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Turn up your radios and batten down your mullets, America. Ke$ha is declaring war with the release of her second full-length album! Today, December 4, 2012, the aptly named Warrior hit shelves and digital retailers to the elated squeals of Ke$ha fanatics nationwide. The album marks the artist’s first release of new music in over 2 years since 2010′s Cannibal EP, and the signs of Ke$ha’s new sound are immediately apparent.

It’s no secret that Ke$ha is a fantastic songwriter. She spent much of the last two years writing radio hits made famous by such artists as Britney Spears (“Till the World Ends”) and Big Time Rush (“Windows Down”). She is often, however, criticized for her vocal performance. Her disturbingly infectious rapping (a sound she revived for females long before the appearance of Ms. Minaj on the scene) had many doubting Ke$ha’s chops, but with Warrior she puts her critics to shame. Featuring more singing and less rapping, Ke$ha presents a new side of herself with this record.

Singles “Die Young” and “C’Mon” have already made a splash on the iTunes and Billboard charts and will soon be joined by the other 10 tracks that comprise Warrior. Immediate favorites include “Wherever You Are,” “Only Want to Dance With You,” and “Supernatural.” An intensely magnified view of Warrior reveals its only flaw: much of the record betrays the songwriter in Ke$ha by sounding a bit like other artists of today (namely Katy Perry), but seeing as Dr. Luke is the executive producer of a sizable percentage of all Top 40 music, parallels are bound to occur.

While certain aspects of the record are somewhat tired (like the dubstep breakdown in the title track and the whistling in “Crazy Kids”), other production devices and creative choices yield incredible results. Her inclusion of musical idol (and inspiration for much of the record) Iggy Pop on “Dirty Love” is playful and unique to Ke$ha’s catalogue, and the vocoded/talk box effect that comprises the bridge of “Thinking of You” is unprecedented in modern pop. Overall, the album is fresh (if somewhat retro by design), and ultimately listeners will fall victim to the wonder that is Warrior. Welcome back Ke$ha! Long live the freaks!

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Ke$ha