tortuga court: defending ke$ha

She’s obnoxious, vulgar, nasally. Her accompanying beats are sometimes jarring and cringe-worthy. The words she sings, raps, autotunes and says with a synthesizer in the background are not the largest in the dictionary. She’s in your face, wears metal on her face, loves glitter and wearing body paint. Her music is blasted in clubs and the cars of girls “going out for girl’s night!” She is Ke$ha. And I can’t get enough of her.

Let me get this out right now before you get much farther than either rolling your eyes or nodding in obsessive agreement: as she is, she is not a great musician. Her songs cannot be compared to (or maybe even uttered in the same sentence with) those of lyrical geniuses Tupac and Eminem, queen of hitting the high notes Mariah Carey, guitar hero Jimi Hendrix or even pop/country princess Taylor Swift.

What Ke$ha is great at is making anthems for every young woman who’s ever gone out drinking and prowling for guys. (Umm, hello.) By the way, I have to love her for this quote from an interview with Glamour magazine:

Ke$ha, Glamour Magazine, February 2012

So anyway, at the start of this post, her college party attitude was really my only defense for her. However, after doing research (as every decent blogger should do) I’ve come up with several pros for my list for Ke$ha. So in case you’re not convinced yet, allow me to provide six more reasons for you to suck it up and admit (even if it’s secretly) that you kinda sorta like her too.

6 reasons to unhate Ke$ha:

  1. She loves animals. ┬áKe$ha was named Humane Society’s first global ambassador for animals in 2011 and took the title of Street Dog Defender because she has a soft spot for stray canines. (She once found two dogs literally superglued together). She is also designing an animal-friendly jewelry/fake-fur line.
  2. She’s straight up. She has openly stated that parents should not let their kids listen to her music if they are offended by it because “I wrote those songs for me.”
  3. She might have a beard fetish. Her official Tumblr account is called Put Your Beard in My Mouth. The blog displays page after page of fan photo submissions of guys with hairy faces, crazy mustaches and even images of herself with beards in her mouth.
  4. She really actually works hard. She cowrote every song on her first two albums, Animal and Cannibal. She also wrote “Till the World Ends,” the hit single performed by the queen of pop, Miss Britney Spears.
  5. She’s influenced by the Beastie Boys. Her white-girl-rap-heavy first single, “Tik Tok,” was inspired by the group’s rap style. That song topped the charts in 11 countries.
  6. She has ambition. Ke$ha has stated her next album will be rock and roll. She wants to capture the true essence of rock and roll, adding that it’s “just irreverence and sexiness and fun and not giving a f—.”

After thinking aloud in this very chilly Starbucks about how Ke$ha can be so terrible, yet so amazing at the same time, I think I have made up my mind. The stuff she’s put out up until now has been some of the worst, superficial, trashiest music I’ve probably ever heard (yeah, I said it). BUT I don’t think pop/electronic music is her thing. It matches her “I don’t give a whaaaat” attitude but I think she has more potential than it allows her to put to use. Perhaps her rock album will be better. If you give “The Harold Song” a listen, you’ll discover emotional, sentimental lyrics that anyone who’s ever been through a break up can relate to. The pounding beat leads up to a belted chorus free of any autotuning. It’s not much, but I’m betting it’s the tip of the iceberg.

Ke$ha has the potential to appeal to a much larger audience. With the right combination of rhythm and vocals, critics could be eating previous words like “unsophisticated” and “manufactured.” After all, she is but a 24 year old woman, just making music that she calls “a celebration of youth and life and going out and getting crazy.” As her peer, I completely understand. And that is why I keep her CD in my car and hold higher hopes for her in the future.

4 weird facts about Ke$ha:

  1. She recently posted photos of herself with studs she paid to have glued to her scalp on the left side of her head.
  2. To view her site Kesha’s Family (launched in 2011), you have to pay to become a member, or “get converted” or “become a missionary” which means you also get a t-shirt, necklace and a “baptism certificate.”
  3. She once bribed her way into Prince’s mansion in Beverly Hills where she snuck into one of his jam sessions and left her demo CD wrapped in a huge purple bow before being kicked out by security. She never heard from him.
  4. In two years, she’s been nominated for at least 34 awards including People’s Choice Awards, MTV VMAs, American Music Awards and PETA Libby Awards. She won seven times.

Finally, I’ll leave you with some stats:

Total # of songs in my iTunes by Ke$ha: 20

Most listened to: There’s a tie. “We R Who We R” (my favorite) and “Take It Off” (which reminds me of Mastry’s bar in downtown St. Petersburg).

I heard Ke$ha for the first time going out for my 20th birthday in Gainesville. I thought “Tik Tok” was exactly the kind of song girls in the world needed.