Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Best Albums of 2012: Warrior

Best Albums of 2012

Song: Only Wanna Dance With You
Artist: Ke$ha
Album: Warrior

This surprises even me.

While I've certainly enjoyed Ke$ha in the past I didn't expect her to write the best dance-pop record of 2012.  But she did.  And not only is it wildly consistant, goofy fun, and catchy as hell... it hints at greater depth of her as an artist (stay with me!) and shows there could be a lot of musical/songwriting growth in the future.  If you loathe her... well, the record isn't going to change your mind, but if you like her even a bit, this record will have a lot of highlights for you, it's the best thing she's done yet.

Things you need to know about Ke$ha and/or "Warrior":

   -Ke$ha wrote/co-wrote every song on the album
   -Her inspiration for the album was Iggy Pop's "The Idiot"
   -It's completely produced/overseen by Dr. Luke who had a heavy hand in "Teenage Dream" and "Femme Fetale"
   -The album is a bit vulgar, but also comes in a kid-friendly edit that's pretty good
   -The four "bonus tracks" are as good as anything on the album
   -She wrote with Iggy Pop (who appears), The Strokes, Ben Folds, and Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips
   -There is also a five-track acoustic EP called "Deconstruction" that's available which includes acoustic versions of hits such as "Blow" and the first single "Die Young"
  -On the EP she covers the Dolly Parton classic "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You," which incidentally was written in 1978 by Patricia Rose Sebert... Ke$ha's Mom

The thing to stress here is consistency   As much as I liked portions of her debut, I found it to be wildly spotty, and at points embarrassing.  But that's not the case with "Warrior," which doesn't have a bum track on it.  First single "Die Young" is K-dolla at her most catchy, and while the single died due to the Newtown incident and its subsequent banning on radio, I have high hopes for the equally melodic, fun, and Ke$h-tastic second single "C'mon."

She flirts with some rock guitar on "Dirty Love," "Only Wanna Dance With You," and the sleazy "Gold Trans AM," but fans of her more dancy material will love "Thinking of You," "Supernatural," "All That Matters," and "Out Alive."

That hint of greater depth I mentioned can be found in the pretty "Wonderland," the "In the Air Tonight"-biting electro-ballad closer "Love Into the Night," which has a spacy-epic quality to it, and bonus track "Past Lives," which points toward a Ke$ha folk-tronica album in the future.  It's rather beautiful.

The album is actually so good that I'm having trouble picking another track to highlight.  You really should hear them all.  But I'll settle with the Strokes collab "Only Wanna Dance With You," which sounds exactly what you think a Strokes/Ke$ha song would sound like.  Very fun.

While I didn't do this with Nicki as I mentioned in the "Stupid Hoe" post, I did reconfigure the tracklist of "Warrior" for when I listen to it.  Not because there was a bunch that I didn't like, or even thought the sequencing was wrong... more so because the four bonus tracks are so good, tacking them onto the end as they are in retail versions didn't seem right.  I liked the way that "Born This Way" handled the bonus tracks, working them into the standard tracklist, so after trying a few different things I came up with what I think works rather well.  Listen below:

You can also throw the "Deconstruction" EP at the end if you're inclined, which I did.  It's not on Spotify, so you're gonna have to manage that one on your own.


Only Wanna Dance With You
Thinking of You
Past Lives

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