Kesha is back, and with a motherfucking vengeance.
The embattled singer released the first single from her highly anticipated album, “Praying,” today, and it’s a dramatic and showstopping return to the music biz for Kesha.
The video for the gospel-like ballad begins with Kesha delivering this voiceover: “Am I dead? Or is this one of those dreams? Those horrible dreams that seem like they last forever? If I am alive, why? Why? If there is a God or whatever, something, somewhere, why have I been abandoned by everyone and everything I’ve ever known? I’ve ever loved? Stranded. What is the lesson? What is the point? God, give me a sign, or I have to give up. I can’t do this anymore. Please just let me die. Being alive hurts too much.”
She’s addressing the battles she’s fought over the last five years, both against the man who sexually abused her and her own mind, and her language is more real than most people would be comfortable getting. “Praying” then becomes a powerful anthem of self-love and, surprisingly, forgiveness toward Dr. Luke, the producer who fat-shamed and abused Kesha for years. At one point, she sings, “I’m proud of who I am / No more monsters I can breathe again / And you said that I was done / But you were wrong and now the best is yet to come / Cuz I can make it on my own / I don’t need you, I found strength I’ve never known,” and it’s clear she’s moved past her tortured past.
Kesha also wrote an essay about the song for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter to accompany the release of “Praying” and to express her gratitude for the support of her fans as well as the soul-baring self-reflection that came from the healing process she’s undergone recently. In a poignant excerpt, she writes:
“‘Praying,’ my first single in almost four years, comes out today. I have channeled my feelings of severe hopelessness and depression, I’ve overcome obstacles, and I have found strength in myself even when it felt out of reach. I’ve found what I had thought was an unobtainable place of peace. This song is about coming to feel empathy for someone else even if they hurt you or scare you. It’s a song about learning to be proud of the person you are even during low moments when you feel alone. It’s also about hoping everyone, even someone who hurt you, can heal.”
Read the rest of Kesha’s moving essay here.