Friday, May 12, 2023


 When I was young, I had a hard time making out what Kesha’s Animal is supposed to be. What Platonic form this album supposed to fulfill, if you may. I’ve been listening to the first 2 Kesha albums since I was a little kid, and Warrior clicked with me instantly as I dove into it in my room one spring 2016 evening. But Animal was always different. Animal is harsh with loud bleeps and bloops everywhere that almost seem overwhelming when paired with her braggadocious persona. That’s why when I wrote this video originally in summer 2018, I wrote a 5,200 word hit piece against what this album has to offer. Instrumentation was described as, “just electronic beeping noises” with “annoying electronic noises all thrown together at once.” The lyrics are subject to my critique as well, so that I critique TiK ToK for… using poetic imagery? And I clearly dislike a highlight of Kiss N Tell’s identity. I even described the production on the record with this phrase: “This part has enough autotune to be too noticeable, but it doesn’t have enough autotune to be artistic or stylistic, or anything other than a distraction.” And I think today I see the album in a very different light. Albeit a bit dated, Animal is a well-constructed product that’s rife with a unique, appealing sense of character. When I first listened to this as a soundtrack to grade school homework, I went in with the mindset this album was as universal as Warrior was. It isn’t; and that's okay! Animal tends to work best as driving music, or party music. But that isn’t a problem with the art. Albums like Animal are aiming to be really clever with how it meets the needs of those specific scenarios. As it caters to a loud environment, this type of project lives and dies by its character. For this album to do well, it needs to stand out with all boldness and confidence. And I’m happy to report that Animal passes with flying colors. Kesha followed in the tradition of Britney Spears’ Blackout by reveling in modern synth sounds and effects. Instruments like electric guitars are present, but you have to dig if you want to find them. But Kesha never comes off as a mere modernist who uses synths because it’s popular to do in the landscape of the late 2000s. Her character basks in the artificiality of the world she builds for herself. That world is reflected in the sounds of the album. That’s why the guitars are much clearer on serious songs like Blind and Dancing With Tears In My Eyes. This album may be known for its fun party girl songs like Take it Off, Boots N Boys, and Backstabber, but it doesn’t maintain that illusion the whole time. Sometimes a glimmer of reality peaks through. Whether you’re listening to a party song or a sad song, Animal is incredibly attractive. Vocal performances are on point, and production sounds more lush and deep than you might initially anticipate. Take it Off is probably the best example. It builds such a fun, yet grimy atmosphere that’s just about impossible for anyone except Kesha herself to match. When I was a kid, I didn’t appreciate Animal, but now I see it in a new light. Animal is a creative and fun album that goes deeper than the party persona it puts on.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Knowing Movie Review

"Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the LORD in the air; and so we shall always be with the LORD." 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Last movie of the semester, Devon picked Knowing.

A review of Knowing (2009), starring Nicholas Cage.

I've seen a lot of Christian movies, most of them are bad, including Knowing. But Knowing has the audacity to be really fun and interesting. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Very tense.

I thought it was really weird. I didn't even realize it was a Biblical allegory until like 90 minutes in. It may be a bit gnostic (heretical) but I think that's more an accident of script wring. Some scenes were really pretty and some had terrible effects. Mixed bag. And Nic Cage is goofy ahh as an actor.

3/10, an absolute blast. I recommend.