Kesha has released “Woman,” the second single from her upcoming album, and while it’s less (seemingly) specifically topical than “Praying,” it bears a similar harnessing of pop’s potential for explosive feminist revelation. As in “Praying,” Kesha again vocally lets loose, bolstered by horns that slink through the song then rejoice in bursts. These come via the Dap-Kings, the band most known for having been fronted by the late great Sharon Jones (when they went by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings), not to mention having contributed to Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black.
The music video for the track — co-directed by Kesha and her brother Lagan — is simple but joyous, seeing Kesha driving up to a bar in her convertible, entering, and taking over with her band and song. Kesha accompanied the release with an essay about the song in Rolling Stone, wherein she also hinted at the overarching vibes of her upcoming Rainbow LP, mentioning influences from Iggy to the Beach Boys to T Rex to James Brown to Dolly Parton, and saying that much of it came from having toured with her band the Creepies and having had the room to do away with “big pop gimmicks.” She says the frill-less musical vulnerability of smaller concerts led her to gain “a lot of confidence in [her] vocal ability [she’d] never had before,” a confidence that’s certainly brought out in these first two tracks.
I realized that for most of my life I was intimidated to even try and run in the leagues of the people I look up to. With “Woman,” I hope my fans will hear that wild spirit still strong inside me but this time it was created more raw, spontaneously and with all live instrumentation, which I found was a huge reason I loved the records I did love. There were one or two or 12 different people playing real instruments together, and all that real human energy is exciting and very fun to listen to.
She also describes the inception of the song as coming from a situation anyone in L.A. will be familiar with: screaming in your car while stuck in traffic. She began screaming “I’m a motherfuckin’ woman” from within her vehicle — and if you skipped down to the song already, you’ll know that that became the chorus. She describes the scene of the song’s creation:
By the time I got the the studio, I was chanting “I’m a motherfucking woman.” The two men I was writing with that day didn’t quite know what to do with me. I proclaimed again: “I’m a motherfucking woman”! Then Drew Pearson got on the piano and Wrabel started laughing. I told them, I’m not fucking with you – this is the mood I’m in – and this is the song we are writing today.
Listen to “Woman”: