On Ke$ha’s second full-length, the pop star-lightning rod has again enlisted the aid of multiple producers and songwriters per track in a Hollywood script-doctor approach to music that’s either the death knell of “authenticity” or business as usual, depending on your cultural exasperation level.
In some cases it doesn’t work; the title track sounds like three separate songs grafted together: an up-tempo rapped verse laid over a tautly wound bass line slams into an ascendant, slower chorus and a dub-step diversion. Perhaps that’s the hydralike production work of hit-makers Dr. Luke, Cirkut, and Max Martin in action? Fellow kingmaker Benny Blanco joins the crowded creative conference call on first single “Die Young” to much better results. There’s still a somewhat distended feel to the progression between parts here — a strummed acoustic verse arrives at an electro-house chorus — but it’s a more seamless blend.
Even the less crossover single-focused tracks, like “Crazy Kids” — part dirty South hip-hop influence, part straight-mall pop — insist on darting between genres with speed-bump transitions. The standout Strokes collaboration “Only Wanna Dance With You” is an utterly glorious exception.
Too many cooks in the kitchen notwithstanding, it amounts to 12 songs here with some 40 perfectly crafted hooks. (Out now)
ESSENTIAL “Only Wanna Dance With You”