Making a comeback album can present itself in many ways. With Mariah Carey’s 2005 The Emancipation of Mimi, the singer experienced her first hit record since leaving ex-husband and manager Tommy Motolla, with the record arguably the most impressive of Carey’s incredible career.
When the Foo Fighters debuted their new line up in 1995, critics and fans were skeptical that drummer-turned-singer Dave Grohl would be able to make it as a star without his former Nirvana bandmate, the late Kurt Cobain.
With singer Kesha, the popstar has been embroiled in a nasty court battle with producer and mentor Dr. Luke for years, with Kesha alleging the label head was both sexually and emotionally abusive.
In all three cases, the artist’s success was often seen as dependent on the help they received from the men either on stage with them or in the recording booth. And in all three cases, these artists produced ‘comeback’ albums that proved this was not the case.
Just last week, Kesha was finally able to release her comeback single “Praying,” stunning listeners with her incredible vocal and emotional range. Out of the years of pain and torment Kesha endured, the singer has been able to find the silver lining in creating the most accomplished and exciting music of her career.
While last week’s single “Praying” provided a cathartic release for Kesha, today’s new track “Woman” is a joyful and bravado-filled anthem signaling the singer’s purposeful reclaiming of her life after the traumatic events of the past few years. She’s a motherfucking woman and proud of it.
“Woman” features one of the exciting collaborations promised for Kesha’s upcoming album Rainbow, out August 11. The new album will feature guest appearances from Dolly Parton, Eagles of Death Metal, and The Dap-Kings Horns, which in the words of Kesha, give her new single “Woman” its ‘special sauce.’ We would have to agree.
The video for “Woman” was shot at the Oddity Bar in Delaware while Kesha was on tour with her band, The Creepies, who appear in the video along with Dap-Kings backup singer Saundra Williams. Kesha co-directed the video with her brother Lagan Sebert, who previously directed an MTV documentary on his sister.
Looking and sounding empowered and excited about life, Kesha dances around an empty bar and sings “Don’t buy me a drink, I make my money / Don’t touch my weave, don’t call me “honey” / ‘Cause I run my shit, baby.”
Possibly the most telling part of the song isn’t about Kesha paying her own bills, bills, bills, but the line “I write my shit,” possibly a final finger in the air to Dr. Luke.
In addition to releasing the video today, Kesha also penned an essay about “Woman” and Rainbow on Rolling Stone:
“I realized that for most of my life I was intimidated to even try and run in the leagues of the people I look up to. With “Woman,” I hope my fans will hear that wild spirit still strong inside me but this time it was created more raw, spontaneously and with all live instrumentation, which I found was a huge reason I loved the records I did love,” writes Kesha. “There were one or two or 12 different people playing real instruments together, and all that real human energy is exciting and very fun to listen to. I wanted this song to capture that organic, raw, soulful sound and keep the imperfect moments in the recordings because I find the magic in the imperfections.”
Kesha goes on to say that even though she was legally barred from releasing music because of her lawsuit against Dr. Luke, performing live empowered her to write the album she wanted to when the time arrived. She writes:
“A huge turning point for me was my recent tour with my band, The Creepies. On that tour, we did away with many of the big pop gimmicks: no dancers, no screens, no backing vocalists, no backing tracks – it was just my band and I letting it all out onstage. Even though I didn’t have new music out in the world I was sick of waiting around, and I had a lot of raw crazy energy and wanted to reconnect with my fans. It was a sink-or-swim situation – it was either me sing my ass off or sound like shit, because it was just me singing. No safety net, nothing to help out or distract from anything if I hit a fucked up note. It put the pressure on me in a good way. I had to rise to the occasion and take control of my voice and in the process I gained a lot of confidence in my vocal ability I’ve never had before. When I went back to finish recording “Rainbow,” I had a whole new confidence in my voice because I had just gone on an entire tour and carried the whole thing with that voice.”
Kesha’s third studio album Rainbow will be available August 11.
To me the thing I’m most proud of is that the song never lost the pure joy from the day it was birthed. I really hope people enjoy this song and this video because I had the best time making it. I hope that energy passes through people and the fun is infectious. It’s important for me that people know that there are a lot of emotions on my new album ‘Rainbow’ – but the wild fun energy that first inspired me to perform has not, and will never, go away. I’m still a motherfuckerrr. Video Link in Bio