There’s no getting around it: What’s happening to Kesha right now is incredibly sad.
By now, you should all be well aware that Kesha Rose was denied her request for an injunction on Friday morning in her now two year legal battle with Dr. Luke, forcing her to make good on existing contractual obligations between herself and her alleged assaulter. While Sony Records and Dr. Luke insist she’s allowed to work with other producers without his involvement, according to her legal team, Kesha fears that’s only an “elusive promise.” (As some have pointed out, it would also likely mean that her profits would still directly benefit Dr. Luke.) For now, she remains tied to her record contract — a six-album deal.
Although a severe blow to the #FreeKesha movement (and a sobering reminder of the value of business deals above basic human rights), the case is far from over — and it’s heartwarming to see so many massive pop stars speak out in support of Kesha — from Grimes to Kelly Clarkson to Lorde to Ariana Grande to Lady Gaga. (Certain self-proclaimed feminists in the industry have remained silent on the matter, as Demi Lovato pointed out last night…but that’s a whole other story.)
Regardless of what happens in this case, Kesha’s voice will not be silenced.
There are over a hundred Kesha demos floating around the Internet. That’s about eight full albums worth of music. Some of them are rowdy, obnoxious and sneery party romps. Some are left-of-center experimental forays into grunge rock or twangy country territory. Some of them are heartfelt singer-songwriter acoustic guitar ballads; the kind of sound that the general public has no idea Kesha is capable of producing.
And so, to celebrate her artistic output outside of the songs we already have in her discography, I thought I’d put together a “Greatest Hits” compilation of some of my favorite unreleased Kesha songs.
She, along with everyone else, deserves to feel safe, happy and creatively fulfilled. Stay loud. #FreeKesha
Oh, what could have been: “Machine Gun Love” was reportedly rejected by the label for not sounding “pop” enough for 2012’s Warrior, despite the fact that it’s a total full-throttle stadium jam. It’s huge — and she’s only ever performed it live in concert. She’s a fucking rock star.
When people would roll their eyes at the notion that Kesha was an actual singer or a legitimate artist, this is probably the go-to song I’d send to shut ’em up. If there’s a Kesha country album one day (and there should be), this ought to be the outro.
This heartbreaker is like a predecessor of “The Harold Song,” if only they’d worked out the production just a little more. That devastating chorus! “While you were sleeping, I was wandering with the lonely people…trying to fill the void you left.”
“Innocence and Pills” offers yet another side of Kesha, and maybe her most legitimate bid at an actual raw “rock” sound. The jagged cut reportedly features Patrick Carney of The Black Keys, which might be why the psych-rock instrumentation isn’t totally far off from Lana Del Rey’s own shadowy Black Keys collaboration, Ultraviolence.
LGBTQ warrior much? Detox and Lady Lloyd join Kesha on a kicking, knee-slapping ode to drag queens. And unlike some more shameless attempts to appeal to the gays by certain pop princesses, this one stays entirely true to Kesha’s rowdy trash-pop aesthetic. “Boy, you’re such a pretty lady!”
“Secret Weapon” admittedly sounds a little dated in 2016, but it sure as hell sounds like it would have been a smash around the time of Kesha’s debut with Animal.
“Boy Like You” easily could have made the Animal tracklisting, too. It’s very much of the Lady Gaga Fame era of glitchy, glittery stuh-stuh-stuttering synth-pop. What to do, what to do, with a boy like you…
Blur’s “Song 2” is surely one of music’s most sampled songs, and Kesha’s own “Song 2”-fueled number is an unapologetic party rocker like no other. “I live my life like I’ve been raised by wolves / Y’all already know I’m a fucking animal.” It’s the very essence of K$ at her crunchiest, messiest and most irreverent yet. “Suck my dick while I flip my bird.” Unless the Blur sample didn’t get cleared (which is totally possible), there’s no reason this one shouldn’t have been released as an official Animal theme song.
“Sunday Morning” supplies more of the Kesha we don’t hear nearly enough on her records, and the one that her loyal Animals likely cling to most dearly. We got a taste of this side of Kesha on her Deconstructed EP, but there’s plenty of evidence that the singer doesn’t have to rely on boozy club corkers to make an impact. It also resonates quite strongly on this very Sunday morning. (Her voice.)
“Disgusting” is such a vintage K$ classic, I genuinely forgot that it never got an official release. Well, it did — for Miranda Cosgrove‘s album years later. Which…uh, good for her. Sparkly, dreamy, head-over-heels-in-love Kesha is every bit as much fun as vomming-in-Paris Hilton’s-closet Kesha.
“Butterscotch” is an equally legendary Kesha discard from the early days of her major label career. Is it embarrassing? Oh, totally! But no more or less than “Dinosaur.” (Or Madonna’s “Candy Shop.”) Kelis has her milkshake, and Kesha has her butterscotch.
Kesha, The Songwriter, is as equally underrated as The Singer. Let us never forget: She wrote Britney‘s “Till The World Ends.” Years before the dollar sign, Kesha penned a track called “This Love,” later released by The Veronicas. While the girls did a great job, there’s nothing quite like the original.
Kesha gone Lilith Fair? Indeed. ’90s rock throwback “Good To Be Queen” is far from perfect, but rather strong supporting evidence that Kesha has an Alanis side waiting to come out.
A bit lyrically insensitive? Perhaps, but entirely relatable for anyone who suffers from a perpetual case of the sads. Considering the current state of affairs, this one hits even harder. “I’m not suicidal…I’m just a little sad.”
One of the first reasons I fell in love with Kesha wasn’t “Tik Tok” or “Your Love Is My Drug,” but rather her unbelievably fierce flip on Juvenile’s “Slow Motion,” which I found back back around 2009 when she was still peddling demos on MySpace and calling for fans to get Kesha tattoos to make her album cover. She morphs the horny dude anthem into a sex-positive feminist statement — I’ve been a devoted Animal ever since.
Speaking of refreshingly equal opportunity hook-up jams from the female perspective, “Booty Call” is a sick ode to NSA sex. “Don’t want a boyfriend…just wanna get some.” (Get in touch, Grindr.) The singalong chorus is super cute and uplifting, which is amusing, considering she’s singing about getting some no-strings ass. It almost kind of sounds like something off of Avril Lavigne’s underrated self-titled LP. Booooooty.
“Meet Me In Space” is the very essence of Warrior, and a raging battle cry like no other: “I’ll die trying to fight it.” Stay strong, Kesha: Your magic is still very much there.