Original post by Rebekah Gonzalez @iHeart
Kesha has remained a fixture in pop culture since she burst onto the scene with her infectious party anthem “TiK ToK” in 2009. Over a decade later, Kesha has four studio albums under her belt and several top-10 singles, and now she’s getting ready to drop her fifth studio album Gag Order on Friday, May 19th. Based on what we know so far, this album won’t be anything like other Kesha records. Produced by the legendary Rick Rubin, she’s calling the music “post-pop” for lack of a better word.
The album’s joint lead singles “Fine Line” and “Eat the Acid” are dark, titillating, and intoxicating. She’s not holding anything back lyrically. On May 17th, she dropped the third single, “Only Love Can Save Us Now.” She wrote in the album’s manifesto, “An artist doesn’t exist to make others happy. I believe an artist gives voice, motion, color to the emotions we all have.”
We can’t wait to hear the new album so, in anticipation, we’re exploring Kesha’s discography and ranking all 20 of her singles as a lead artist. Keep scrolling to rediscover some of your favorite Kesha songs and maybe find some new favorites before Gag Order arrives.
21. “Crazy Kids” feat. will.i.am
The third and final single from Kesha’s sophomore album Warrior (2012) kept the party vibes going following her debut. It’s got a catchy chorus but mostly because it serves as a reprieve from the lackluster verses. Plus, with the will.i.am feature, the track has the disadvantage of sounding a bit too much like a Black Eyed Peas reject. [Listen here]
Also off Warrior, this techno-pop song brought Kesha her seventh top-ten hit after her debut “TiK ToK.” The music video, in which she quits her job as a waitress at “Awful House” before getting into a decked-out van driven by a cat, is definitely worth a watch! Check it out below.
19. “This Is Me”
Kesha’s reimagined version of the hit song from the musical movie The Greatest Showman is obviously stunning but since it’s a cover, it’s ranked lower on the list. We’ve got more essential Kesha singles to rank! [Listen here]
18. “True Colors” with Zedd
This 2016 collaboration with German DJ Zedd is way more heartfelt than you’d expect. The powerful anthem showcases her singing voice and is probably the most Gag Order-aligned release at this point in her career. [Listen here].
17. “Blah Blah Blah” feat. 3OH!3
If there was a singular song that could sum up what was going on in Top 40 radio in 2010, it would be this Kesha collaboration with 3OH!3— a group that had middle schoolers by the throat with their 2008 track “DONTTRUSTME”— off her debut album Animal (2010). [Listen here]
Don’t let the intro to this High Road (2020) single fool you. After a few moments of gentle, piano-led pop ballad, it builds into a classic Kesha electropop party banger.
15. “Woman” feat. Dap-Kings Horns
This song may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Kesha teaming up with the horn section of funk/soul band Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings shows just how versatile she’s been throughout her career. The upbeat track off Rainbow (2017) is a female empowerment anthem with a fun and bold twist that only Kesha can convincingly deliver. [Listen here]
14. “Here Comes The Change”
We didn’t know Kesha released this social justice anthem until we wrote this article. The ballad was featured on the soundtrack for the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On The Basis of Sex in 2018. It can feel a bit corny at times but it’s a prime example of Kesha’s underrated vocal ability. [Listen here]
13. “My Own Dance”
The second single from Kesha’s last studio album High Road (2020) is basically an early version of the manifesto she wrote for Gag Order. The unapologetically pop track sees Kesha confronting what the media, fans, and haters expect from her. The lyrics are also amazing. Take “Don’t circumcise my circumstance,” for example.
12. “Take It Off”
This Animal single had the unfortunate luck of following closely behind career-defining singles like “Your Love is My Drug” and “TiK ToK,” but it’s still an undeniable hit and essential Kesha listening. During a 2009 Esquire interview, Kesha revealed that drag performers actually inspired the sultry tune. “I have a song … called ‘Take It Off’ about when I went to a drag show, and how really turned on I was by these transvestite men taking clothes off. I was like, What does that even make me?”
11. “Resentment” feat. Sturgill Simpson, Brian Wilson, and Wrabel
The third single from High Road is another unexpected move from Kesha but boy, does it work! This acoustic country ballad focuses on a toxic relationship and is such a pleasurable listen despite the heavy lyrics. Kesha even got to team up with one of her “personal musical heroes,” Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. [Listen here]
10. “Raising Hell” feat. Big Freedia
High Road‘s lead single feels like an evolved version of Kesha’s party girl anthems. It’s just plain old fun and any song with a Big Freedia feature deserves to be in the top 10. [Listen here]
Another classic party anthem off Kesha’s first EP Cannibal (2010). It’s catchy, it’s fun, it’s sleazy, it’s Kesha! Also, who remembers that episode of Victorious where Kesha performed this song in Tori Vega‘s living room?
This Rainbow track is the first ballad we get from Kesha’s single discography and it really packs a punch. It’s definitely not her catchiest song but it’s truly beautiful and builds up to a full belt at the end. This may just be Kesha’s most wide-ranging song to date. [Listen here]
7. “Die Young”
Kesha is hardly the first person to muse about living in the moment, but when you’re singing along to this banger of a chorus, it almost feels like she was. [Listen here]
6. “We R Who We R”
Again, we say: It’s catchy, it’s fun, it’s sleazy, it’s Kesha!
5. “Only Love Can Save Us Now”
Kesha’s latest single off Gag Order gives fans the best of both worlds she has to offer: unflinchingly honest lyricism and high production. After the song came out, the singer opened up about what the song represented. “I have had an overwhelming dichotomy of emotions, oscillating between pain and love. Chaos and love. Fear and love. I wanted my song ‘Only Love Can Save Us Now’ to sonically, lyrically, and emotionally reflect the severity of my mental pendulum swings,” she shared. “This song is a desperate and angry prayer. A call to the light when all feels lost.” [Listen here]
4. “Your Love Is My Drug”
Leave it to Kesha to write about struggling with co-dependency in a relationship and turn it into one of the most feel-good party anthems of all time. I’m taking a break from the “we” format of this article to say that I love this song so much! [Listen here]
3. “Fine Line”
As the first single from Gag Order, this emotional song really sets the scene for what we’re about to get on this album. While Kesha’s previous singles may have been production heavy, this song really relies on its heavy-hitting lyrics. It’s only a few weeks old, but it’s already a true gem in Kesha’s discography.
2. “Eat the Acid”
Arriving with “Fine Line” as the joint lead single from Gag Order, this track definitely has more musicality without sacrificing lyricism. Its synth and bass-heavy soundscape is just stunning and makes for an intoxicating listen. [Listen here]
1. “TiK ToK”
Something shifted when we first heard the lyrics, “Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy.” It may be redundant to rank her breakout hit as number one but Kesha’s debut was unlike anyone else’s. She’s a household name because of this hit and its shadow over her career looms large. Without it, we may never have arrived at the cutting-edge work she’s releasing today. And 14 years later, it still holds up!