Hey Animals, Ke$ha is back! The pop star is dropping her sophomore album, Warrior, on Tuesday, and it's a funky mix of her signature glitter-bombed pop and her love for all things rock and roll. Both in aesthetic and collaborators, it is clear the L.A./Nashville native wanted to mix it up and add some guitar licks to her pop anthems.
Wondering whom K-Dollar Sign enlisted for the release and why she decided to name the album the super-fierce Warrior? Well, ahead of Tuesday's release, MTV News is breaking it all down.
Ke$ha announced her return to the pop scene back in September at the VMAs when she shared she was readying the release of the album's lead single, "Die Young." The track was produced by longtime pals, Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco, and it is as flirty and dancey as anything that K has released before.
But, she was already teasing the album's strong rock influences courtesy of some songwriting help from Fun.'s Nate Ruess.
"This song was kind of one of the songs we were working with as we were doing the whole record. It wasn't like, 'OK, let's set out to do this.' We first had a different chorus on it, and it was pretty good," Luke told MTV News back in September. "Then we did another one with Nate, and we liked the vibe of it better. I felt like what he brought to it, his world mixed in with production was an interesting sound, all the guitars and stuff. Ke$ha hadn't really done guitars before really in songs. On her last record, it was a strict no-guitar rule."
The singer began work on the album after taking some time off. She recorded most of it in L.A., enlisting the help of Blanco, Luke, Max Martin, Cirkut, Shellback and even her mom, songwriter Pebe Sebert, to craft tunes for the release.
Despite the rumor that she had asked Rihanna to appear on the release, the singer did manage to make some real-life collaborations happen. Iggy Pop, the Black Keys' Patrick Carney and the Strokes all make appearances on the album. She also worked with the Flaming Lips' leading man, Wayne Coyne, on several tracks. One of them, "Past Lives," made it onto the deluxe version of the album.
"We really loved making this music together — I think I've probably done six or seven songs with her — and I know a lot of her fans like ['2012'], but I don't know if we'll put more songs out there," Coyne said. "She has other agendas besides doing music with Wayne, you know, but I hope so, because I think it's really great, crazy, unexpected music. And she, to her credit, loves what we do. She wants it to be whatever. She has no limits of what she wants it to be."
Her Defining Track
Always known for her embrace-your-inner-freak anthems, one of her favorite tracks on the album, "Love Into The Light," is about just that. But instead of fist-pumping her way to acceptance, she goes for a trancey take on the feel-good anthem.
"I wrote the song 'Love into the Light' by myself in Nashville right after I got back from my spirit journey. It's a song that talks about how imperfections are what make life beautiful. Rather than try to cause divisions between people because of our differences and imperfections why don't we all let a little more love into the light," she told MTV News. "It's a subject that many people have written about, but I don't think it can be said enough."
In Her Words
The album marks her first full-length studio release since 2010's Animal. And, she says while she's still having fun, she brings a new sense of perspective to the project.
"When I came onto the scene I was just a wild party animal. I was broke, but I had a totally uninhibited and carefree lifestyle. I was so naïve: at the beginning; I had no idea what I was in for. I was, in a sense, animal. I'm still an animal, but I've also learned a lot along the way," she said. "Seeing people all over the world sing words that I wrote back to me, when we don't even speak the same language, was a powerful experience. It really made me want to think hard about every word on this album and make sure that everything that I wrote was positive."
Ke$ha is slated to perform the album's next single, "C'Mon," on "The X Factor" on Thursday, in front of her one-time collaborator, Britney Spears. No word yet on when a video for the song might hit the streets.
Are you excited for Ke$ha's next album? Leave your comment below!