It’s been three years since Kesha released a single. That was ‘Timber’, the ridiculously fun club banger recorded with human cartoon Pitbull in 2013, a bizarre but brilliant rap/EDM/country mash-up that could fail to raise a smile only from the most miserly music snob.
Much has changed since then, of course. Kesha has recently made headlines for the most depressing of reasons, caught in a legal battle with her producer Dr. Luke, aka 42-year-old Lukasz Gottwald, whom she accused of verbal, emotional and sexual abuse. A judge threw out her claims earlier this month, stating that the alleged rape occurred too long ago – a decade – as US dictates a five-year statue of limitations. The judge also denied Kesha’s request to be released from her contract with Dr. Luke’s label, Kemosabe Records, which is a subsidiary of Sony.
Now, though, the 29-year-old pop star, who introduced herself to world via the 2009 single ‘Tik Tok’ with the boast “Woke up this morning feelin’ like P Diddy”, has found a way around the obstacles stacked against her. She was tweeted in February by the Russian-German DJ and producer Zedd:
Kesha has taken up the offer from Zedd, who later clarified that the resulting track, ‘True Colours’, was produced with the permission of Dr. Luke’s record label. It’s not a new song; a different version appeared on Zedd’s album of the same name in 2015.
It’s still a moody, gothic electro ballad, but knowledge of Kesha’s legal wrangles weigh heavy on this new version, imbuing the lyrics, which address overcoming hardship and knowing your own worth, with powerful new meaning. “I’m not afraid,” Kesha belts out defiantly. “I won’t apologise for the fire in my eyes /Let me show you my true colours / It ain’t your rainbow.” I’m here for me, Kesha is saying – not you.
This new ‘True Colors’ is so sonically similar to the original that it feels less like a full comeback than Kesha dipping her toe back into music, though it’s still a rousing, emotive ballad on its own terms. Overall, it’s great to see a #freekesha, even if just for one song.