Ke$ha’s redemption

A major reason I watch the Billboard Music Awards is because it’s the perfect indicator of how out of touch I am with contemporary pop music.

Each year, the detachment grows. Eight years ago I could have probably guessed every song that was on the Billboard Hot 100 at any given time without looking.

In the years that followed, I tried my best to stay in the loop just because I enjoyed keeping up to date with pop culture.

Now I don’t even care anymore. Pop music has evolved in a way I never saw coming, and it’s totally left me behind.

Until yesterday, I thought Fetty Wap was an item on the Taco Bell menu. Turns out, however, he’s a rapper. I’d mock him more, but I also learned that he has glaucoma and it cost him one of his eyes. So you’re cool, Fetty. Or is it Mr. Wap? Either way, I’ll leave you be.

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And while the festivities at last night’s awards show got off the worst foot possible with a hideous Britney Spears lip-synced medley, the show was actually sprinkled with a few poignant and enjoyable performances.

Lukas Graham impressed me with his live rendition of 7 years. I’ve never actively listened to that song, but I’ve somehow heard it at least 20 times. And yet, he sounded really good live.

But the show clearly belonged to Celine Dion, who was honored with the Icon Award, and delivered a powerful performance of Queen’s The Show Must Go On, an appropriate choice considering that her husband, Rene Angelil, died just four months ago.

Celine doesn’t get enough love for having one of the best voices in the world. And yeah, I’ll admit it, I keep My Heart Will Go On on my iPod at all times, because you just never know when you’re going to want to listen to it. You just never know. So I play it safe.

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Arguably the biggest surprise of the night was when Ke$ha — the mastermind behind Tik Tok and We R Who We R, who has been caught up in a whirlwind lawsuit of alleged abuse from her producer, a case that’s gotten so much media attention that it actually earned my sympathy — performed a solemn, stripped down version of Bob Dylan’s It AIn’t Me Babe.

And let’s be real — the performance wasn’t anything extraordinary. But it was an organic, honest and raw performance from a girl singing from her heart. And that’s all you can ask for in music. She ditched the Auto-Tune, and showed the world she has a capable singing voice.

Last time I apologized out of sympathy. This time, I apologize out of sincerity. So much so that I will hereby drop the money sign from your name, Kesha. That’s how much you’ve won me over. Nicely done.

And finally, the show was wrapped by a tribute to Prince in a way that tributes should be donesimple and genuine.

There was no Lady Gaga busting out nine different David Bowie songs in five minutes. Rather, it was Madonna singing Nothing Compares 2 U, and then joined by Stevie Wonder for a duet of Purple Rain, two of the late musician’s most recognizable songs. Another job well done.

So despite having to tolerate Ludacris, who has the personality of an unsharpened No. 2 pencil, as host of the show, I actually .. enjoyed … watching the Billboard Music Awards this year. At least some of it.

Mainly because Fetty Wap really caught my eye this year.

Had to.

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Dear Ke$ha … I’m sorry.

Sometimes on this blog, I can tend to be a little hard on people.

But I like to think that my criticism is justified. I flay people when they deserve it, and I strike a conciliatory tone when I feel like they’ve redeemed themselves.

For example, in the past 12 months. I’ve changed course on both Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. Furthermore, the woman whose been most heavily revered on the Weinblog, Taylor Swift, has not been immune from my ridicule.

I like to think I’m fair.

So, along those lines, allow me to make amends with one celebrity that I’ve never quite taken seriously on this blog, and who has long been diminished to a mere running joke: Ke$ha.

Ke$ha

In my defense, the girl has made herself an easy target. From the random dollar sign in her name, to the scarcity of any substance in her songs, and finally, her questionable vocal abilities, it has been hard to treat Ke$ha like a true musical artist.

But she hasn’t done me any real harm, other than making music that is barely a notch above the sound produced when extra-long fingernails scratch a chalkboard. Plus, she was 22 years old when “Tik Tok” was released in 2009.

If I were to write a song about the things I enjoyed most when I was 22, it probably would have also been about drinking and partying. And Harry Potter. And chinstrap penguins. Man, that would have been a weird song.

(I’d wonder what Taylor Swift would sing about at 22, but she’s made that quite clear.)

Anyway, for those, reasons, I think Ke$ha has earned my forgiveness. And moreover, because of her latest legal struggles, she has also earned my sympathy.

For those who don’t get their regular dose of Entertainment Tonight, because they’re too busy doing more productive things, like reading and stuff, then you may not know Ke$ha courtthat the now 29-year-old is entangled in a legal mess with her producer, Dr. Luke, over claims of sexual abuse. Ke$ha has filed a civil suit against him, citing years of intimidation and control, including instances of sexual assault. Dr. Luke has emphatically denied these claims, and filed a defamation suit in response.

Last week, Ke$ha lost an injunction that would have allowed her to record a new album while her case proceeds, without involvement from Dr. Luke. A judge ruled against her, which inspired a #FreeKesha movement, drawing support from prominent singers like Ariana Grande, Lorde and Sara Bareilles.

Taylor Swift even sent her $250,000 to assist with her legal costs, which, for some reason, made Demi Lovato mad.

Anyway, the point is, Ke$ha, I’m sorry. From now on, you will no longer be the subject of mockery on my blog. And I hope everything works out OK for you.

And as further tribute to you, I will only use lyrics from your songs as my opening lines on Tinder for one whole week.

“Ain’t got a care in world, but got plenty of beer,
Ain’t got no money in my pocket, but I’m already here.”

“Your love, your love, your love is my drug,
Your love, your love, your love.”

“Tonight we’re going har har-har ha-ha-hard,
Just like the world is our our-our our-our-ours.”

Honestly, it really can’t do me any worse than the material I was using otherwise.

Like saying bomb on an airplane, the word timber should never be used out of context

What’s #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 right now? No, you don’t have to check. I’ll tell you. It’s “Timber” by Pitbull and featuring Ke$ha, a spot it’s held for three weeks.

Also known as, the song that comes on your radio that you change immediately, then lower the volume and change it right back. And if there’s somebody else in the car with you, you’ll throw in a “Eh, there’s nothing else on” when you do it.

The song is popular because of it’s catchy beat. Trust me, it has nothing to do with its lyrical prose, which goes something like this:

I have ’em like Miley Cyrus, clothes off/ Twerkin in their bras and thongs (timber) /Face down, booty up (timber) / That’s the way we like to what (timber)

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But in the past 10 to 15 years, I think people realized, with club songs at least, that no one really cares what the song is actually saying. Chris Rock had a very funny bit about exactly this several years ago. As long as a song has the beat and a catchy chorus, you could basically be telling people to stick a fork in an electrical socket and it wouldn’t make any difference.

(Don’t do that.)

But everyone knows the chorus, obviously. “It’s going down, I’m yelling timber!”

We already know that the word timber has just one purpose, and honestly, we only know that from what we see on television. I can’t speak for everyone, but when I think of the word, I see a hairy lumberjack standing in the middle of a forest, completely alone, chopping down a giant tree with an axe while shouting “timber!” to nobody in particular.

So by using this word in a song, Pitbull and Ke$ha, you’re taking it from the desolate, rugged depths of the wilderness, and bringing it to the club.

2013 American Music Awards - ShowThat’s just wrong. Lumberjacks have very few things in life. Flannel shirts — which we stole from them — beards, sharp weaponry and the word “timber.” And now they don’t even have that anymore.

You’ve opened a new tab since you started reading this blog and put on the song, didn’t you? God damn it.

In all honesty though, I really have no qualms with the song itself. I just find it kind of funny. For starters, Pitbull and Ke$ha is a very interesting collaboration.

I know I posted the lyrics above, but before that, has anybody ever understood a word that Pitbull has ever said before? He’s had like three big hits in the past couple of years, and I couldn’t tell you one line in any of them besides the chorus. For all we know, he may be speaking gibberish.

Ke$ha, meanwhile, may have found her niche. While everyone knows she doesn’t have the greatest voice, it is actually tolerable in small doses. And juxtaposed with a rapper like Pitbull (or Flo Rida in “Right Round”), it makes her voice sound better than it really is. So having her sing the chorus in a club song is perfect.

Also, I couldn’t help but notice that Ke$ha looks good now. Like, really good, and easily the best I’ve ever seen her. But after doing minimal research, I learned that she’s been battling a severe eating disorder recently, so badly that she’s had to check into rehab. So I guess that says something my personal taste. Girls, just stop eating if you want to look good.

(Don’t do that.)