“Praying” is the debut single from Kesha’s forthcoming album Rainbow, and comes with an emotional new video that encapsulates the depression and struggles she’s been through over the past few years. It arrives after an announcement she made yesterday on her Instagram, promising new work, but not clarifying who would release it. (She is presumably still embroiled in a legal battle with Dr. Luke, and ostensibly is still under contract with Sony.)
It’s no surprise that the tone of “Praying” is nothing like the pop-chart work she did with Dr. Luke; Kesha, untethered to make the kind of music she’s always wanted to, incorporates her long-documented folk influences into a generous, self-assured pop piano ballad. After a Lemonade-influenced spoken-word interlude, she seems to address the Luke situation directly in the lyrics—“I’m proud of who I am/no more monsters I can breathe again/And you said that I was done/well you were wrong and now the best is yet to come, cause I can make it on my own”—as she runs free through a floral-colored labyrinth in a sequined rainbow cape. Cowritten with Macklemore collaborator Ryan Lewis, it’s anthemic and exactly what one would hope from a woman who feels she can finally direct her own path.
Billboard notes that Rainbow will include appearances from Dolly Parton (on a reimagining of “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You,” cowritten by Kesha’s mother Pebe Sebert), the Dap-Kings and the Eagles of Death Metal, which sounds about right for a Kesha project, combining her propensities for country, soul and rock. Today in the online newsletter Lenny, Kesha contributed an op-ed about “Praying” and her new album, writing:
I’ve written a record that reveals my vulnerabilities, and I have found strength in that. In the past, I’ve always felt like I was trying to prove something, trying to be someone I thought people wanted me to be, but on this record, I’m just telling the truth about my life.
Rainbow is out August 11.