As with most things Ke$ha does, Warrior is a statement of intent. And that intent seems to be the intent to party. And maybe to playfight a little. And then to continue partying, until night turns into day and back again. She nails her colours firmly to the mast in 'C'Mon,' where she states, quite clearly, "I wanna stay up all night / I wanna just screw around / I don't wanna think about what's gonna be after this / I wanna just live right now." Ke$ha's preaching nihilism, within the confines of modern pop music. And modern pop music's confines state that in order to be a successful female pop star, you either have to be bonkers or beautiful. Or both. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why she has a dollar sign in her name.
There's no one quite like Ke$ha out there, you see. She might not quite have the gravitational pull of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry or Rihanna just yet but listening to an entire album's worth of Ke$ha's material is a gazillion times more enriching than doing the same with any of her apparent peers. She doesn't waste her time peppering her music with constant self-conscious cultural references, a la Lady Gaga. Nor is she a victim of the kind of super-slick PR machinery that holds together the pop construct that we call Rihanna. Ke$ha shows little sign of restraint on Warrior and that's precisely what makes it such an entertaining listen. And it's a genuine lack of restraint, too, not the kind of tongue-in-cheek "ooh, look at me being dead naughty" lack of restraint that Katy Perry touts, either.
Talking of Perry, there's a moment at the start of the opening track ('Warrior') in which Ke$ha's vocals seem to be mimicking the Teenage Dream singer. Thankfully, any moments of imitation seem to be fleeting and incidental (or, if they're deliberate, then brief enough to make the point that she needn't rely on someone else's style to carry her through). Like the moment on 'C'Mon' when she goes all Nicki Minaj, before quickly bringing it all back home to the House of Ke$ha.
The 25 year-old, who came to us via California and Nashville, has styled herself as some kind of pied piper of abandonment, intent on throwing caution to the wind and flinging yours and everyone else's with it, in the process. A case in point: her latest single 'Die Young.' She's having a hefty dose of reckless fun and wants everyone else to, too. Like with 'Crazy Kids,' (complete with standard lyric "we don't give a f*ck") she's more interested in forming a gang and causing chaos than she is in sharing moments of introspection with you. Even her love songs ('Thinking of You') are, on the whole, a hi-energy pounding slice of musical adrenalin, iced with her trademark slow rap; like having an exuberant puppy yapping your heels, 24/7.
Admittedly, her incessant incessant-ness can get a little wearisome at times and 'Wonderland' drops at just the right time. Proof that she CAN do down-tempo love songs. And she CAN sing soft and nice. If she really has to. Just so long as she can still sing about drive-by shootings and stuff. But it's more fun to do the chart-club-crazy pop thing, right? Right. In fact, the jewel in the crown of Warrior is neither a club banger or a soft ballad, but her duet with Iggy Pop, 'Dirty Love.' A perfect mix of B-movie 60's garage rock and blockbuster pop. Super successful combination! A high-octane mixture of both artists that ACTUALLY WORKS and sounds like they were destined to be holed up in a recording studio together. You can even forgive the age difference when Ke$ha screams "I just want your f*cking filthy dirty love." Yeah. It's that good. The stars align and alchemy's at play here. And yes, we KNOW she thinks she had sex with a ghost. We'll forgive that too. Because bonkers = $$$$$.