We knew Ke$ha was a classic rock acolyte from the first time she detailed her requirements for prospective suitors to look like Mick Jagger, but for the most part, the attitude has been all that she's shared musically with her rock heroes, her productions tending to be much more of the dance-pop variety. But that is about to change. As K-Dollar told MTV at the Wango Tango concert over the weekend, her new album is a return of the rock. Said Ke$ha of her upcoming Animal follow-up:
It's gonna be balls-out, irreverent rock and roll. I've been pretty much in this '70s rock and roll kick and I just want to capture some of the true essence of what rock and roll is, and that's just irreverence and sexiness and fun and not giving a f---...so we'll definitely put a bit of rock and roll in it.
Hey, sounds good to us—we could use a teensy bit of a break from the Dr. Luke overflow, anyway. But if Ke$ha really wants to show us that she's done her homework in the "true essence of rock and roll," there'd be no better way than to take a stab at covering one or two of the 70s classics that made her modern-day sleaziness possible. A handful of suggestions, then:
- Iggy Pop - "Lust for Life." Ke$ha has never made a secret of her love for the Ig, recently even citing Pop's "Real Wild Child" as her all-time favorite song. That song's a little too new wavey for what we're going for here (and was released in 1986, anyway), but the similarly adrenalized "Lust for Life" is certainly fair game. Liquor, drugs, flesh machines, GTOs, ear-penetration—chances are pretty good K-Dollar could find something to work with here. Plus, the dream beat could probably be translated to clubland fairly seamlessly and awesomely.
- Nazareth - "Hair of the Dog." Scottish 70s rockers Nazareth are best remembered today for their proto-power ballad, proto-emo version of "Love Hurts," but far more rocking was their AOR staple "Hair of the Dog," with its classic intro (forget "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," this is the classic rock song that got the most mileage out of a single cowbell), impossibly tasty guitar lick, and immortal chorus proclamation: "Now you're messin' with a / son of a biii-iiitch!!" Cocky, sneering, and titled after an old-school hangover remedy—if the song didn't already exist, Ke$ha might have had to write it herself.
- Heart - "Magic Man." Duh. Though most of her classic rock heroes tend to be male, it seems only fair to give Ke$ha at least one female-sung anthem to toy with. And as far as female-led '70s rock bands went, none came more balls out and irreverent than Heart, whose "Magic Man" was easily as strutting and leery as anything ever written by KISS or Led Zeppelin. We understand that modern-day pop concessions may require the excising of the song's unspeakably brilliant Moog synth breakdown in the bridge, though it breaks our heart just the same.
- Nick Gilder - "Hot Child in the City." Not exactly a name on par with some of the others on this list in terms of rock cred, one-hit wonder Nick Gilder certainly packed an entire Hall of Fame career's worth of sleaze into his one hit, "Hot Child in the City." Gilder topped the charts in 1978 with his tale of underage seduction, and though he later claimed the song to actually be a cautionary tale told from the perspective of a lecher to draw attention to the societal ill of child prostitution, the song sounded convincingly libidinous enough that the message tended to get lost on the AM waves. Not that Ke$ha or anyone else would be able to get away with a song like this now, but if you did hear that a pop star—male or female—had covered a '70s song about preying on a hot young thing, who would be your first guess as to who it was? It probably wouldn't be Adele or Bruno Mars, anyway.
- Foghat - "Fool for the City." Talk about a lost classic in dire need of a modern-day update. In today's era of city-and-state-specific pop songs, Foghat's second-best-known song ("Slow Ride" is still the all-time classic, sure, but it's been done) could make a fantastic anthem for whatever slice of urban sprawl Ke$ha is calling home these days. Replace the guitars (some of them, anyway, not all of them) with some barnstorming synths and emphasize the four-on-the-floor nature of the beat, and you have a guaranteed club-filler across the country.
Make it happen, Ke$ha. The kids need to learn about cock rock sooner or later—better through you than some misguided Dazed and Confused-themed week of American Idol.