Warrior is the title of the second studio album by American recording artist, Ke$ha. It was released by RCA Records on December 4, 2012. Following a musical hiatus in 2011, Ke$ha spent the year embarking on other ventures – including becoming the ambassador for the Humane Society – and began recording the album in the first quarter of 2012. Writing of the album began in 2011 while the singer was on tour and continued into 2012. Ke$ha announced at the MTV Video Music Awards, and via her Twitter, that the track, "Die Young" is the lead single and it was released on September 25, 2012.
Background and Development
At the age of eighteen, Ke$ha signed to Łukasz Gottwald's label, Kemosabe Records, and his publishing company, Prescription Songs. She later signed a multi-album record deal with RCA Records, releasing her first album, Animal, in January 2010. The album subsequently received gold, platinum or multi-platinum certification in 11 markets worldwide. In June 2010, Ke$ha first spoke about her second album, which was covered by MTV News. During the original interview she revealed that she was already beginning to think about her second album and explained that it was going differ from her first record, specifically commenting that it would reflect her growth: "There's definitely going to be a difference. I'm always changing and evolving and because I write all of my own music it will be reflective of the record. It'll still stay fun and young and irreverent." After the release of her first album Ke$ha embarked on her first worldwide tour, the Get Sleazy Tour throughout 2011. While touring she began writing songs for her second album but recording and other work on the album was not commenced until she had completed the tour.
In 2011, the singer took a hiatus from music to embark on other ventures. She was hired by the Humane Society and became their first global ambassador, which consumed her time as she made a documentary for National Geographic that revolved around "animals being abused and how to stop that, or animals that are going extinct and how to help those animals." The album includes a variety of different musical participants, which was explained by the singer: "The range of artists I want to work with is so vast it’s bizarre. If someone is a real artist, you can’t confine them to a particular genre. It’s my mission to make it all make sense somehow." Along with expanding her collaborations, the singer expanded her musical repertoire, as she began playing the guitar significantly more with the plans of incorporating it into her new material. In February 2012, while being interviewed by Glamour, Ke$ha stated that while she was currently in the process of writing songs for her album, she was also taking a variety of instrument lessons, emphasizing specifically that she was taking guitar lessons.
Title and concept
In March 2011, Ke$ha revealed in an interview with Beatweek Magazine that she had already chosen the title for the record, calling it Spandex on the Distant Horizon However Billboard, in a publication in May 2012, stated that the project was currently untitled. The album's underlying theme stems around embracing a person's inner warrior, which the singer elaborated on: "I’ve seen how many people my music can reach, and I’ve realized that I have somewhat of a social responsibility to make sure everything I say is positive. The underlying theme of this next record is warrior, with the positive message being that everyone has a warrior inside."
Ke$ha has said she intends to work with Łukasz Gottwald and Max Martin on a variety of tracks. She also expressed interest in enlisting the production duo, the Dust Brothers, who are known for producing tracks for the Rolling Stones, Beastie Boys and Beck. Her friend Paul Nicholls, a DJ, was also named as a potential participant in construction of the album. According to MTV, Ke$ha entered the studio with Luke in January 2012. Both Ke$ha and Luke had been working on material for the upcoming project but had yet to start studio sessions prior to January. Ke$ha reported via Twitter in March 2012 she was recording the album with Luke and Benny Blanco. In the recording studio together they created a track described by the singer as a "cock-pop" influenced song.
Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips first expressed interest in working with Ke$ha in January 2012. Coyne said he knew she was a fan of his work and felt that a collaboration between the two would be a "perfect match." The duo reportedly collaborated at the Lips' studio in January 2012. A track called "2012" was created during a February recording session in Nashville and was released on the Lips' album, The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends. In March 2012, Coyne told Rolling Stone that he was in the development stages of talking to Ke$ha about working with her on her new material. Along with "2012", Wayne and Ke$ha's first collaboration created three other songs, all of which belonged to Ke$ha. Coyne was later asked if he still intended to contribute to her album he responded, stating: "I'm trying to. I think we're getting together right before Easter. We've already done three songs-- they're hers". According to Twitter messages by Coyne, recording between the duo continued in April 2012 and a track that discussed "futuristic sex toys" was created. Coyne and Ke$ha revealed via Twitter that a song titled "You Control My Heart" was created. Coyne announced that he was in the process of mixing the song. "Past Life", a track described by Coyne as a "stellar track" was confirmed to be another collaboration between the pair. Altogether, Coyne and Ke$ha's collaboration yielded around six or seven tracks.
In mid April 2012, Billboard published an article claiming that Scottish producer Calvin Harris had contributed several tracks to the upcoming album. Their specific recording date was unknown. In May 2012, Ke$ha continued to record with Dr. Luke, and artist Sia Furler. Rock singer Iggy Pop was also revealed as a collaborator, when the singer tweeted a picture in May 2012 saying that the singer would feature on the record. Billboard later confirmed Iggy Pop would feature on "Dirty Love", produced by Dr. Luke. Ke$ha continued to work with Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco, and with new collaborators Henry Walter and Fun. lead singer Nate Ruess - the four created a track described by Blanco as "old hippie rock". That track was later revealed as "Die Young". Ke$ha revealed that she and Dr Luke had created 17 incomplete songs, including "Last Goodbye", "Die Young" and "Supernatural". She commented on the sound, "I want it to be a mix of what works on the radio and what I listen to in my spare time," she says. "I'm on a steady diet of T. Rex and Iggy Pop."
Influence and sound
In contrast to her debut album, Ke$ha has said her second album will also incorporate Rock genres, inspired from the music of the 1970s. She has stated her love for rock music will be incorporate it into this album. 1970s rock singers Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Iggy Pop's album, The Idiot, were cited as musical inspirations for the next record. She wants the album to explore different sounds and Ke$ha has said the record will be more experimental than her first. She wants to incorporate elements of blues music, saying, "I definitely want the next record to be experimental and I would love to play with all the different sounds of the music I listen to. I really want some dirty guitar and I wouldn't mind if there were elements of blues." On her first record Ke$ha imposed a restriction on her producers limiting their use of guitars. In order to encompass visceral energy on the record she lifted this restriction and instead has chosen to focus on the inclusion of guitars to try and capture the sound of the 70s and 80s. Ke$ha has commented on the sound of the record, stating that it will remain a pop album, but that it will also branch away from her previous "white-girl rap": "Some people will be shocked. Some will also be excited to know that I don’t just do silly white-girl rap. I’m from the South, I have a lot of soul. But trust me—it’s not going to be some avant-garde jazz record. I innately write pop songs. That’s just what I do."
Songs and lyrics
Ke$ha has said the songs will be inspired by her experiences during her tours. In contrast to her first record which featured music described by the singer as "very brash and very sassy and very unapologetic and irreverent", she says the second album will makes a lyrical departure and explores a more vulnerable side in its lyrics. She explained: "I have learned over the past three years of doing this that being vulnerable doesn't mean you're weak. I very much want to be seen as a strong woman, but I realize that vulnerability can also be a strength. So on my next record, you are going to hear probably a little more of that." Ke$ha commented, in an interview with Rolling Stone, "The first two records talked more about partying, which is a great, magical part of life, but some songs on the new record are more personal and vulnerable. And you can hear more of the music I listen to when I'm lying in my bed. I'm not claiming that it's a rock record – but as long as it's fucking good, you can call it whatever you want."
Promotion and release
The album was tentatively slated for a release in May 2012, but now it is set to be released on November 30, 2012. It was originally expected to be released near the end of 2011 but the delay between albums was because Ke$ha wanted to try and make an album that could shift the sound of pop music into a more rock direction. The album is currently set to be released on November 30th in Australia and New Zealand (Sony Music). United Kingdom (Columbia) will see a December 3rd release, and lastly, United States (RCA) on December 4th. 25 second clips of each song were released on November 21st.
Under a month prior to the release, Ke$ha's official site started a hunt in promotion for the album. The instructions were posted on the site and included the usage of Twitter and travelling by foot.
"Zoom in on the map by tweeting #KeshaWarrior to discover the location of each symbol, then search the area on foot to find it. Each symbol has a secret link on it. Whoever discovers the symbol first and visits the link will unlock exclusive music or video for the entire world (and be able to claim the symbol as their own)."
The first prize, "C'mon", was discovered by ItsJustinJeez on November 16, 2012.
The second prize, a behind the scenes video for the album photoshoot, was discovered by BadGirlTechna on November 20, 2012.
The fourth prize, Early Access, was discovered by KylieMcGregor on November 26, 2012.
Early Access opened a page on iTunes with the following description.
"Listen to Entire Album for Free"
"For a limited time you can listen to the new album from the queen of celebratory, reckless pop for free. Warrior is a bold yet irreverent album that mixes up rock 'n' roll bombast with dance pulsations. Lead single "Die Young" is just one of the album's unapologetically brash high points. The album is also available to pre-order.
The fifth prize, the Deconstructed version of "Supernatural", was discovered by Jeppesuxx on November 30, 2012.
The sixth prize, a short film titled "K$ Warrior Interrogation", was discovered by carloseanopry7 on December 3, 2012.
The album is scheduled to be released on December 4th as an LP bundled with an exclusive EP released on Ke$ha's official site containing five acoustic songs. In order to promote her album, Ke$ha announced she would released an acoustic EP, composed of deconstructed songs from Warrior. It was released exclusively to Ke$ha's website in the United States and featured acoustic transformations of lead single "Die Young" and other Warrior track "Supernatural" - as well as featuring a cover of Dolly Parton's song "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You". It was announced on November 14, 2012 that the EP would be called Deconstructed. The album's artwork was revealed the same day.
The acoustic version of "Die Young" was released onto iTunes as a promotional single on November 29, 2012.
Ke$ha announced that the lead single will be the track, "Die Young" and that it is due for release on September 25, 2012. The track was soon uploaded to Ke$ha's BMI following the announcement, and was co-written by Fun. lead singer Nate Ruess. Co-producer Benny Blanco described the track as "old hippie rock." "C'mon" was officially released as a single and serviced to mainstream radio on January 17, 2013, as reported by FMBQ. The third single off the album was "Crazy Kids" featuring will.i.am.