After three years and seven singles, Ke$ha has carved out a comfortable space in the pop-music landscape: She's a Dirty Girl, and she's proud of it. Ke$ha pounded this image into our heads from the first verse of her first song, and it's been a savvy move. In the realm of pop stars so perfect they can seem almost plastic—how often do you think Nicki Minaj actually wishes she was Barbie?—Ke$ha's owned the counter-brand. She doesn't give a shit what you think about her, and that's awesome.

But this star image exists in a weird contrast to the sound of Ke$ha's singles, most of which could double for Nicki Minaj or Katy Perry songs with a minimum of tinkering. (Or even zero tinkering.) It's not that she or her image are "fake"; it's that she's found a way to sell the same product to a different audience. It's a tricky line to walk, and that Ke$ha's been able to do it so effortlessly is a testament to her pop skill.

Ke$ha's comeback single, "Die Young," has drawn fire in the days since its release for its supposed unoriginality, with The Prophet Blog going as far to call it a straight-up sequel to Flo Rida's "Good Feeling" (which it does sort of sound like). But after spinning it incessantly in the Popdust office all week, we've realized there's a lot more going on in the track than its critics give it credit for.

I hear your heart beat to the beat of the drums

Oh what a shame that you came here with someone

So while you're here in my arms

Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young

Ke$ha front-loads the track with the chorus, and right from the start she's surprising us. Not with the lyrics, which are normal "We're in the club" fare, but with her voice. She's singing in something close to her "normal" voice here, with none of the English she put on the choruses of "TiK ToK" and "We R Who We R." This runs the risk of making Ke$ha sound like another anonymous hook girl, but she avoids it by taking the lines in unexpected directions. Listen to the downward melisma of "here in my ar-a-arms" again—it's like nothing else on the radio right now.

Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young

Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young

We're not going to lie to you and pretend this is a totally original idea for a hook. There's a clear line of continuation from "Dance Until The World Ends," through "You Only Live Once" and "Live While We're Young," to the sentiment on display here. For whatever reason, every artist in pop right now has latched onto this Romantic "Man lebt nur einmal!"  mood. (Let's just say it's because of the recession, and move on.) But Ke$ha puts a significantly darker spin on the message, even while she's shouting it joyously: You get the sense that to her, dying young might not be the worst thing in the world.

Young hearts, out our minds

Runnin' like we outta time

Wild childs, lookin' good

Livin' hard just like we should

Don't care who's watching when we tearing it up (you know)

That magic that we got nobody can touch (for sure)

It's almost a minute into the song before Ke$ha unveils her "Ke$ha voice," that nasally white-girl flow that millions have found strangely captivating. Just as in previous verses in her career, here she favors the plural boast over the singular. Very rarely is Ke$ha bragging about being a badass all by herself; she's always part of a gang (of girls, we can usually assume from context clues, but not this time). The backing vocals underline this: They're part of Ke$ha's crew and they've got her back, no matter how many people find her annoying.

Also, the ice caps will melt before Ke$ha ever pronounces a G at the end of a word.

Looking for some trouble tonight

Take my hand, I'll show you the wild, side

Like it's the last night of our lives

We'll keep dancing till we die

Another unexpected direction in the lyrics. We've listened to this song 12 times in a row now, and every time we expect that second line to resolve with "show you the light."

Young hunks, taking shots

Stripping down to dirty socks

Music up, gettin' hot

Kiss me, give me all you've got

It's pretty obvious that you've got a crush (you know)

That magic in your pants, it's making me blush (for sure)

The final verse keeps us firmly in Ke$ha World, a strange land of hot guys, secret clubs and PG-13 hookups. Peep the details here: The bros she's macking on are not just normal dudes—they're "hunks." (Ke$ha is one of only two people we can think of who still use the word "hunk," the other being Dr. Steve Brule.) And they're not just getting naked—they're getting down to their "dirty socks." She's a modern-day Toulouse-Lautrec, that Ke$ha, painting portraits of grubby decadence. And with that line about digging the "magic in your pants," well, it looks like the guys of Next may finally have found their dream girl.

After more than a year away, does Ke$ha still have a place in pop music? We hope so: No one else working right now can make getting dirty sounds so clean.

Here are the full lyrics. You can play the song at the bottom of the post!

I hear your heart beat to the beat of the drums

Oh what a shame that you came here with someone

So while you're here in my arms

Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young

We're gonna die young

We're gonna die young

Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young

Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young

Young hearts, out our minds

Runnin' like we outta time

Wild childs, lookin' good

Livin' hard just like we should

Don't care whose watching when we tearing it up (you know)

That magic that we got nobody can touch (for sure)

Looking for some trouble tonight

Take my hand, I'll show you the wild, side

Like it's the last night of our lives

We'll keep dancing till we die

I hear your heart beat to the beat of the drums

Oh what a shame that you came here with someone

So while you're here in my arms,

Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young

We're gonna die young

We're gonna die young

Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young

Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young

Young hunks, taking shots

Stripping down to dirty socks

Music up, gettin' hot

Kiss me, give me all you've got

It's pretty obvious that you've got a crush (you know)

That magic in your pants, it's making me blush (for sure)

Looking for some trouble tonight

Take my hand i'll show you the wild, side

Like it's the last night of our lives

We'll keep dancing till we die

I hear your heart beat to the beat of the drums

Oh what a shame that you came here with someone

So while you're here in my arms,

Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young

I hear your heart beat to the beat of the drums

Oh what a shame that you came here with someone

So while you're here in my arms

Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young

We're gonna die young

We're gonna die young

Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young