“Praying” documents Kesha’s transformation from bad girl to mature woman.

I heard this song, “Praying,” for the first time today and when I found out it was Kesha I thought I was being punked.

I’m blown away by Kesha’s transformation from her shallow, partying “Tik Tok” days to the woman she has become.  I’m also blown away by her incredible, powerful voice.  I always thought she was a lightweight vocally, more a rapper than a singer really.  How wrong I was!

The raw emotion and spiritual depth she shows here is so different from the cartoonish “bad girl” image of 2009.   She fought hard to get here.

Yes, the dollar sign in her name is gone.   It would no longer fit.   Something tells me she was never that shallow, cartoonish bad girl, but was always a butterfly struggling to emerge from its chrysalis.   I’m a fan now (though truth be told, “Tik Tok” was damn catchy).

This song is emotionally cathartic for me.   It may be for you too.

“Praying” was released last year. Kesha is a warrior who not only managed to conquer her own demons of bulimia and depression, she also held her own against a controlling and abusive manager who tried to destroy her. From her psinful struggle, she learned that it’s from the greatest pain that empathy can be born and true forgiveness can occur. Few ever learn this valuable truth. She writes:

“Praying” was written about that moment when the sun starts peeking through the darkest storm clouds, creating the most beautiful rainbow. Once you realize that you will in fact be OK, you want to spread love and healing. If you feel like someone has wronged you, get rid of that hate, because it will just create more negativity. One thing that has brought me great relief is praying for those people. Being angry and resentful will do nothing but increase your own stress and anxiety — and hate is the fuel that grows the viruses. Don’t let anyone steal your happiness!

In this emotional interview from Good Morning America, Kesha talks about her spiritual and emotional journey (and sings too).

Keane: Somewhere Only We Know

Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know,” released in 2004, seems like it’s from another lifetime, because everything has changed so much since then.   It seems like the world was more innocent then and so were we.   Fourteen years is a long time, but not so long to make me feel like we’re in an entirely different eon.    This piano rock ballad, already melancholy enough, is made even more so for me for this reason.   I still love this song.

Bad Blood (Ryan Adams — cover of Taylor Swift)

Taylor Swift is a guilty pleasure of mine (I think she’s a suberb songwriter and knows how to craft incredibly catchy songs) but I didn’t care too much for her version of “Bad Blood” from her hit “1989” album.

Sometimes covers are better than the originals.   Indie singer-songwriter Ryan Adams (not to be confused with BRYAN Adams) did this gorgeous cover of Swift’s song, which gets played a lot on our local indie station.   I like his low-keyed pop-rock arrangement of it, which sounds quite different from Swift’s upbeat dance-pop original.

Swift’s original:

Which version does everyone prefer? Let me know in the comments.

Monday Melody: Beautiful (Christina Aguilera)

I really should start calling these Sunday Songs, since I seem to post them so often on Sunday night instead of Monday–but Sunday Songs sounds like religious music, so I guess I won’t be changing the title.

My apologies for slacking on posting every week as I promised, but I did post The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” a few days ago, because I didn’t want to have to wait.   That song was my obsession that day.

“Beautiful” is one of those big diva-ballads of the late ’90s and early 2000’s I don’t normally get into that much.  Don’t get me wrong–these ladies (Christina, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and their ilk) are incredibly talented and their success is well-deserved, but their melismatic r&b style just isn’t usually my cup of tea.  I’m more into rock or indie and alternative type of music.

“Beautiful” is an exception.  On every level it’s amazing.    It’s not a shallow song about physical perfection as one might think; it’s an empowering song about self esteem and not fitting in because you’re “different,”  but learning to love yourself anyway in spite of those differences.  Christina belts the lyrics out with so much raw emotion I always feel like I’ve been hit in the gut.  Rumor has it she she cried while recording it.  I believe it too.

I heard it again today and it brought tears to my eyes, so I decided it deserved to be this week’s featured tune.



Don’t look at me
Every day is so wonderful
Then suddenly it’s hard to breathe.
Now and then I get insecure
From all the pain, I’m so ashamed.I am beautiful no matter what they say.
Words can’t bring me down.
I am beautiful in every single way.
Yes, words can’t bring me down… Oh no.
So don’t you bring me down today.To all your friends you’re delirious,
So consumed in all your doom.
Trying hard to fill the emptiness.
The pieces gone, left the puzzle undone.
is that the way it is?

You are beautiful no matter what they say
Words can’t bring you down….oh no
You are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring you down, oh, no
So don’t you bring me down today…

No matter what we do
(no matter what we do)
No matter what we say
(no matter what we say)
We’re the song inside the tune
Full of beautiful mistakes

And everywhere we go
(and everywhere we go)
The sun will always shine
(the sun will always, always shine)
And tomorrow we might wake on the other side

We are beautiful no matter what they say
Yes, words won’t bring us down, no, no
We are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring us down, oh, no
So don’t you bring me down today

Oh, yeah, don’t you bring me down today, yeah, ooh
Don’t you bring me down ooh… today


A blast from the past: Janis Ian “Society’s Child”

Janis Ian’s “Society’s Child” is a ballad she wrote at age 13 about a forbidden love between a black boy and a white girl and her family’s disapproval. I was about 8 years old when it hit the airwaves in 1967. I loved it back then and I love it now.

“Society’s Child” was banned from many radio stations due to its controversial (for the time) subject matter of racism. It’s still somewhat controversial though hopefully much less so. I read that Janis got death threats for writing it.

You just don’t hear so much pure raw emotion in popular music anymore, or a song with as much artistry as this one. Janis gets so lost in this performance. I just love to watch her. She didn’t really become famous until her 1975 megahit “At Seventeen.” She was just 16 years old in this haunting performance on the The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

I think the video production for its time is incredible. It’s hard to believe this video was made 48 years ago. I don’t understand why this hit from 1967 has been forgotten for so long. You just NEVER hear it.
I think it’s a classic.