. Just check it out. If you like it, you’ll love it. If you don’t , so be it.

MAX

He goes by one name. Apparently he is expecting to be so big that Google puts him at the top of the rankings for that search term, because otherwise that’s just dumb. Another cool pop artist hidden on the back burner. His album isn’t perfect, but there are a lot of cool tracks. He’s somewhere between Bruno Mars & Justin Bieber. This song below is his current single. I’m also a big fan of Basement Party and, of course, 10 Victoria’s Secret Models.  Also, I like the songs Basement Party and 10 Victoria’s Secret Models. See what I did there? 🙂

DREAMCAR

I’m really fucking loving the resurgence of cool 80’s vibe these days. DREAMCAR just released their debut album and it is igniting all of the retro vibrations in my heart. This album, combined with my newest obsession, the comic book Deadly Class, is just putting me in this ridiculous awesome 80’s mindset. All I need now is a pile of milky white cocaine.

If you aren’t aware, DREAMCAR is a supergroup formed of the musicians from No Doubt and Davey Havok, the lead singer of AFI and Blaqk Audio. This album might fit his Oingo Boingo-esque vocals more than any of his other bands. It’s just great dark synthy dance rock.

Bear’s Den

I recently discovered this band out of the UK, although they’ve been around for a few years now. Their first record is a bit more in the same vein as Mumford & Sons or maybe even a little Of Monsters & Men, but their second record that came out at some point in 2016 drops the banjo for a synth, gaining a very cool 80’s vibe.

Lots of echoing guitar and echoing vocals. Slow grooving songs about love. It’s been soundtracking my writing a lot these days, reminding me of what it must have been like to sad dance around your living room back in 1984 with feathered hair and sweet, pleated pants. Something about the music is heartbreaking. A reminder of old love scorn that has been tormenting in the background for years, suddenly brought back to life. But at the same time, it’s modern and happy and straight out of Stranger Things. A gentle reminder that the past will always be there, but the future is yet to come.