Kesha's Comeback Single "Praying" is Astonishingly Good (and a Little Depressing)

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Yesterday, we celebrated Kesha's imminent return, and kept our fingers crossed that this was really, really happening. Today, everything we have ever wanted from a Kesha single crashed into our computer screens, in an explosive glittery rainbow of defiance and healing and... holy crap, who knew Kesha could sing like that?!

Here is the emotional rollercoaster that is "Praying."
(Content warning: Watching this video may result in both chills and tears.)

Sure, the first minute borrows shamelessly from Beyoncé's Lemonade (spoken word, asking God rhetorical questions, black and white, slow motion, lying on submerged structures in large bodies of water, etc.), but "Praying" is undeniably powerful.

Its impact doesn't just lie in the fact that it is a perfect ballad (which it is). There is extra weight here because the world already knows exactly who and what this is all about. Kesha doesn't have to tell us her backstory on this track because we all already know it. Instead, she describes how she has survived and what she intends to do now -- "When I'm finished, they won't even know your name" packs the kind of punch one can only accumulate after multiple years of emotional trauma and futile legal wranglings.

'Rainbow' album cover

Depressingly, Buzzfeed reported earlier today that Kesha has not, in fact, been able to free herself from her ties with Dr. Luke and that "she has not succeeded on any legal claim or motion to avoid them." This means that upcoming album, Rainbow (due out August 11) -- her first since 2012's Warrior -- will be just one of three more albums required before she can get out of her contract with her alleged abuser.


Dr. Luke's legal team stated this morning: "As legally required all along, [Rainbow] was released with Dr. Luke's approval by Kemosabe, which is a joint venture label of Dr. Luke and Sony."

Kesha needing to get Dr. Luke's approval before she can release a song about Dr. Luke isn't just ironic, it's horrifying. But it remains thrilling to see Kesha's spirit will not be bowed by all of the problems that have befallen her and the deeply problematic working conditions she finds herself in.