I would honestly say that the lowest point of my college partying career was when I started taking Ke$ha lyrics seriously. I’m not saying I was just a Ke$ha fan. I’m not saying I really loved her music. I’m not even saying I merely went to her concerts (which I actually did, and they’re as much of a shitshow as you might imagine). I’m saying that I treated Ke$ha lyrics like GOSPEL. I actually took them to heart–the woman spoke to me in a way that had never resonated with another musician or individual before in my life (other than Yoncé, praise be unto her). But if Yoncé is the divine deity of fierceness, Ke$ha was her prophet, albeit a drunken, stumbling hot mess of a prophet, and I was her acolyte.
My obsession, probably much like yours, began with “Tik Tok.”
Like you, I asked all the same questions: “Who the hell is this girl?” “Is she the girl who sang the hook on that Flo Rida song?” “Could she be Taylor Swift’s drunk alter ego?” “When do you think she last took a shower?”
And the song started out dumb. How does one feel like P.Diddy? Jack is probably not the best substitute for Listerine and flossing. But then I heard the lyrics that changed my life forever: “Don’t stop, make it pop / DJ, blow my speakers up / Tonight, Imma fight / ‘Til we see the sunlight. / TiK ToK, on the clock / But the party don’t stop no /Whoa-oh oh oh / Whoa-oh oh oh.”
It was more than just a bunch of mindless, random lyrics like, “shama lama ding dong” or, “give peace a chance.” It was a rallying cry. I no longer had to be ashamed of going out, or getting too drunk, or having a monthly first class ticket on the Hot Mess Express. Shaming no longer existed to me, because we had Ke$ha. She was the icon for not giving a fuck, and in a world where the slightest act of “acting out” could cause some of the uptight people in our lives to call you a “slut,” there was something very empowering about a woman who owned the party lifestyle through her music.
She was also a champion of the meaningless hookup. I mean, “Blah Blah Blah” is the song that launched thousands of one-night stands: “Let’s cut to the chase, kid / ’cause I know you don’t care what my middle name is / I wanna be naked / and you’re wasted.”
But she wasn’t opposed to love at all, with “My Love is Your Drug” serving as both a love letter and a warning to those who fall in love and let their relationships completely consume them. In an interview, she said this: “It’s about me and my ex-boyfriend, and our tumultuous, psychotic relationship. We’d act weird, like drug addicts with each other…it’s a little bit of a dark song. You’re so obsessed with somebody you start acting like a weirdo…I write about falling in love, being in love, breaking up because he’s a loser, being heartbroken. I not only sing about getting rowdy, but love.” We can all relate to that, can’t we?
I certainly did. At this point, I was going out probably five out of seven nights a week in college. I had started dressing up LIKE Ke$ha to go to parties, blonde wig and all (thank you “Hannah Montana” merchandising line) and whenever I heard “Take It Off,” well, that’s exactly what I did. But then things got worse before they got better. If the “Animal” album was Ke$ha’s “Meet The Beatles!” the Ke$ha equivalent of “Abbey Road” was on the horizon, the “Cannibal EP.” That album changed the way I looked at everything forever with just one song: “We R Who We R.”
For me, “We R Who We R” was as big of an anthem as “TiK ToK” was, but with an obvious, deeper meaning. This song wasn’t just a club banger that made people want to take all the drugs in the world and rage their faces off while grinding up on sweaty men with beards–it was a pride anthem against bullying and teen suicides, specifically written about the shocking number of gay youth committing suicide. No matter what, kids should just not be killing themselves or getting bullied by anyone, by any stretch of the imagination. No one should even think of killing him or herself, and if you (or someone you know) are having these thoughts, for the love of Yoncé, please reach out to someone and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
So while this song made me want to dance my pants off, it also made me think, and it was around this point that I started to kind of slow down and reevaluate my life. As Ke$ha’s mentality and music started to age and mature, so did I. I grew up and realized that there was more to life than partying and raging my balls off. Even Ke$ha’s dropped the $–she’s Kesha Rose now, which is a beautiful name for a beautiful party girl turned, well, normal human being.
Was it a bad thing that I followed Kesha/Ke$ha’s music like gospel for so long? Absolutely not. I lived, I laughed, I loved, I passed out, I peed my pants, I threw up, and I hooked up with way more people than I probably should have. But if I was being (somewhat) safe about all of it, and as long as I was having fun, living life, and making memories I’d never, ever remember with the people I love the most, was it really so bad? Not bad at all. Worth it? Absolutely.
- Image via YouTube