For better or for worse, Kesha has returned to her musical roots on her latest album ‘High Road’; abandoning the slower, cohesive, less heavily produced sound she began exploring on ‘Rainbow’. ‘High Road’ can be described, in one word, as ‘messy’ – with Kesha dabbling in rap, country and bubblegum pop throughout this album. With ‘High Road’, Kesha has said she is “fighting for her right to party“, but yet she stumbles somewhat in attempting to achieve her mission statement.
‘High Road’ certainly isn’t the worst album I’ve heard this year, and Kesha can definitely be excused for releasing a less-than-great album at this point in her career. While most singers in the same stage of their career as Kesha would finely be reaching their apex, Kesha is left finding her feet; still reeling from the abuse she faced at the hands of ‘Dr. Luke’.
However, given the promise that Kesha displayed on 2017’s ‘Rainbow’, ‘High Road’ is disappointing. On ‘Rainbow’, Kesha produced a cohesive, high-quality album that was packed with raw emotion and played to her strengths – most notably her incredible vocal range. Since ‘Rainbow’, however, Kesha has signalled her desire to move into a more up-tempo sound. However, compared to recent albums like ‘Chromatica’ and ‘Future Nostalgia’, ‘High Road’ feels uncompelling and dated – with Kesha reviving her old sound without updating it for the modern day.
With that said, there are still signs of promise in ‘High Road’: on ‘Kinky’, Kesha does a superb job of reviving the sound of the late 90s/early 00’s (even if the end result is somewhat derivative), and on ‘Resentment’ showcases her surprising ability to pull off a more country-inspired track. So, while ‘High Road’ is somewhat lacking direction and clarity of vision, it is still packed with promise; suggesting Kesha’s best days are still ahead of her.