A few years ago, the words “Kesha” and “piano ballad” wouldn’t have made sense in the same sentence. And yet, Praying is making a bold statement for being just that. After a toxic relationship with her record label and a highly publicized sexual assault case against Doctor Luke, Kesha is digging deep into her struggles to offer up this triumphant rebirth.
Gone are the dance beats and autotuned sing-talking. In their place are intimate and a surprising display of nuanced vocals. Her delivery is heart-felt and chilling; starting at a low rasp that gives the song’s deeply personal lyrics a sense of raw honesty. As it builds, her voice grows stronger than most thought possible for Kesha, exuding rawness and passion. And that high note that comes in the song’s climax? Unforgettable.
Dropping the dollar sign from her name seems to have signaled an artistic evolution. Aside from neon colored makeup and wild outfits in the music video, the girl we saw in Tik-Tok is practically gone. In her place is a mature artist that has been hardened by her hardships. I don’t know if this will continue through her future releases, but for now, Praying is a bold step forward for Kesha.
Final Score: A