Kesha’s lead single from her forthcoming album High Road is here and it’s both hot and holy. It also manages to stretch out ample opportunity for a stray twerk or two, thanks to the hypnotizing background chants of Big Freedia. It’s called “Raising Hell,” and it comes with a video that does exactly that, showing the events leading up to a TV preacher (played by Kesha herself) going on the run for murder.
It’s an eye-opening and frequently surprising visual that leaves you wondering where it will go next. Kesha’s truly back, and it’s a thrill to see her artistry go to bold new places.
Lyrically, “Raising Hell” is silly, soft, and sexy. Kesha casually sings about wanting to go to heaven, though she has to raise hell first. She comes back to it throughout the song, while Big Freedia uses her voice to motion you to the dance floor and shake what your mama gave you.
The accompanying video, though, is much darker. In it, Kesha is a TV preacher who leads a congregation with a million-dollar smile, magical healing hands, and the kind of charisma that makes her choir practically jump for joy to be in her presence. But behind the scenes, she has an abusive husband who makes her life a living hell.
One day, after a hot bath, she tries to embrace her husband and things turn violent. In the span of a couple seconds, Kesha’s husband is dead in an act of self-defense. She then sits for a while, coming to grasp with the weight of what she’s done, and eventually goes on the run. She doesn’t make it far, ending up arrested on live TV while a family, that presumably attended her church, watches in horror. It’s all directed by Luke Gilford, who’s also helmed clips for Troye Sivan and Christina Aguilera.
Kesha recently released a trailer for High Road that compares life to a vacation “from where we go when we die.” For two minutes, she previews wacky songs from the album and their accompanying videos that are equally as chaotic. “I feel like this time around I’ve reclaimed my love of life,” she wrote of the album on Instagram.
Watch Kesha preach to a congregation in “Raising Hell” up above.