Kesha unfurled her new album Gag Order at midnight on Friday (May 19) via Kemosabe/RCA Records.
The 13-track collection produced by Rick Rubin is the pop singer’s long-awaited follow-up to 2020’s High Road and was preceded by dual lead singles “Fine Line” and “Eat the Acid” — both of which demonstrate a hard-fought evolution from her early days as pop’s reckless party girl in the early 2010s. (On the former she warns, “There’s a fine line I’ve been walkin’/ And trying to balance is exhaustin’/ This is where you f–kers pushed me/ Don’t get surprised if s–t gets ugly” while the latter finds her turning her experiences with LSD and transcendental meditation into a synth-drenched psychedelic haze.)
Prior to the album’s release, Kesha also dropped the frenetic “Only Love Can Save Us Now,” which hits the senses as equal parts country, rap and gospel confessional.
“I feel like I’m giving birth to the most intimate thing I’ve ever created,” the star confessed in an interview with Rolling Stone when she announced the studio set. “I really dug into some of my uglier emotions and sides of myself that are less fun. It’s scary being vulnerable. The fact that I have compiled an entire record of these emotions, of anger, of insecurity, of anxiety, of grief, of pain, of regret, all of that is so nerve-racking — but it’s also so healing.”
Featuring jarring cover art of Kesha’s distorted face being suffocated by a translucent plastic bag, Gag Order also contains numerous co-writing credits from her mother, Pebe Sebert, as well as contributions from songwriting supernova Justin Tranter (“Hate Me Harder”) and The Ramones (a clever interpolation on album cut “The Drama”).
Stream Kesha’s Gag Order below.