"Praying” takes the high road – never explicitly referencing Dr. Luke – and spins Kesha’s depression and agony into an anthemic roar that kills with its kindness.
We’re only one single into “Rainbow,” Kesha’s forthcoming album and the first since 2012’s “Warrior,” and I’m already certain her record is going to be one of the year’s finest.
“Praying” marks Kesha’s fiery comeback after a series of legal battles with producer Dr. Luke. In 2014, Kesha accused Luke of sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, civil harassment, unfair business, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and negligent retention and supervision. The same day, Luke filed a defamation and breach of contract lawsuit against Kesha and her mother, Pebe Sebert, among others.
And now there’s “Praying,” a song that takes the high road – never explicitly referencing Luke – and spins Kesha’s depression and agony into an anthemic roar that kills with its kindness. “I hope you find your peace,” Kesha belts on the chorus. “Falling on your knees, praying.”
If methodical at first (a plodding piano beat carries us through the introduction), the track simply explodes by the second or third time the “Tik Tok” singer arrives at the chorus. Some notes, Kesha just shrieks. It’s a bone-chilling must-listen.
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Watching the accompanying video, it’s difficult not to be reminded of another searingly personal project. As she strolls across the desert in the Jonas Akerlund directed video, Kesha channels Beyoncé. (Akerlund also directed Beyonce’s iconic “Hold Up”).
Yet, there’s something haunting about “Praying” that sets it apart from “Lemonade.” Maybe it’s the Bible images, the gospel undertones, or the “American Horror Story: Roanoke” pig-people that chase Kesha in her rainbow duds, but “Praying” feels more ethereal, more eerily uncertain than Beyonce’s self-assured tour de force.
And that’s OK. Frankly, “Praying” is better for it. “Praying” is an inspiring ode to taking charge, sure. But it’s also painful, sickening even. Like hot lead in your stomach, it churns and burns with pure feeling.