Album review: Ke$ha's 'Animal' aims straight for the party girls
Listen up party girls for whom throwing up in the closet and waking up on the front lawn are merely signs of a night well spent: We have the perfect role model for you.
But then again, you probably knew that already since more than 2 million of you have downloaded Ke$ha’s first single, “Tik Tok,” or loved her as the female voice on Flo Rida’s remake of “Right Round.”
With her slatternly come-ons and complete array of every tired trope imaginable from the backstabbing girl to the cheating boy, Ke$ha has created the perfect album for community college dropouts in dead-end jobs who live to go clubbing on the weekend and aspire to be Snooki from “Jersey Shore.” Ke$ha calls it electro-pop, but it’s really just mindless pop you can dance to, thanks to some slick production work by Dr. Luke and Max Martin. Most of it is delivered in her tough, Fergie wanna-be, spoken style.
Living for the weekend—and all its excesses—has long been exalted in song, but it’s hard to recall someone who has captured it with the single-minded, totally committed, trashy brio displayed on “Animal.” There’s no subtlety here. There’s none of the cleverness of a Lady GaGa (although Ke$ha rips her off every chance she gets), the adorableness of a Katy Perry or even the insouciant charm of a Britney Spears. Instead there’s hit-you-with-a-sledgehammer, let’s-get- drunk-and-screw-with-the-bad-boys songs where the only thing to look forward to is doing it again the next weekend. On the first few listens, it’s all harmless, PG-13 fun. After the fifth listen, it just seems sad and empty. Not that any of Ke$ha’s fans are likely to give it that much deep thought.
In fact, thinking too much is what gets Ke$ha, who co-wrote the songs here, in trouble. She’s fine wading in the shallow end with bouncy tunes like the literal “Take It Off,” toe-tapping “Backstabber” and even playing the aforementioned puking party girl in “Party at a Rich Dude’s House” (although “Blah, Blah, Blah” with a slumming 3oh!3 is just wretched). It’s when she tries, unconvincingly, to show that although she may like to party, she’s sensitive and vulnerable on tracks like “Hungover” and “Animal” that the album veers wildly off track. Honey, the minute you put a dollar sign in your name, you forfeited the right to any hopes of being taken seriously. Stick with the party anthems and on crafting such fine lyrics as “Want to dance with no pants on? Holla!”
“Animal” is perfect for getting your groove on (and for licensing: the music supervisor for “Sex and the City 2” should grab “Boots & Boys” right now), but like most of the drunken nightclub crawlers at closing time, you don’t really want to bring Ke$ha home with you.