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The album cover for Kesha's latest album, "Gag Order." Photo courtesy of Spotify.

REVIEW: The nightmare symbolism of Kesha’s new “Gag Order”


Kesha released the music video for “Only Love Can Save Us Now” – a song off her most recent album “Gag Order” on Thursday, June 15.

The video is laced with religious imagery in a nightmare dystopia, continuing to develop the themes Kesha introduced within the album itself: learning how to live with trauma.

Kesha sued Dr. Luke, her current producer, for sexual and emotional abuse. He has since sued Kesha for defamation. As the legal battle continues to ensue, the impact it has taken on her is evident from the album, according to Vulture. In her new music video, Kesha reflects on her career and life as honestly as she can — bearing her heart to the world.

The purpose of the video seems to be to make people uncomfortable, which she does well. At the beginning of the video, a group of people walk around her. They are unbothered as she begs and prays for love and is dragged around the floor. The bluntness of the scenes are astute and unnerving – conveying the loneliness she feels.

This parallels the video for her song “Living in My Head” as she is seen getting pulled from different sides by her arm and leg by disembodied hands – eventually getting dropped by them.

The video is a gut-wrenching depiction of what it feels like to be overcome by your own thoughts and left feeling hopeless and terrified. She draws back to this emotion clearly with the people around her in the music video.

The honesty she has brought to the lyrics in the album is not lost once in the video. Throughout, the viewer sees someone tied up in a red body bag. It is stark and gruesome, and makes Kesha’s pleading to god for love and support all the more intense.

While the video is rooted in suffering, it also does not shy away from rage. Personifying herself as the devil, Kesha takes back the suffering that has been forced upon her. “I don't got no shame left, baby. That's my freedom,” she sings.

The video for the song ‘Happy’ uses similar imagery with her being suffocated by a plastic bag, which she is able to rip off by the end, but is left still struggling to breath. The video makes the pain she has endured  all the more vivid and harsh.

While the ‘Only Love Can Save Us Now’ video is deep with dark undertones, comedy is not lost. Many scenes depict a person in a nude bodysuit with Kesha's face distorted over their head. They walk and run around the empty streets freely, and introduce the video with a little dance.

These scenes are wildly absurd, but make the viewer laugh. She uses humor to make her audience question if they are laughing out of hilarity or confusion.

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The video brings us into the ever-present grief and hurt that is embedded in ‘Gag Order’ while also staying true to the absurdity Kesha has long not shied away from — showing resilience and pain freely.

Maddie Pukite is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at on Twitter @maddogpukite


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