Comment: Listening to Ke$ha's hyper-sexual, misanthropic disco debut Animal is a lot like watching an insecure college freshman try to heal deep emotional scarring with alcohol and promiscuity. On the surface it's all about the hedonistic pleasures of living fast and fucking anything that moves, but underneath those layers of makeup and random hookups lies an empty, lonesome core.
Animal is predictable, well made pop-radio fare. Ke$ha moans, giggles, coos and cat-calls like an immature Lady Gaga or the female answer to 3OH!3. Her songs utilize simple pop structure, oil slick electropop production, dabbles in autotune and talk-rap with simple, almost nursery-rhyme like word play. Which is to say, most of these songs sound a whole fucking lot like 3OH!3, Those useless fuckers even make a brief and totally forgettable appearance on "Blah Blah Blah," a track that boasts this memorable lyric: "Don't be a little bitch with your chit chat / just show me where your dicks' at."
Ke$ha isn't reinventing the wheel by any strech of the imagination, but she has her share of catchy would-be hits. Album opener "Your Love is My Drug" is a fun little disco tune, and current radio burner "Tik Toc" is no better or worse than anything else on the FM dial. She's even able to surprise on "Animal," an honest-to-goodness dance track unburdened with the undercurrent of promiscuity that runs throughout the rest of the album.
While it can be fun to hear Ke$ha tread on the kind of opposite-sex objectification that is usually reserved for the boys (again, I'd like to point to that song where she encourages dudes to shut up and whip their cocks out), that novelty wears off quickly, especially on simplistic and outright stupid tracks like "Take it Off," "Boots and Boys" and "Party at a Rich Dude's House." The first sounds like something you'd hear on a playground, but not in a good way. The second is a weak analogy that stretches too long to fill three minutes. The last is just a shitty song about spilling wine on some one's couch.
There are a few songs about rejection and heartbreak, too. Those willing to take things deeper than the surface could make a point that these songs of loss and self-defeat say more about Ke$ha than her tracks about brushing her teeth with whiskey. While that might be valid, any attempt at depth is obliterated by the reminder to just shut up and pull out your junk. Besides, this is easily digested pop music, not great literature. Don't try to see the forest through the trees, just dance.
So that's Animal. An occasionally fun, occasionally catchy pop record that will log a few hits, move a few units and ultimately be forgotten once this particular pop trend goes the way of Crunk, Snap Music, the Power Ballad and all the other castoffs in the ever-expanding pop graveyard.
Key Tracks: Your Love is my Drug, Animal, Tik Toc
Buy, Skip, Steal: Skip