Ke$ha, "Warrior" (RCA Records)
Don't hate me -- but this new Ke$ha album is good. Kind of really good.
"Warrior," the 25-year-old's sophomore release, is entertaining from top to bottom. Ke$ha -- along with hitmaker Dr. Luke -- has a knack for creating carefree and upbeat electro-pop songs that make you want to have a good time. It's pure fun.
Yes, some of her lyrics are vapid and need work, but melodically, she's got a winner, especially on the hooks throughout "Warrior." The will.i.am-assisted "Crazy Kids," which kicks off with whistling, is anthemic; "C'mon" is oh-so-fun; and "Thinking of You," about an ex, transitions pleasantly from its thumping verse to its groovy hook. The lead single, "Die Young," is just as addictive and was co-written with Nate Ruess of fun.
While Ke$ha deserves credit for putting together a nearly-great album, she's still Ke$ha -- therefore, she has her limitations. The songwriting on "Warrior" -- which includes contributions from her mother, Pebe -- can be ridiculous. On "C'mon," she rhymes "saber tooth tiger" with "warm Budweiser." Also, Auto-tune remains her best friend: When Ke$ha hits a semi-high note, she can't pull it off without the help of studio manipulation.
Her singing is better on "Wonderland," a slow groove about how her life has changed since she became a pop star (it gets a great drum assist from Patrick Carney of The Black Keys). And "Warrior" is much better than Ke$ha's other releases, including her so-so 2010 debut, "Animal," and her terrible "Cannibal" EP. The "TiK ToK" singer has stretched her 15 minutes -- and surprisingly, she's worth the extra time.
Check this out: Bonus track "Out Alive" is scary fun.