By Gabriela Laracca
Arts & Entertainment Editor
After not having an album release in five years and not having a single release in four, the release of Kesha’s hit-single, “Praying,” on July 5 wound up eager fans for its host album’s release, “Rainbow,” on August 11. Kesha released “Praying” and its host album through Sony/RCA, the parent company of her former producer’s label.
What may be the best track on the entire album, “Praying” represents her struggles with sexual violence and abuse by her former producer, Dr. Luke. In 2014, Kesha sued Dr. Luke in order to void all of her contracts with the company.
To the surprise of many in Hollywood and fans around the world, Dr. Luke countersued both Kesha and her mother in New York’s Supreme Court for defamation and breach of contract, claiming the defamatory statements put out by the pop star were simply a heist to break contract.
On Feb. 19, 2016, Kesha’s request for preliminary injunction was denied. On April 6, the judge dismissed all counter-claims against the producer. She was left without the satisfaction of justice for the abuse and sexual violence she fell victim to.
While her court proceedings were not successful, her fans and fellow stars, including Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato, supported her through “the flames,” Dr. Luke brought as put by Kesha in “Praying.”
Through use of imagery, powerful lyrics and awe-striking notes, both the song and it’s music video bring to life the reviving feeling of emergence from victimhood.
The music video opens with an eerie scene featuring an aside from the artist. She is laying in a coffin surrounded by anthropomorphic pig monsters with dripping mouths, similar to the pig monster in “American Horror Story: Roanoke.” The terrifying beasts seem to be salivating over Kesha’s weak disposure as she questions whether life is worth living if God and everyone around her have abandoned her. She asks for a sign instructing her to not give up.
Throughout the course of the song and video, she not only receives two separate signs to not give up, but she also goes on an adventure of self-discovery and emergence from a dark past. Using imagery of her running through twisted corridors where the swine-hybrids pursue her, the video brought us not only through the emergence from victimhood but the pursuance of freedom and escape.
Kesha used powerfully lyrics to portray the escape from sinking feelings of self-doubt and self-hate caused by abuse.
“Well you almost had me fooled, told me that I was nothing without you. Oh, but after everything you’ve done, I can thank you for how strong I have become.” These lyrics encompass in its entirety the feeling of looking back on an abusive or toxic individual that was once a part of one’s life and the acceptance of those memories as one’s past.
Another set of lyrics that encompasses this is, “I’m proud of who I am, no more monsters I can breathe again. And you said that I was done, well you were wrong and now the best is yet to come.” While these lyrics pertain more to Kesha’s situation specifically, it ensues hope in listeners to believe that they can get through anything and from the bottom you can only rise again.
While the lyrics in “Praying” make it an incredibly moving and powerful song, the notes themselves do quite the same. Following the lyric, “oh some say, in life, you’re gonna get what you give, but some things only God can forgive,” Kesha belts out a note that shocked the world.
With thousands of reaction videos erupting on YouTube every day and the millions of fans beating their dashboards in support, Kesha hits a high note that we would have never expected her former self, the singer of “Tik Tok,” to achieve.
The note is a bit shaky but it is meant to be exactly that. Through the note and the scream that reaches it, you hear cracks and imperfections. Words can hardly describe the purge of fear and weakness brought on by this note.
With final imagery of the artist walking on water faded out with a whispered exhale, the video and song end with a feeling of renewal. For those who have felt the grasp of abuse or toxicity in individuals they once cared for or even for fans that simply support the artist in her struggle, this soulful piece brings a sense of peace to this chaotic world. We can only believe that “the best is yet to come,” for this beloved starlet.