Just when it seemed 2009’s trash-brat electro scene (3OH!3, LMFAO, Shwayze) was about crumble under its own weight, rapper/singer/songwriter Ke$ha became the genre’s biggest star, graduating from being Flo Rida’s backup singer (she provided the hook on the rapper’s massive single “Right Round”) to superstar when her debut single, “TiK ToK,” set a digital sales record with over 600,000 downloads in a week. Her climb to the top includes bizarre factoids like she once lived in the house where the Eagles recorded Hotel California, plus she once vomited in Paris Hilton’s closet. Working on Hilton's album was the reason she was at the house, so it’s hard not to appreciate how Animal makes Ke$ha sound nothing like an industry vet who used to write for the Veronicas.
Rarely does an album as contrived as this debut by Ke$ha come along. The 22-year-old behind that ubiquitous radio rap-pop song TiK ToK has released a signpost to mark the end of the era when places like Circa were cool. [rssbreak] TiK ToK, with its rubbery Uffie-like rapping, is not representative of the record. On most of these 14 tracks, Ke$ha intersperses rapping with Avrilesque, angsty vocals.
Like it or not the pop world in 2010 is in a state of post-GaGa flux. Such was the industry’s need to react to the high camp of ‘Poker Face’ and the like that evolution even began to show in the latter parts of last year with pop starlets adorning themselves in increasingly outlandish costumes and Euro synth Pop becoming the sound du jour. From Cascada through to Rihanna the effect was palpable.
Ke$ha Herbert is the 22-year-old Nashville-born daughter of a woman who penned hits for Dolly Parton and has apparently tried her hand at gospel and country before writing for Miley Cyrus and singing backing vocals for, er, Paris Hilton. It's hard to discern much of this back story in Ke$ha's debut, in which she comes over as an amalgam of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Britney, which, judging by the multimillion sales of single Tik Tok, is just what the market wants. Producers Max Martin and Dr Luke's huge processed beats and squeaky sound recalls Linda Perry's work with Pink, while Ke$ha sings about every other teenage girl's dream: non-stop partying with no pants on, brushing her teeth in Jack Daniel's and shouting "Dinosaur!" at predatory old men.
”Take It Off,” ”Hungover,” ”Party at a Rich Dude?s House”: In a dance-pop scene with no use for subtlety, Ke$ha may be the most brazen of all. Fortunately, she’s got ”I Kissed a Girl” producer Dr. Luke, who featured her on Flo Rida’s ”Right Round” and worked with her on the hit ”TiK ToK” off of her album Animal. Here he frames her Valley Girl sneer with electro-glam arrangements that make brushing one’s teeth ”with a bottle of Jack” sound like an awesome way to kill the morning-after blues.
Sick Scenes finds Los Campesinos! raging against the passage of time and all it entails. But while the band is getting older, it's ferocious energy, earworm melodies and crackerjack lyrics are as fresh as ever. The debut studio album by British grime MC Stormzy gives a voice to both the street and religious sides of his life. He is not the best pound-for-pound spitter, but he is certainly climbing the ladder and getting close.