Review: Ke$ha - Warrior

Find out what we think of Ke$ha's second album

Tue 27 Nov 2012

Find out what we think of Ke$ha's second album

LA girl Ke$ha is known for splitting opinion with her devil-may-care attitude and her party girl image. After the success of her debut album Animal and lead single Tik Tok, there was no doubt as to whether Ke$ha could make an infectious hit. 

However, the self-named "dirty little sister of pop" was keen to prove that she's not all about overproduced auto-tune and can actually sing. She's even gone as far as to describe her album as "cock rock" that will make you pee your pants. We're not sure about that one, but it sounded pretty exciting in principle so we thought we'd have a listen.

Find out whether Ke$ha's finally silenced her critics with our track-by-track review of her second album:

1. Warrior

Ke$ha comes out fighting with her first track Warrior. With its heavy synth sounds and Rihanna-esque breakdowns, this is the perfect party tune for rebellious club kids. Ke$ha also toys with drum & bass and plays with dynamics, showcasing her voice in the chorus to produce a sophisticated upgrade for the start to her second album.

Favourite lyric: "We are the misfits, we are the bad kids"

2. Die Young

What's not to love about this song? With its infectious guitar hook and great beats, it ticks all the boxes. Don't believe us? Watch the dreamy, steamy video here. Enough said.

Favourite lyric: "That magic in your pants is making me blush"

3. C'Mon

Commencing with a series of heart-melting 'ooh' noises, this number has a soft, sunny California feel, which could easily lend itself to a Katy Perry track. It's a cute and wholesome song with a defiant middle eight which will leave you wanting to go wild.

Favourite lyric: "I don't wanna go to sleep/ I wanna stay up all night/ I wanna just screw around"

4. Thinking Of You

This has a surprisingly punk-rock opening with its rhythmic drums, but soon enough Ke$ha goes all pop on us again. There is a guitar solo that witnesses the singer trying to break out of her mould, but by the end this song remains unmistakably pop and proud.

Favourite lyric: I thought I'd call just to let you know I'd been thinking of you"

5. Crazy Kids

At first listen, this sounds like just another Die Young, with its opening guitar riff and live-for-the-moment style lyrics. However Ke$ha changes it up with a little hip-hop on the verses. There's a fair bit of auto-tune by the end of the track, but it's done tastefully enough that it doesn't have that slightly annoying vibe that some Ke$ha songs admittedly possess.

Favourite lyric: "I'm fresher than Gucci/ The boys they want that coochi"

6. Wherever You Are

This song sounds a tad Disney and even Alvin and the Chipmunks in places, especially when combined with its sickly-sweet lyrics. Wherever You Are does recover somewhat after an injection of a Daft Punk-style chorus, but we must admit, it's not our favourite. 

Favourite lyric: "Tangled up in your sheets you saw the real me"

7. Dirty Love

Ke$ha teams up with the legendary Iggy Pop for an all-out rock and roll extravaganza. This track is the first on the album that truly stands out from the rest and sees Ke$ha showcase a rockier tone to her vocals. There's drums, hand-claps and epic refrains, just as the gods of music intended. If there was a musical love-child of Iggy and Ke$ha, this is exactly what it would sound like.

Favourite lyric: "All I need is to get in-between your sheets"

8. Wonderland

Clearly we spoke too soon because this is actually the most shocking and surprising track so far. If we weren't so sure we'd put on a Ke$ha album, we'd swear we were listening to Taylor Swift. It's a real departure for the singer who ditches all synths and beats in favour of a country-style love song which explores the halcyon days of youth. It's a beautiful track that will either leave you thinking she's all grown up or leave you asking 'where the hell is Ke$ha and what have you done with her?'.

Favourite lyric: Everything was simple then/ Living life like it was a last weekend"

9. Only Wanna Dance With You

We're back to pure unadulterated pop with a track which pulls influence from the likes of Grease. The verses are infectious and the chorus is a tiny bit of teeny-bop pop. It may be a little too cheesy for us, but it's made slightly cooler by the fact that it features The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas and drummer Fab Moretti. It's definitely worth a listen but it's not the best the album has to offer.

Favourite lyric: "Since you got a hold on me/ Talking about you in my sleep"

10. Supernatural

Finally we are given a huge track that's destined to be big in the form of Supernatural. It's electric, it's euphoric and it will almost definitely be a hit. However, it goes from David Guetta to Pitbull to JLo in the space of five seconds and often sounds like Ke$ha's trying to stick too many elements into one song. It's either completely genius or a bit of a mess. We think it may actually be the latter, but we imagine it'll be a hit anyway.

Favourite lyric: "Get a little bit raw/ Get a little bit wild/ Get a little bit high off of this love tonight"

11. Beautiful Life

It's another celebratory track that's all about escaping and living while you can. With all this living for the moment, it's a wonder Ke$ha gets anything done! Still, she takes us on an intergalactic journey thanks to some cosmic imagery. With the amount of expletives in this one, however, she might want to consider a radio edit.

Favourite lyric: "Baby all that matters is the beautiful life"

12. Love Into The Light

This track gets off to a great start and sees a more sincere, grown-up Ke$ha create a Portishead-inspired song. It's atmospheric, it's thoughtful and has some seriously epic Genesis-style drums on the pre-chorus. The lyrics are somewhat cheesy and obvious, but the track is pretty sweet.

Favourite lyric: "Maybe it's about the perfect place to let go and forget about the hate"

Deluxe Edition

13. Last Goodbye

A sweet track held by a troupe of female backing singers, a marching band-style beat and more glorious hand-claps. Perfect for stomping around and singing to in your bedroom with your friends. Lovely stuff.

Favourite lyric: "Oh how we lost our minds when we fell in love that night"

14. Trans Am

This is Ke$ha at her most un-apologetically sexual and irreverent. With references to Daisy Dukes and Lynyrd Skynyrd, Trans Am is an ode to all things Americana and Rock 'n' Roll. Ke$ha pulls out all the stops in this down and dirty Sourthern ditty, but maybe don't play this one when grandma comes to visit.

Favourite lyric: "Wham bam thank you mam get inside my f****ing gold Trans Am"

15. Out Alive

Ke$ha gets seriously dancey on her penulimate track, which will make you wish you were partying in Ibiza. This is a clubbers dream and will definitely be a hit with old-school Ke$ha fans.

Favourite lyric: "'Cause no one's getting out alive/ So we might as well give up the fight"

16. Past Lives 

And the award for best lyrics on the entire album goes to Past Lives. It's part Yeah Yeah Yeahs and part Fiest and shows Ke$ha at arguably her most accomplished. With strings and an echoing drumbeat, it's atmospheric, mournful and - wait for it - meaningful. It's a shame this track didn't make the original cut because we think it may be something special.

Favourite lyric: "Maybe you were one of my wives in a past life"

Ke$ha's Warrior combines no nonsense lyrics with teeny-bop pop, a touch of rock and - of course - pure unadulterated dance music. While some tracks see Ke$ha try too hard, others see the star stripped-back and laid bare, silencing her critics with what is actually a very beautiful voice. You'll be hard-pressed to find lyrics in this album that aren't all about falling in love or partying all night, but that's Ke$ha and that's why we love her. 

The one thing that's clear about Ke$ha is that she really embodies pop and dance music. It's just a shame that this genre seems to be so popular at the moment, because it makes her seem less inspired. However, her attempts to mix it up with rock and country are valiant and, in some cases, extremely successful. If Ke$ha wanted to prove she could sing with this album, she's definitely done that. It's just a shame that some of the deluxe tracks, like the excellent Past Lives, didn't make the standard LP. 

All in all this album will keep hardcore Ke$ha fans entertained, and will hopefully win her a few new ones too.

Rating: 3.5/5

Ke$ha - Die Young (Deconstructed)

Ke$ha chats kissing in our exclusive 4Music clip