Much like that annoying person trying way to hard too be your friend, spam e-mail, and herpes, Ke$ha refuses to go away. Having finally exhausted debut record Animal for single-worthy material (a term I’m using very loosely), Ke$ha went back to the studio to toss off 8 new songs based on her experiences this year to be bundled with Animal called Cannibal. And yes, this sounds exactly like what Lady Gaga did at exactly this time last year with The Fame Monster. I’ll be honest; because of the Follow the Leader Effect with Gaga, part of me (a small part) did legitimately think that maybe this’d be surprisingly great. I mean, Gaga followed up her mediocre debut album with a streamlined EP, so could Ke$ha do the same?
Well, she seems to answer the question about, oh, 20 seconds into Cannibal by rhyming “famous” with “anus”. The title track might be the nadir of 2010 pop music. Ke$ha’s “I suck at rapping” rap voice grumbles above a barely tolerable beat. Now, since we’re dealing with Ke$ha, bad lyrics should be a given, but “Cannibal” sounds like shit pulled out of a 14 year old’s notebook after watching Silence of the Lambs (“I eat boys up/Breakfast and lunch/Then when I’m thirsty/I drink their blood”).
Next up is lead single “We R Who We R”, a song that I gave a pretty thorough thrashing in a Radio Rant a few weeks ago. Short version: great beat, awful performer. Then comes “Sleazy”, produced in part by Bangladesh, which stands the chance of being a decent song for about 10 seconds before becoming a knockoff of Lil Wayne’s super annoying “A Milli”. Is every song on here about the club? Do they all mention alcohol, boys, or sex? Do they all use Ke$ha’s Valley Gurl hick accent which is more obnoxious here than it ever was before? Auto-Tune?
The answer is a resounding yes. And aside from Ke$ha’s inherent terribleness, that’s the record’s greatest flaw: it’s all the same. Take out the stupid giggle at the start of “Blow”, and I wouldn’t know that “Sleazy” even ended. I will say this: the group effort by Ammo, Billboard, Bangladesh, Max Martin, and Dr. Luke on Cannibal‘s production makes for the more interesting parts of the EP. But still, their work is too predictable after a while: start with a bleepy-bloopy synth line, throw in a generic beat, add in some club electropop textures, and done.
It’s also awfully derivative. The ballad “The Harold Song” is a faceless “I’m trying to show my good side, I swear guys” song if I ever hard one. “Grow a Pear” sounds like “California Gurls”, funny since “California Gurls” is basically a lazy rewrite of “Tik Tok”, and features even dumber lyrics (“I just can’t date a dude with a vag” says the woman whose current single proclaims “We are who we are” because contradiction is fun!). “Grow a Pear”‘s only memorable quality is how audaciously crude and attention whoring it is, which is kind of impressive considering it’s Ke$ha.
“C U Next Tuesday” would be clever if Britney hadn’t done a better version of that joke with “If You Seek Amy” two years ago. But the bad title aside, this song is actually good; the melody’s pretty, the backing music is the right mix of good ideas, and Ke$ha’s lyrics manage to show a vulnerable side to her party slut persona.
That aside, Cannibal ultimately fails on just about every front, and as a result, has the worst possible outcome: boring. At two ok-but-I’d-never-go-out-of-my-way-to-hear-them songs (“C U Next Tuesday” and just barely “We R Who We R”), one truly awful one (“Cannibal”), and a bunch of filler, this is more of the same. Ke$ha’s still the over Auto-Tuned, crass, gross chick she was on “Tik Tok”, but it’s not surprising anyone anymore. Cannibal wants to be a freak, but it’s no Fame Monster. Two stars.
tl;dr: It wasn’t even the disaster I was hoping for. Two stars.