High Road is the second album Kesha has released since her legal battle with Sony back in 2016. This album has a good balance between more energetic songs like Kinky that are slightly reminiscent of some of her earlier work – but with more maturity to them – and songs like Father Daughter Dance that show the more vulnerable side of her character.
Whatever the song, it seems like a cathartic release, where Kesha unleashes her full creative potential using different mediums, genres and instruments, for example in The Potato Song, where the main melody is played by an accordion, appropriating a more traditional folk instrument and mixing it with more modern and empowering lyrics to create something wholly unique . It is these songs that are a little different – whether it is a song using potatoes as a focal point or the stream of consciousness that it is Cowboy Blues – where Kesha’s true musical genius comes to light.
The overarching theme of the album seems to be variations of freedom and extreme euphoria of simply having the ability to do or create whatever the singer wants, whilst simultaneously flipping off those who have constrained her before. The album starts off with Tonight that initially reminded me of Tick Tock but was so much more – a party anthem with a twist – and ends with Chasing Thunder, a hopeful and fun country tune that looks to the future. The titular song, High Roads sets the tone for the overall album, playing with the listener’s expectations, with each component of the song managing to be so completely different, yet melding together to create the most eloquent and innovative ‘screw you’ that I’ve ever heard.
This is an extremely fun, cheeky, honest, hopeful and emotional album ; frankly it’s a roller–coaster. It’s hard to describe each song separately because there is so much complexity to them that words cannot fully describe the feelings you get when listening to them, and just how amazing it is to listen to them. This album is truly a testament to Kesha as a singer and song – writer, as her creative, vocal and emotional range is truly explored and stretched to create this beautiful work of art.
[Katerina Partolina Schwartz – she/her]