Attention Ke$ha fans who thought they were enjoying monster radio hits like “Tik Tok” and “Your Love Is My Drug” ironically: The paragon of bag-lady stylishness is in on the comically exaggerated awfulness of her disreputable (and maddeningly catchy) 2010 debut Animal, and she isn’t afraid to push herself into full-blown ridiculousness on the new “mini-album” Cannibal. The ghoulish title track has the notorious man-eater literally feasting on human flesh, expressing ambivalence for a former crush (“Now that I’m famous, you’re up my anus”) while likening herself to Jeffrey Dahmer as she licks up the guy’s liver and uses his finger as a teaspoon. The way Ke$ha openly, even gleefully courts gross-out obnoxiousness doesn’t totally justify her music’s inherent evanescence, but damn if Cannibal isn’t just as giggle-inducing as Animal.
While she occasionally goes too far even by the exceedingly lax standards of a Ke$ha record—really, “C U Next Tuesday”?—Ke$ha is in full command of her artlessness on Cannibal, marrying airhead kiss-offs with chirpily upbeat, ringtone-ready dance-pop. Only the melodramatic heartbreak of “The Harold Song” feels out of place; the intensity of the “young love murder” that Ke$ha sings about in the chorus doesn’t belong in the same universe as “Grow A Pear,” where an anonymous pantywaist who wants to talk about feelings and shit is dismissed with a curt “I just can’t date a dude with a vag.” As a human being, Ke$ha is a terrible failure. As an excuse for “dancing like we’re dumb,” which she endorses on the “let’s get fucking fucked-up” rager “We R Who We R,” she’s a complete and utter genius.