2010 debut album from the American singer/songwriter who achieved fame as featured vocalist on Flo Rida's hit single 'Right Round'. Animal was executive produced by Dr. Luke (Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, and... more » Avril Lavigne) and includes collaborations with producers Max Martin and Benny Blanco. The album's first smash single, 'TiK ToK', has had TV placements in the Project Runway promo spots, Melrose Place and So You Think Can Dance.« less
2010 debut album from the American singer/songwriter who achieved fame as featured vocalist on Flo Rida's hit single 'Right Round'. Animal was executive produced by Dr. Luke (Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, and Avril Lavigne) and includes collaborations with producers Max Martin and Benny Blanco. The album's first smash single, 'TiK ToK', has had TV placements in the Project Runway promo spots, Melrose Place and So You Think Can Dance.
Cale E. Reneau | Conroe, Texas United States | 01/05/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There was a time, you may recall, when pop music and dance music were two separate things; when it didn't pander to the lowest common denominator; when pop stars were actually artists and not just fashion models with voices. Not today, though. Today it seems as if the mainstream music, money-making machine chooses style over substance almost always. Ke$ha is no exception to this trend. Her music, while containing a few catchy songs (such as the suddenly everywhere, "TiK ToK"), doesn't really bring anything new or exciting to the music world. As such, Animal, is definitely not an album to purchase as a whole, but one to pick apart and download; again, a trend that has only grown more prevalent over time.
Around a month ago, I'm spending time with friends when one girl starts playing "TiK ToK." I immediately dismiss it as crap, not to mention a stylistic rip-off of Paris-based, Uffie (granted, not an Owl City-Postal Service sized rip-off, but enough for me to notice). A week later, I'm severely inebriated at The Beach, a club on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, when the song once again starts playing. Without me even knowing, the song hooked me; so much so that a few days later I'm downloading the song on iTunes and declaring it the best mainstream female pop song since Britney Spears' "Toxic." What "TiK ToK" has going for it is its amazing production, an infectious chorus, well-written melody, and enough edge to make it sound fresh. It is a great cog in the machine, and according to the end of '09's pop charts, I'm not alone in this assessment.
Unfortunately, the large majority of Animal plays things by the book. Sounding more Rihanna than Gaga, Ke$ha's debut is full of a lot of tracks that mimic every other pop song from the last 5 years. Very few of them stand out as genuinely unique. "Blah Blah Blah" is fairly solid track, with Ke$ha singing about how she'd rather a guy just make a move than have him talk her up for half an hour. The worst part of the track has to be the inclusion of the always-annoying 3OH!3, who guests on the song's bridge. "Hungover" is even better. Its smooth, retro-dance vibe is enhanced by it's totally catchy chorus about the morning after. If I had to pick a second single, it'd be this one.
In reading interviews with Ke$ha, she sounds like the kind of person who tries to get a rise out of people, who tries to be edgier than she is. That's not necessarily a bad thing; everybody has their role to fill. But Ke$ha's "edgier" stuff doesn't necessarily push any new boundaries. Pop's cherry was (uhh...) popped decades ago with Madonna and Prince. If you can't do it better, at least do it justice. She does neither. Her "edginess" is primarily relegated to the occasional dirty word or sexual innuendo; not necessarily groundbreaking. Does she get some credit for at least writing a large portion of her songs herself? Absolutely, that's much more than the average pop star. But again, there's nothing particularly new or exciting about a lot of this stuff.
For example, most of the album is spent mimicking the styles of other established artists. Album opener, "Your Love is My Drug" sounds like a decent Kelly Clarkson song, "Kiss N Tell" is out of the Miley Cyrus playbook, and "Animal" is like an Alanis Morissette song set to a completely worthless dance beat. Granted, all of these songs could be considered highlights on Animal, but she gets 0 points for originality. The album's most nauseating song is "Boots & Boys," which showcases Ke$ha's affection for...well, I'm sure you can guess. It's filler at its worst, with its double entendre lyrics and easy melody.
All this to say that, yes, Ke$ha's Animal has some good songs on it. Some, like "TiK ToK" may wind up being remembered long past the album's shelf life. However, when the pop-star roll call is taken five years from now, Ke$ha probably won't be in class; which is to say that she's just as disposable as any of the industry's other forgettable pop stars. There are signs of talent and longevity in this album that are hard to deny, but Ke$ha has to find some way to set herself apart if she plans on surviving in the minds of the fickle OMG-ers of the world who will consume this album and then move on to the next big thing. In the meantime, we can all enjoy the 4 or 5 good songs that Animal has to offer and wish her the best of luck.
Key Tracks: 1. "Your Love Is My Drug" 2. "TiK ToK" 3. "Take it Off" 4. "Blah Blah Blah (f/ 3OH!3)" 5. "Hungover"
5 out of 10 Stars
Ten Dollars and 40 Minutes I'll Never get Back
Cory T. Shaeffer | Pittsburgh | 01/07/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"As a former club DJ, I can personally say that this album is among the worst pop/dance albums I have ever heard. And I have literally heard thousands - from all over the world. I've been in this game a long time. And young Kesha has much, MUCH to learn. The lyrics are chock-full of drug and alcohol references, the vocals are auto-tune heavy, and the blips and blats of electronica that litter EVERY stinking track could have been put to better use.
As a fellow reviewer mentioned earlier, the album lacks cohesion, as Kesha is unsure of herself at best. Lady Gaga, Cascada, and Kim Sozzi have better dance albums out right now WITHOUT all of the professional cooks who had their hands on this project....with Gaga it all boils down to her extreme confidence and exhuberance. She relies not on studio-enhanced vocals, name-dropping, and junior high school lyrics.
One look at the song titles and it pretty much gives away the content of the album. THe lyrics are so ridiculous and pretentious that the listener cannot enjoy the beats and the melodies, which in certain cases are not that bad. The whole point of a dance-pop record is so the listener can dance away their troubles. These lyrics are so bizarre and unnerving at times that the focus is entirely on Kesha and her dirty party-girl image. Most people who buy dance records don't care about the vocalist. It's all about the mood and the beats.
This album sounds like the songs were both written and performed by a 14 year old raver while she was in rehab or a mental facility. If I were forced to listen a few more times to this steaming pile of drivel, I think I would check myself into a facility. 1.5 stars."
An album whose intent must be understood before it can be en
MisterMusicFan | 01/07/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ke$ha, `the girl' from Flo Rida's "Right Round," releases an album of her own in early 2010 very similar in theme to that of Lene Alexandra's, for those who are familiar with her. It's an album which exudes a crystal clear persona and message through its lyrics and the performer behind them, and what it exudes is guaranteed to garner a plethora of negative critical response, scowls and gasps of shock from critics and parents alike. Briefly after its release, `Animal' is already boasting a #1 lead single (the most downloaded single of the year, in fact), a so-far-unreleased album cut ("Blah Blah Blah") shooting to #2 on the iTunes Top Charts and a #1 spot on the iTunes Top Albums Charts (which will inevitably lead to a #1 spot on Billboard); with all this, however, came an overload of predominantly negative critic reviews. So in essence, what we'd assume to have on our hands here is a musical version of Transformers 2. Unlike Transformers 2, however, Ke$ha's album is in fact fun and enjoyable, albeit vapid and free of substance.
The persona so many critics (and likely flabbergasted adults) are appalled with is the promiscuous, binge drinking partier Ke$ha plays on a large majority of her debut. Virtually every track brings mention of guzzling booze, screwing boys, and/or partying `til you projectile vomit. The recurring theme Ke$ha ultimately seems to be trying to push here is role reversal, essentially making a point to exude the stereotypically male attitude and mindset throughout her songs. `Just turn around boy, let me hit that, don't be a little b*tch with your chit-chat, just show me where your d*ck's at' she orders on one track, while another finds her repeatedly calling a male ex-lover a slut. The man-woman role reversal has been done before, but one has to ask, would this album be as shocking and would it garner as much negative attention if it came from a man? For most hip-hop artists and sexually-driven male singers, this sort of fare is startlingly commonplace-critics wouldn't think twice about hearing Snoop Dogg, R. Kelly or Eminem talk about rampant sex or getting wasted, but coming out of Ke$ha's blonde-haired, gum-cracking mouth it's suddenly worth blacklisting? This is likely because female singers under the age of 30 are immediately pigeonholed as role models, people who are supposed to set an example for the generation's youth; most specifically, young girls.
To enjoy Ke$ha's album, one must understand that they are listening to an entertainer, not a role model. Also like Lene Alexandra's album, the naughty lyrics are dressed up in infectious, head-spinning backbeats and production, thanks to production geniuses Dr. Luke and Max Martin; the genre Ke$ha tends to stick with is a dizzying blend of trashy dance-pop and thumping, pulsating electronica, a down-to-the-tee blend of Lady GaGa and Katy Perry. Naturally, as a result, the album comes off like the soundtrack to an endless night of clubbing. "TiK ToK," the highly popular lead single, more or less deserves its success-it's obscenely catchy and plays like the much-needed part 2 to GaGa's own "Just Dance." The album opener, "Your Love Is My Drug," isn't much different, with its dizzying stop-go thumps and loops. The thunderously infectious "Kiss N Tell" proceeds to follow the same formula, with an anthemic chorus loop chugging along to a surging electro-pop beat; it's her safest bet for single #2. The 3OH!3 collaboration "Blah Blah Blah" may be tied for that, actually-it's a pristine example of Ke$ha's seemingly trademark horny-drunk-girl lyrics paired with a beat so addictive even prudish listeners shouldn't have any complaints.
The vocals throughout the album are a mix of Gwen Stefani/Fergie-inspired bubblegum rapping and kittenish talk-singing, meaning in other words, no, she's no Christina Aguilera, but like most vocalists of that sort, she'll be instantly recognized on radio. Ke$ha's brief flashes of vulnerability work better than expected, and arrive in the tracklisting just around the time that the trashiness begins to wear thin. "Hungover" is the closest the album comes to a ballad, and it finds Ke$ha mourning over an ex, comparing her inability to get over him to-surprise surprise-a hangover. The song has a big, arena rock-style chorus and is her best bet for a sweeter, less morally questionable single. Similarly, "Blind" is one of the album's strongest tracks, boasting Avril Lavigne-esque angst and yet another larger-than-life anthemic chorus.
"Dancing With Tears In My Eyes" and the free-spirited title track also display the gentler side of Ke$ha, and tunes such as these can as a whole soften the blow of the album's vulgarity, but most listeners will find it difficult to enjoy `Animal' until they embrace it for what it is: a very of-the-moment, ironic slapstick raunch album that rides heavily on its exciting, infectious surge of electronic beats. It's debatable whether or not Ke$ha herself is in on the joke, but either way the one-dimensionality of it all allows her to sidestep the most common problem new artists stumble into: facelessness. She's solidly defined her persona and her music here, and admittedly it's one hell of a guiltily pleasurable ride, but it leaves one to wonder how she plans on building a long-term career out of this sort of thing."
Another nail in music's coffin
James B. Simpkins | 01/16/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Imagine a baseball player that couldn't hit or throw. Imagine an accountant who couldn't count. It would be impossible to be successful at those endeavors without the requisite skills. But somehow it is possible for a "singer" to sell millions of dollars of "music" even if she cannot sing. Don't get me wrong Kesha makes noises with her mouth. If that's singing to you then you probably would like this garbage. It's cheap and tawdry and perfect for sheeple to worship. But why would anyone actually buy the single (much less the whole album)? Anyone who buys this is sending a message to record companies that this is the type of music we want them to create. And you really should be ashamed to make that kind of statement about yourself. I understand the song being kind of catchy for a few weeks. But why are you purchasing it when you could hear it on the radio every five minutes or downloading a less than legal copy online? At least then you wouldn't have fallen for this scam by which some brat pretends to be a singer and gets stinking rich of the people dumb enough to line her pockets."
Some Good...Some Really Bad
Architect of Skin | Philippines | 01/22/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Let's go straight to the track list, shall we? (Oh, by the way... I mention "vocoder" a number of times in this review, but it could also mean "auto-tune." My ears aren't still used to the difference between the two.)
Your Love Is My Drug - Nice, but it's something that Katy Perry would sing.
Tik Tok - I love this one.
Take It Off - Oh, please, don't start a song with heavy vocoder!! And there's that unimpressive hook.
Kiss N Tell - Filler alert!!!
Stephen - Techno bubble gum. I don't mind bubble gum, but this song would've been more interesting if they upped the Latin flavor a bit more, or at least used more "normal" instruments.
Blah Blah Blah - Heavy vocoder alert!!! Sounds like a filler. I don't know why they released it as a single.
Hungover - This would make a great third single, because it's slower than most of the other songs, and I love the hook. (It reminds me of Katy Perry's "Lost," but it's still nice.)
Party at a Rich Dude's House - It's got an 80s thing about it, which is interesting, so it gets "second single" status for me. That is... if you don't mind the inanity of the lyrics.
Backstabber - A bit of big band and 80s flair here... a bit. It's otherwise mind-numbing.
Blind - Not a "party" song, but an angry "you'll miss me" song. It's got single potential, a good fifth in my book.
Dinosaur - Yes, the song starts with the roar of a ... dinosaur! Here, she berates a senior citizen who's hitting on her. Let's bury this one.
Dancing With Tears In My Eyes - Again, it starts with heavy vocoder. *sigh* Nothing impressive here. A waste of song title, really.
Boots and Boys - I hope this song is not representative of her target audience. It's plain stew-pid.
Animal - The title track. Intro (and just the intro, mind you) sounds like "Linger" by The Cranberries. The song actually sounds good, surprisingly, with decent lyrics. A fourth single, then.
V.I.P. - A funky-cool little thing, if only they did something about some of the lyrics. Could've been really good, but not as a single.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Overall... I'd give "Animal" a 2.5. But since I'm a nice guy, a 3 it is. It's not a borderline disaster. Though there are a number of really bad songs here, there are some nice ones worth repeat listening. But choose wisely."