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Listen to Kesha’s defiant, roaring comeback album Rainbow

The singer’s third studio album has landed, peppered with her relentless free spirit, a love for outer space and Dolly Parton

Kesha’s highly anticipated third studio album Rainbow is finally here. So far, we’ve had singles like the triumphant “Praying”, “Woman” and the haunting “Hymn”, but the 14-track long release is now available in full.

“This whole album, for me, really is a healing album,” she says. “It’s healing from so many things from my past and just trying to get back to the most childlike, naive, purest version of myself that I can find – the most free-spirited, un-jaded version of myself.” 

The deep personal trauma and intense journey Kesha has been on over the last few years is weaved through the release, shining a light on recovering from her eating disorder, abuse and her lawsuit against Dr. Luke. It also exhibits a powerful, limitless optimism and faith in spirit, peppered with her love for country music and outer space, her bond with her mother (who wrote “Godzilla”), and recording genuine, honest feelings.

Rainbow features an array of collaborators the musician says are from her “wildest of dreams”, including a duet with Dolly Parton, and features from Eagles of Death Metal and Dap-Kings). 

Writing for Refinery29, Kesha details how she wrote the first track, the title song “Rainbow” – a power tune for hope and self-love. After a storm, there’s always a rainbow, she asserts. She details her time spent in rehab for her eating disorder, with only a keyboard for one hour a day to express herself. The title track signifies a new beginning: ridding herself of the dollar sign in her name and the flippant Twitter handle (@keshasuxx) so she could let herself be “100 percent genuine, vulnerable, and honest in my music”.

“There’s a line in ‘Rainbow’ that I really love: ‘What’s left of my heart is still made of gold.’ I truly believe that,” she writes. “It's true for me and it can be true for others, too. I know giant pieces of my heart have been held captive in the past. But not anymore. And what's left is fucking pure gold and no one can touch that.”

Speaking to NPR, she says “Let ‘Em Talk” is one of her favourite tracks on the album, which outlines the release’s major theme: “It's about those same bastards that try to bring you down, but it's about not caring, letting go of control and letting them do whatever they're gonna do,” she says. “You can't stop them from talking about you, so just let them talk and while they're talking about you, just dance through it and laugh about it.”

Prior to the release, the singer opened up with an emotional letter to her 18-year-old self on CBS This Morning’s Note To Self series.

“The bad news is, you nearly killed yourself on the road to success, fueled by fear of failure, crippling anxiety and insecurity,” Kesha writes. “You will become severely bulimic and anorexic and the worse your disease gets, the more praise you will get from some people in your industry.” 

She speaks of the negativity and hate that she’ll face on the internet, her major inspiration Bob Dylan and reflects on dropping out of school to finally have a shot at making it.

The letter concludes: “One day you're gonna write a song called ‘Rainbow’ and you're gonna be really proud of it because there is light and beauty after the storm, no matter how hard things get. 

“You're going to remind yourself to love yourself and if you have truth in your heart, there will always be a rainbow at the end of the storm.”

Listen to Rainbow below.