Every year seems to introduce a new female to the pop realm. So far, 2010 has brought forth Ke$ha, an artist that definitely does not look like most of our pop starlets. She’s very tongue-in-cheek, at times provocative but coming off as casual and ‘one of the guys’. ‘Animal’ is not a perfect pop album; at times Ke$sha sounds as if she’s unsure of her own image and sound as she’s singing songs that remind you of other popular pop anthems of the past years (due to the fact she’s working with some of the most popular producers that’ve crafted tunes for the likes of Britney Spears, Kathy Perry, P!nk and more). Other times, the album is fun and carefree, sounding like a welcomed departure from the standard pop songs that get a lot of attention now. In the end, what you have is a decent pop album and an artist that has the potential to be either really big in 2010 and beyond or one that can offer only one or two hits from this debut album.

The Good: ‘Animal’ is very electronic and the first half of the album is straight-forward, carefree fun and celebratory dance/club music. What’s clear is that Ke$ha is more into lyrics than vocals; from the first track, she’s defining her style with witty, involved lyrics that are spoken/rapped and upbeat, bass-thumping club-orientated music. “Your Love Is My Drug” is catchy, even though it sounds like a standard pop song. It’s a frivolous song about being love and has a nice breakdown that features her interesting rap/lyrical styling. “Take It Off” is highly auto-tuned, fast-paced, dance. It’s all about partying and debauchery and definitely sets the tone for a fun, party, clubbing experience. “Kiss N Tell” reminded me a lot of a Katy Perry song; Ke$ha sings a little on the track but the way it’s produced and written, you’d think this was a cast-off from Katy Perry’s ‘One of the Boys’ album. “Blah, Blah, Blah” has Ke$ha back in her element, sounds a little retro but full of attitude and sass. In all, the good tracks of the album are those that are dance/pop orientated, fast paced and feature Ke$ha not doing much singing but doing her talking/rapping lyrical style.

The Bad: After such songs like “Tik Tok”, “Blah Blah Blah”, and basically the entire first half of the album (tracks 1-6), I was extremely let down by the later half of the album. The style changes and shifts from the fun, dance hits to an attempt to pack in the ballad, expected songs about heartbreak and love. These tracks just didn’t work for me at all. Ke$hsa, though a fun and unique artist, doesn’t have the greatest voice in my opinion. Tracks like “Hungover”, “Backstabber”, and “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes” are decent ballads but seem to rely heavily on her voice to sell the tracks and she never really rises to the occasion. On some of the later tracks, she’s just screaming and yelling and not doing much singing at all and her voice sounds like she’s in competition with the music (for example, on tracks like “Party At A Rich Dude’s House”). After listening to the tracks a few times, I still feel the first half of the album is better and the later half sounds a bit lazily slapped together. Instead of defining and sticking to her own style and area where she feels or sounds most unique (the more witty, tongue-in-cheek, party-orientated music) she sings or takes on songs that sound like cheap knock-offs of Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry songs. In all, the later half of the album left me far less impressed.

In all, the album is average at best. I liked the first half of the album because it was a refreshing departure from the straight-forward female pop the market’s been saturated with after a year of Lady GaGa. Yet, the second half of the album attempts to make Ke$ha conform to the expected pop norms and ends up making her a bit less authentic and interesting. I’d definitely recommend the first six tracks of the album; as for the later half, they really aren’t worth purchasing this album for.

Listen To These: “Tik Tok”, “Blah Blah Blah”, “Dinosaur”, “Take It Off”

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