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Kesha Doesn't Need Dr. Luke and She's About to Have the First-Week Numbers to Prove It


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Britney name drop and all: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7905163/kesha-rainbow-dr-luke-first-week-sales-numbers




Kesha Doesn't Need Dr. Luke and She's About to Have the First-Week Numbers to Prove It

Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Kesha performs on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Aug. 10, 2017.

It's hard to imagine anyone successfully controlling Kesha Sebert. As an artist and as a human being, Kesha has never once appeared as someone who bites her tongue, much less someone who allows someone else to bite it for her.


She’s proclaimed her love for fat men, ensnared a 65-year-old Iggy Pop (who’s hardly a Carlos Santana-type figure) for her second album of teen-pop, beheaded James Van Der Beek in an absurdist video, and followed up her No. 1 debut with an EP that began with a demand for the listener’s liver on a platter. She drank her own urine on MTV, for chrissake.


In fact, Dr. Luke -- currently engaged with his former pop protege in one of the ugliest sagas in music history, even by the usual standards of institutional misogyny -- was just about the only conventional thing about Kesha, roping her absurd exclamations about brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack into automatic Songs of the Summer, using the same basic synth and Auto-Tune tools he employed for Katy Perry. “TiK ToK,” “Your Love Is My Drug,” “C’Mon,” and the especially heavenly “We R Who We R” were all effective slam dunks on the pop charts, strongly sung with near-robotic hooks that were somehow transcended by Kesha’s untamable personality. “Die Young” added some guitar during a fleeting moment in 2012 when chords mattered again, but overall these were cut from the same cloth.



And it was the songs that weren’t hits on Kesha's albums that most pointed the way to her enjoying a long career: the surprisingly class-conscious rock of “Party at a Rich Dude’s House,” the inverted trap stomp of “Sleazy,” the bizarro, ad-lib-heavy stalker valentine “Stephen.” Plus, Kesha got her own name on the credits of “’Til the World Ends,” one of the most agreed-upon Britney Spears classics of the last decade. Of course, so did Dr. Luke. But how much do you think he had to do with 2012’s glam-metal paradise “Gold Trans Am,” which wasn’t even allowed a starring role on Warrior proper, or the swinging Iggy Pop duet “Dirty Love,” that has nothing to do with Gottwald’s four-on-the-floor conservatism?


So after those abuse allegations reared their ugly head, with Kesha still bound to a contract that forces her inspiring third album Rainbow to be released on her alleged abuser’s own Kemosabe imprint, Dr. Luke will collect a bunch of the profits when it very likely goes to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart next week. And he can’t sue for a damn thing, no matter how much she addresses him unnamed in the astonishing “Praying" -- unquestionably the most powerful song Ryan Lewis has ever had anything to do with. He’ll never be able to get the stink of it off of his winnings, which sure looks like a hard-won victory for Kesha.


But adding insult to Gottwald's injury is the fact Kesha’s comeback rises to the occasion without resorting to anything that resembles her old work. The man who barred her and the Flaming Lips from releasing the fabled LipSha disc now has to concede that “Let 'Em Talk,” and “Boogie Feet,” two furiously rocking Eagles of Death Metal collaborations -- along with two country songs (not just a token track to fill out some garden-variety pop scorecard), several gospel-inflected ballads worthy of Elton John, and a feminist Dap-Kings single that features the star cracking up halfway through the second verse — comprise what is projected to be her second No. 1 album. There is very little audible Auto-Tune or EDM synths on Rainbow, and even the guitars employed are hardly the brickwalled, quantized four chords of past Dr. Luke hits like Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You.”


What wasn’t a number-one record, by the way, was Warrior, the fraught 2012 sophomore not-quite-slump burdened by “Die Young,” a single that Kesha claimed to not even want to record, and apologized for profusely in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. It had about five very good songs, but even those were marred by lyrics and concepts that felt held back, perhaps by a controlling executive producer. And its last four songs were total snoozers, a shock from an artist whose backup dancers once dressed as giant penises onstage. It peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and sold 85,000 in its first week, whereas Rainbow -- encumbered by nothing -- is projected to reach the chart summit, with 100,000 to 120,000 equivalent album units currently estimated.



Perhaps even without the heart-rending trajectory, audiences noticed that Rainbow -- which in spirit, isn’t that far away from Kesha’s past work -- amps up the human element. Even if platitudes like “don’t let the bastards get you down” are old hat, the rebellions are her own, not some cynical “Die Young” brand she’s supposed to uphold well into her 30s, which is when Dr. Luke’s binding six-album contract for her would supposedly expire. She and her mom even produce a track themselves, somewhat unheard of for pop stars in 2017. Kesha self-funded the albumaccording to both her and Sony, though as for content, she’s still unable to say more publically than threatening “And we both know the truth I could tell” in “Praying" -- a burn notice of a first single that Dr. Luke contractually had to have approved, according to any legal wisdom we’re privy to.


Whether Luke likes it or not, the message got across anyway. He may own publishing rights to these songs legally, but the world knows his time controlling Kesha is limited to bank statements and ill-advised lawsuits (Dr. Luke recently subpoenaed Lady Gaga for “corroborating” text messages that are so filled with redactions they mean nothing to no one). She owns Rainbow, all the success that comes with it — including artistically, as it's very likely her best (and certainly her most universally acclaimed) album to date — and all reports indicate she did it herself. Sure, Dr. Luke probably gets money from it. But should her former producer throw a party at a rich dude’s house, it’s looking to be emptier with each passing year.

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1 minute ago, I_need_me said:

She's not only a survivor but also a winner and I couldn't be happier for her! 

Same here, truly. I can't imagine how bad everything was for her in these past few years so seeing her bounce back is incredible and inspiring - kind of like our fave haha. I wish Dr. Luke would leave her the hell alone, but oh well. At least she's getting that number 1 spot and proving she doesn't have to sing about drugs and drinking and dying to do it.

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I just don't know how to express how happy I am. I've been following Kesha since Tik Tok and I honestly can't believe how much she's evolved through the years. To think I've been a fan for way longer than I've been a Britney fan is amazing by itself.

As a fan, it hurt me too badly to find out about her situation with Luke and I can't hold my happiness knowing she managed to get through it. She's growing as an artist and as a person and I can have nothing but mad respect towards her. She truly is an inspiration.

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17 hours ago, Turn Ya Head said:

I just don't know how to express how happy I am. I've been following Kesha since Tik Tok and I honestly can't believe how much she's evolved through the years. To think I've been a fan for way longer than I've been a Britney fan is amazing by itself.

As a fan, it hurt me too badly to find out about her situation with Luke and I can't hold my happiness knowing she managed to get through it. She's growing as an artist and as a person and I can have nothing but mad respect towards her. She truly is an inspiration.

??????I've always liked her, but wouldn't have called myself an Animal. Her fight against Dr. Luke made me really root for her as did hearing her non-"I'm drunk af" songs. I mean, I love Tik Tok, Sleazy, Blow, Take It Off, etc., but Harold's Song was always one of my favorites by her. Shows she can do so much more and THIS album is shaping up to be AMAZING. Dr. Luke is an ass, but I will say we're going to get a great album as she sings her heart out about all that shit. You can hear how therapeutic she sounds/feels, especially on Praying. Love her and definitely rooting for her. FUCK IT UP KESHA

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UPDATE: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/7934190/kesha-rainbow-debut-billboard-200-albums-chart


Kesha's 'Rainbow' Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart


Kesha claims her second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as her new effort, Rainbow, bows atop the list. The set, which was released on Aug. 11 through Kemosabe/RCA Records, earned 117,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Aug. 17, according to Nielsen Music.


Of that sum, 90,000 were in traditional album sales. Rainbow scores the second-largest week for an album by a woman in 2017 in terms of both units and sales. Only Katy Perry's Witness logged a bigger frame among women, when it launched with 180,000 units and 162,000 in sales (July 1).


[Editor's note: Rainbow's unit total and sales figure were updated on Aug. 21 -- from 116,000 to 117,000 and 89,000 to 90,000, respectively.]


The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Sept. 2-dated chart (where Rainbow debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard's websites on Tuesday (Aug. 22).


Rainbow's sales bow of 90,000 was aided in part by a concert ticket/album bundle sale redemption promotion with Kesha's upcoming tour. Other chart-topping albums that have benefited from such an offer this year include Arcade Fire's Everything Now, Linkin Park's One More Light, The ChainsmokersMemories… Do Not Open and Perry's Witness.



Rainbow marks Kesha's fifth charting title overall, and first since 2012, when her last studio set, Warrior, debuted and peaked at No. 6. (The long delay between album projects is owed to her legal battle with producer Dr. Luke.) Prior to Warrior, she logged entries with the remix album I Am the Dance Commander + I Command You to Dance (No. 26 in 2011), Cannibal (No. 15; 2010) and her debut album, Animal, which opened at No. 1 in January of 2010.  


While Kesha waited a rather lengthy seven years, seven months and 10 days between weeks at No. 1, she isn't the only act that returned to No. 1 recently after a long vacation from the top: Last year, Metallica debuted at No. 1 with Hardwired… To Self-Destruct on the Dec. 10, 2016-dated chart -- its first leader since 2008's Death Magnetic spent its third and final week at No. 1 on the Oct. 11, 2008 chart (a gap of eight years, one month and 29 days).


The gap between weeks at No. 1 for Kesha is actually the longest for a woman since 2009: Barbra Streisand waited 11 years, 10 months and 18 days between her one-week visits at No. 1 with Higher Ground (Nov. 29, 1997) and Love Is the Answer(Oct. 17, 2009). (A more recent chart-topper almost matched Kesha's long gap – Janet Jackson's 2015 album, Unbreakable. It topped the chart on Oct. 24, 2015 -- seven years, seven months and nine days after Discipline had its one week at No. 1 on March 15, 2008.


At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200 is Kendrick Lamar's DAMN., which falls 1-2 (43,000 units; down 7 percent) after collecting its fourth nonconsecutive week at No. 1.

DJ Khaled's former leader, Grateful, holds steady at No. 3 with 34,000 units (up 8 percent).


R&B singer Khalid hits a new high on the Billboard 200, as his debut album, American Teen, jumps 10-4 (32,000 units; up 17 percent -- its third consecutive weekly gain). The set debuted on the list six months ago at No. 9 and has ranked within the top 25 every week. American Teen is up in album sales (6,000; 107 percent), TEA units (4,000; up 43 percent) and SEA units (22,000; up 3 percent).


Rapper Moneybagg Yo starts stronger than expected, as his new release, Federal 3X, bows at No. 5 with 30,000 units (14,000 in traditional album sales). Industry forecasters had earlier suggested the album (on N-Less/Interscope Records -- his first release via Interscope) was aiming to debut with between 15,000 and 20,000 units. It's the first top 10 effort for the artist, who has already logged a pair of entries in 2017: 2 Federal (with Yo Gotti, No. 97) and Heartless (No. 177).


Ed Sheeran's former No. 1 ÷ (Divide) climbs 7-6 with 28,000 units (down 2 percent), SZA's Ctrl rises 9-7 with 27,000 units (up 1 percent) and 21 Savage's Issa Albumsslips 6-8 with a little more than 26,000 units (down 9 percent). Imagine DragonsEvolve falls 8-9 with 26,000 units (down 6 percent), and Bruno Mars 24K Magic jumps back into the top 10, rising 12-10 with 25,000 units (up 1 percent).

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