Pop Music

Ke$ha and the Flaming Lips deliver 2012's most unexpectedly great collaboration

We expected a lot from the collaboration between Ke$ha and The Flaming Lips -- something rocky, guitar-heavy and feisty, Ke$ha bringing the personality and The Flaming Lips bringing an unmatched quirkiness. What we got, however, was the first decidedly brilliant collaboration Ke$ha has ever done. Even 3Oh!3 must realize this.

Make no mistake. "2012 (You Must Be Upgraded)" is not a Ke$ha song, or at least not one in the same vein as her older material like "We R Who We R." Found on The Flaming Lips' new album The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, which was released on Record Store Day last weekend, "2012 (You Must Be Upgraded)" features Biz Markie and a host of sonic creativity. If pop comparisons must be made, think Sleigh Bells for its noise-pop guitar thrash and, however subtly and unexpectedly, even the Velvet Underground for its flute-led atmospherics near the two-minute mark. "Tik Tok" this ain't. By a long shot.

Props to Wayne Coyne and company for coercing Ke$ha to put down the auto-tuner long enough to be more serious here. It's a welcomed move for Ke$ha. With no mention of getting sleazy, it's easier to respect the woman for her uncaged, I Don't Give A Fuck artistry -- even if she's switched from a bottle of Jack to acid: "Put me under your acid spell/'Cause I want my mind to be completely toast."

This isn't the first time Ke$ha has shown us a more serious side. She also covered "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" for Chimes Of Freedom, a collection of Bob Dylan covers released for Amnesty International's 50th anniversary at the beginning of this year. Her cover, like "2012," only proves that there's a more interesting side to Ke$ha than what we hear with the rehashed pop formulas by Dr. Luke that she's been releasing for the past two years of her career.

Ke$ha has said that her next album, this year's Spandex On The Distant Horizon, will be full of 1970s-influenced cock rock. If that's true, then her collaboration with The Flaming Lips is surely a taste of what's to come.

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