Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Zedd & Kesha – True Colors

Welcome back.

Alfred Soto: Of course I’m glad to hear Kesha again — facts are facts. Glad she sounds like she’s talking herself into determined optimism too. But as much as I liked hearing her harsh, acidic tone against the waves of electronic manipulations, the settings deracinate her; she could be Ariana Grande singing a survival anthem.

Cassy Gress: Kesha’s famous swagger makes no appearances here, but she belts the crap out of this regardless, almost a little distorted. I’d say this is actually better than the original featuring Tim James, which is maybe a [4]. My bigger concern though, and Kesha has been making this point relentlessly, is that the longer she’s out of the pop music industry, the harder it is for her to come back. Kesha’s voice reminded me a lot of Demi Lovato here, and I’m sure that’s just a function of having heard Demi stuff more recently, but that’s the whole problem.

Brad Shoup: The Tim James album cut becomes a guide vocal, down to the processing set to “loud phone on speaker”. Kesha’s snarl suggests a ’90s pop-country potboiler, and the track could support the approach: amongst the galloping and chimes I keep hearing lonely guitar howls.

Will Adams: I listened to True Colors exactly one year ago, and my reaction to the title track is unchanged with Kesha subbed in for Tim James: it’s befuddling, portending something larger but never giving in to Zedd’s typical pounding drops. There are some meaningful parallels between the lyrics and the awful stuff Kesha’s been going through, but I’m more interested in what the song symbolizes than what it actually is. Put more optimistically, I’m more interested in what “True Colors” means for her new future than the present.

Juana Giaimo: Pop is a balance in between music and its context. Sometimes, we pay more attention to the music, while certain circumstances forces us to focus in the context. This is exactly the case of “True Colors,” taking into account Kesha’s horrible situation with Sony and Dr. Luke. Zedd appears here as a hero who lets Kesha finally shine through her strong vocals that are fighting to be heard. For this reason, “True Colors” is a statement rather than just a single that will be remembered for its social and historical value rather than for the aesthetic value.

Rebecca A. Gowns: The opportunity that begat this song is a matter of happy work-arounds; fitting, since Kesha has had her hands tied for a long time with a series of horrible industry-leaden loopholes. However, the lucky circumstance that led Zedd to collaborating with Kesha is in itself a kind of damning knot, as this single comes with a series of expectations, a narrative already set up for it. This is The Theme of the Phoenix Rising from the Ashes. It has to be. So that’s what the lyrics are — “I’ve escaped my capture and I have no master,” a line that admittedly gave me a thrill — combined with a slowly building series of chords and persistent drums. The trouble that I have with this is that it’s all build, no payoff. I keep waiting for the release, and it never comes. The closest we get is a yowl near the end, “it ain’t no rainboooow!” But even that is a meager outburst compared to what I know Kesha is capable of (let alone Zedd, who I know is also capable of better climaxes). The music sets me up for victory, and I can’t have it. The narrative has set me up for victory — Kesha, the noble David, versus the terrible Goliath of the music industry and the manipulative men that reign within — but we’re a long way from the final chapters. It’s not a satisfying song, but at least it’s honest. There is no winner here, not yet.

Megan Harrington: Zedd is an unsubtle producer, given to the melodrama of deep space and rainbow sunsets. “True Colors” is an army on horseback, riding through downpour to a midnight battle. Zedd’s colors are a bruise palette, sick greens and sour purples. But this is Kesha’s song, through and through, and it couldn’t be any other way. She sings with the grit and husk of a champion fighter. Her determination here is head down under a barrage of punches, none of the flashy chin thrusts and no fucks given fun of her early hits. Though she’s without her customary spit and glitter, she’s hardly bleak. Kesha’s true colors are centuries old bronze and water worn sand. She’s not retreating.

Reader average: [4.4] (5 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

2 Responses to “Zedd & Kesha – True Colors”

  1. 1) This hook for this song uncomfortably reminds me of One Direction’s “Drag Me Down”

    2) Juana’s amazing blurb about sums up all of my feelings towards this song

  2. Thanks Wayne! It was hard blurb to write so I really appreciate your comment