Album Review

Ke$ha’s time is up

January 4, 2010

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Say what you will about last year’s big bubblegum anthems - from Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA’’ to Lady Gaga’s string of pop confections - but compared to “TiK ToK,’’ those songs are practically masterpieces written by Bob Dylan and produced by Phil Spector.

“TiK ToK’’ is the new radio hit from Ke$ha, a blond party girl who came out of nowhere to become 2010’s first breakout act. The 22-year-old Nashville native was hungry for stardom wherever she could find it; she recently told The New York Times that she had tried country, rock, and electro-pop before throwing some “rap’’ into her music.

It’s hard to remember the last time an album so flat and vacuous generated such a buzz. That dollar sign in Ke$ha’s name tells you everything you need to know about her debut, “Animal,’’ a shallow hodgepodge of 2009’s tried-and-true formulas. She’s done her homework, copping some of Lady Gaga’s beats (“Your Love Is My Drug’’), Ryan Tedder’s way with a thumping ballad (“Hungover’’), Katy Perry’s bratty mischief (“Party at a Rich Dude’s House’’), and a lot of T-Pain’s Auto-Tune studio sorcery (“Blind’’).

Even though Ke$ha supposedly co-wrote all of these songs, her personality is completely missing from them. Reaching for attitude, she ends up sounding vapid and faceless, as if she doesn’t even believe what she’s singing. Does she really toss a guy aside if he doesn’t look like Mick Jagger? Um, does she even know who that is?

Like the sound Ke$ha’s hit single references, you can almost hear the clock counting down her 15 minutes of fame. Tick, tock. (Out tomorrow) JAMES REED

Ke$ha Animal
ESSENTIAL Essential? Are you kidding?