Much to the enthusiasm of my pop-loving girlfriends, I agreed to go to Wednesday's Ke$ha show at Ak-Chin Pavilion. The tickets were free, and we had a car with a driver, so I figured I could at least drink enough whiskey to dull the shame brought on by my seething metalhead soul.
Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by Ke$ha's own apparent metalhead-ness. And a little turned on, admittedly, by a video clip of a scantily clad Ke$ha rolling around in piles of vinyl records and stretching out on a Harley.
What I expected was a writhing sea of whored-out tweens and vibrant cross-dressers putting out a really obnoxious vibe. Maybe it was the whiskey -- or the cheap perfume-spiked confetti that constantly showered around us -- that muddled my mind, but what I came to realize instead was that Ke$ha is far more rocker than pop star.
She was dressed as a superhero Wonder Woman-meets-metal mistress in her studded outfits and head gear, and I got that familiar feeling of awe and adrenaline that bubbles up inside when watching a true rock star do their thing. That raw sexuality, the confident imperfection, and the swagger of "I don't give a damn" that you get from bands like Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, and Marilyn Manson.
Now, I'm not trying to say that Ke$ha is as good as or better than those acts. What I'm saying is that her attitude and lifestyle clearly trump the perceived pop value of her music. She reaches millions of people musically, talking about having sex freely, getting drunk, partying, and objectifying men -- much like male rock stars have done to women in for decades. I've heard that for a guy to come on her bus, she makes them drop trou and have a Polaroid snapped on their junk for a collection. She doesn't care what anyone thinks, and that's what she's built her career upon. Her plan is to level the playing field to let chicks know that they can talk the same shit as guys do.
As Alice Cooper once said: "I met [Ke$ha] at the Grammys and I immediately looked at her and went, 'This girl is not a pop diva. She's a rock singer.' She would much rather be the female Robert Plant than the next Britney Spears." And as we all know, Cooper then collaborated with her on a song. And on Ke$ha's newest album, Warrior, there are guest spots by Iggy Pop, The Stokes, and Patrick Carney from The Black Keys.
From the start of her career, Ke$ha's has let it be known that she likes to act on every lust and desire she has with no regard for rules. I mean, talk about rock 'n' roll -- her debut was in Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" video, an ode to lesbian experimentation that became a smash hit. Pretty much the only cool thing about Katy Perry -- at best -- is the thought of her making out with another chick.
I've heard of Ke$ha performances in the past that crossed over that line of inappropriateness far more than this one did on a hot Phoenix night. Sure, there were plenty of penis costumes running around on stage, cross-dressed guys, sexual exploits, and drinking. But I had also heard of cannons blasting condoms over the crowd and dildo cameos, and about her headdress and bra made out of her fans' teeth.
But being in love with heavy metal is much more than how you dress. Ke$ha also has that desire to dabble in the extreme dark side. One of the most recent ventures is of her music video "Die Young," which features her as an occult leader, standing in front of a pentagram as several men grope her in a church filled with blasphemous objects.
This has obviously pissed people off, and we all know how much pissed off people love to talk shit.
On YouTube, people have slowed her music videos down to super slow motion to point out upside-down crosses of the anti-Christ, Illuminati imagery and Satanic messages.
The really ridiculous one? Check out this guy, who calls Ke$ha one of the most "blatant, obvious Satanic pushing serpents in the mainstream music genre" and a "heroin-addicted, herpes-infested whore from hell" and claims that she is introducing millions of children to Satanism.
Wow. Can you actually imagine if some 16-year-old glitter-crusted chick turned to Satanism because of Ke$ha? "But Mom . . . I heard Ke$ha's "Cannibal" and she dismembers guys and eats them. She told me to do it!"
This is the exact same stuff that many hard rock and metal musicians have had to deal with in the '60s, '70s and '80s. Everyone from Metallica to Marilyn Manson, Led Zeppelin to Alice Cooper, or the Beatles to Slipknot have been accused of being Satanic, or been scrutinized for utilizing darker imagery.
I guess that's the problem with someone seen as a pop star that actually loves the heavier stuff. Hey, society -- ever hear of publicity stunt, or dabbling in the dark side? Of course not, and that's why heavy metal is known as outsider's land. It doesn't mean that we all follow Aleister Crowley's philosophy of do as thou wilt in the name of the devil. As Van Halen aptly stated it, we're just running alongside him.
But this article takes it to an entirely new level, stating that Ke$ha is the "marketing of Satan."
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My personal opinion after seeing Ke$ha live? I think she should cross over to our dark side, and start making pure heavy metal music. But until then, we can at least enjoy this awesome death metal cover of "Tik Tok" by a guy named Edward Kim.
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