Acoustic Ke$ha: Stripped-Down Sensitivity or Dreck Laid Bare?

The post below is reprinted, along with video attachments, from BuzzFeed. My comments are beneath it.

Ke$ha Made A Beautiful Acoustic Version Of “Die Young”

Who knew that underneath her hit pop song was a really gorgeous ballad?

Ryan Broderick, BuzzFeed Staff

It’s really easy to write off a pop star like Ke$ha (especially because she still insists on using that dang dollar sign). But it’s also really exciting when someone like her takes a step back, strips off all her usual radio pop nonsense and does something genuinely really nice.

This ambient, pretty gorgeous version of “Die Young,” off her upcoming album, Warrior, gives a really startling insight into the person underneath the auto-tune.

And this isn’t the first time Ke$ha’s take a quick foray to genuine musicianship. Last year she released a bafflingly subdued and heartfelt cover of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” which is definitely a must-hear if you missed it.

Original post:


I understand the concept, Ryan Broderick of BuzzFeed staff. Sometimes stripping away the noise and letting an artist’s voice, melody and song be heard in a more intimate, sympathetic setting brings out the song’s beauty and the singer’s gifts. Good examples would be Robyn’s reworkings of her dance pop hits and Kylie Minogue’s brand new Abbey Road Sessions album.

That’s not what’s happening here.

Really nice? Ambient? Gorgeous? Genuine musicianship? Are we listening to the same stuff? I’ll tell you what it sounds like to me: it could use the synth dance backing track to cover up all that “gorgeousness” because it just reveals Ke$sha’s limitations as a singer and bad judgment as an artist.

Her acoustic “Die Young” is merely ordinary–the stuff a thousand teenage girls do as well on YouTube on a daily basis. But the festival of secretions that is her “subdued and heartfelt” take on Dylan is something that made me feel ickiness penetrating my brain through my ears. It wasn’t just unpleasant to hear; it was something I wish I could unhear. I mean, thanks for spraying all that “musicianship” all over one of my favorite Dylan songs. Hope you didn’t permanently ruin it for me.

Yeah, good thing she “stripped off all her usual radio pop nonsense” to “do something really nice”–like have an emotional breakdown with the mic on. There’s a difference between conveying emotion (which is what an actual good singer can do) and simply demonstrating your own emotion (which, when done so artlessly, can leave listeners cold or maybe wondering what the hell kind of issues you have).

I suspect Ke$ha either a) has watched too many bleary Amy Winehouse performances and thinks raw self-destruction is kind of a cool image to adopt (maybe to make inroads with the angsty Evanescence crowd?) or b) is desperate to be taken more seriously than she deserves, given that she’s probably the most one-dimensional act since KC & The Sunshine Band.

Either way she comes across as a poseur to me.

I do agree about that pointless dollar sign though.

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