Five years since the release of her triumphant sophomore effort Warrior, and three since the start of a drawn-out, public legal battle and sexual assault accusations against producer and label head Dr. Luke, Nashville born psych rock/dance pop star Kesha is finally preparing her long-awaited, maddeningly stalled comeback, and has given us a first taste in the form of sweeping, emotional new single and video, “Praying.”
Dubbed Rainbow, Kesha’s third LP will arrive Aug. 11 via RCA Records and Kemosabe, the imprint Dr. Luke formerly ran, but was apparently ousted from earlier this year, presumably paving the way for Kesha’s return. Though her legal battle is ongoing, and the specifics of her label situation are unclear (the singer wanted out, Luke and the label clamped down on the contract forcing her to work with her alleged abuser or cease making music), we’re happy to see a path open for Kesha’s proper return, after hitting the road last fall with a local backing band dubbed The Creepies.
Though barred from discussing the situation in specific detail, Kesha penned an emotional essay for Lenny Letter, outlining her personal and emotional struggles of the last several years and the path that led her to craft what she considers the best, most uninhibited, and most necessary work of her professional career thus far (and her first release without any collaborative involvement from Dr. Luke).
Co-written by Ben Abraham and featuring production from Ryan Lewis (of Macklemore & fame), “Praying” is clearly an raw, unfiltered response to Dr. Luke in everything but name, both navigating the struggle and reaching the light at the end of the tunnel ahead of Kesha’s cathartic new effort. The video, helmed by Jonas Åkerlund, borrows heavily from Beyoncé’s Lemonade, though with Kesha’s own psychedelic twist, and further reinforces the weight of the track.
Ben Folds, Ricky Reed, Eagles of Death Metal, and Dolly Parton are among the other artists named who were involved in crafting Rainbow, which is available for pre-order now. Though the road to its release is heartbreaking, we’re ecstatic to see an artist who deserves a lot more cred than she often gets (thanks to her radio pop early hits) finally able to give us something unfiltered and representative of her artistry, and if “Praying,” which you can watch below, is any indication, we’re in for incredible, personal, and genre-bending effort.