Thanks to an excruciatingly long legal battle and pop mega-producer Dr. Luke being a truly terrible human being, it’s been five years since Kesha has put out a new album. But all be damned if she isn’t making up for lost time and doing everything possible to own the current moment. “Hymn” is perhaps the best bid at firmly re-establishing herself yet and one of the most moving thing the pop singer’s done. She calls it a “dreamers’ anthem” and while it has that particular strain of optimism, it’s impossible not to hear the song and think of it in terms of Kesha’ past half-decade. There’s of course her line about “everything we’ve been through,” over the muted synth lines and mechanical finger snaps but also the bit about knowing she’s perfect “even if I’m fucked up.” On paper it’s easy to dismiss such sentiments as trite or a tad too saccharine but it’s another story entirely when you hear her “hymn for the hymnless.” A great minor-key pop song can lift someone up or reduce a person to a blubbering puddle, Kesha’s “Hymn” has the power to both.
Kesha’s Rainbow drops August 11. You can read her essay about “Hymn” here.