Kesha performs onstage, dressed in red
(Sarah Morris/WireImage/Getty Images)

Kesha’s New Single Is a Triumph

To quote the woman herself, “IT’S KESHA SUMMER BITCHESSSSS”!

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On June 29, Kesha announced that her new single, “Joyride,” would drop on July 4, 2024—U.S. Independence Day. The date is significant because it’s her first single as an independent artist following the fulfillment of her contract with producer Dr. Luke, whom she sued for sexual assault in 2014. The court ultimately came down on the side of Kesha’s alleged abuser multiple times, but now that the contract is complete, that no longer matters.

What does matter is “Joyride,” a triumphant, dancey single that draws from every era of Kesha’s career so far for a funky and experimental sound that will surely top the charts all summer. The branding? Gas station chic. The colors? Vibrant and heavily contrasted. It’s Kesha the self-determined party girl, lapping up Joyride-branded Big Gulps, dancing, and gassing up vintage cars. Unfortunately, she did get kicked out of the gas station where she filmed the promotional photos for the single, but she seems less than concerned.

Her fans are also hyping her up, with many people (myself included) blasting “Joyride” on repeat. As soon as the beat drops, her vocals come in, and her intentions are clear. “Are you a man? / ‘Cause I’m a bitch / I’m already rich / Just looking for that mmmm,” she croons in the opening verse, “This party sucks / I’m ’bout to ditch.” Then backup vocals add, “Don’t even try to g-give me shit / I’ve earned the right / To b-be like this” before she growls, “Oh, you say you love me?” and giggles through “That’s funny / Well so do I.”

Unlike the lyrics on her last studio album under contract with Dr. Luke, Gag Order, “Joyride” makes little mention of the trauma Kesha has faced for the last decade-plus. “Keep your eyes on the road,” she instructs. It’s full speed ahead from here on out, and she’s prioritizing what she wants.

In comments on an Instagram reel where Kesha sings along to the track with friends, the comments are full of caps and exclamation points. “celebrating ✨independence day✨ I’m going on a JOY RIDE ??,” writes one fan. “ITS A SMASH HIT I FEAR,” writes another. Comments on a slideshow of promotional photos captioned “MIDNIGHT” are similarly excited. “It’s already on repeat here???,” says one, and another assures, “IT’S EVERYTHING MOTHER.”

Reactions are similar on Twitter/X, with one fan writing, “?POP EMERGENCY? KESHA IS MAKING DANCE MUSIC AGAIN!! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!” Kesha reshared the post. She also quote-tweeted @PopBase, writing, “i couldn’t have made it through without all of you. now we joyride.”

The release of “Joyride” precedes a smattering of tour dates, which will surely be followed by more in the near future. Kesha is performing at Wawa’s Welcome to America Festival in Philadelphia on July 4, then headlining the Official Lollapalooza Aftershow at the House of Blues in Chicago on July 31 before performing at Lollapalooza itself. After that, she’s heading to Mexico City to perform at Festival HERA HSBC.

There’s currently no word about Kesha’s next album, but if “Joyride” is any indication, it will be absolutely iconic—even more so because it will mark her first full release as a completely independent artist.

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Samantha Puc
Samantha Puc (she/they) is a fat, disabled, lesbian writer and editor who has been working in digital and print media since 2010. Their work focuses primarily on LGBTQ+ and fat representation in pop culture and their writing has been featured on Refinery29, Bitch Media, them., and elsewhere. Samantha is the co-creator of Fatventure Mag and she contributed to the award-winning Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives. They are an original cast member of Death2Divinity, and they are currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction at The New School. When Samantha is not working or writing, she loves spending time with her cats, reading, and perfecting her grilled cheese recipe.