The streak of stirring anthems continues with the release of Kesha's new single, "Hymn," from Rainbow, her upcoming album due to be released on Aug. 11. The beautiful "Hymn" lyrics make the song another powerful ode to the resilience and strength of women, as exemplified in the album's previous singles, "Praying," "Woman," and "Learn To Let Go." But her lyrics in the new track go a step further by shaking off the idea that she needs forgiveness for anything she's done or the person she's been in the past. Discarding that expectations turns "Hymn" into a celebration of self-love.
Right out of the gate, "Hymn" makes it clear that Kesha is done caring what other people think about her based on what they read in the news:
"Even the stars and the moon don't shine quite like we do
Dreamers searchin' for the truth, go on, read about us in the news
Pretty reckless, pretty wild, talking sh*t and we'll just smile"
But this isn't just a message of empowerment for her; Kesha's lyrics send a message of acceptance to anyone who has felt rejected or on the outside, and invites them to join her "team."
"After all we've been through, no, we won't stand and salute
So we just ride, we just cruise, livin' like there's nothing left to lose
If we die before we wake, who we are is no mistake
This is just the way we're made
You know what I mean, you on the team"
The chorus takes that team of misfits and gives them an anthem that allows them to find power in their outsider status.
"This is a hymn for the hymnless, kids with no religion
Yeah we keep on sinning, yeah we keep on singing
Flying down the highway, backseat of the Hyundai
Pull it to the front, let it run, we don't valet
Sorry if you're starstruck, blame it on the stardust
I know that I'm perfect, even though I'm f*cked up
Hymn for the hymnless, don't need no forgiveness
'Cause if there's a heaven, don't care if we get in"
By rejecting the idea of needing forgiveness from someone else or needing to apologize for herself, Kesha is reclaiming her agency and fighting back against victim-shaming. "Hymn," like all the singles from Rainbow, is literally about the refusal to let dark moments define who you are. Kesha didn't just write this song for herself: it's clearly dedicated to anyone who has ever faced adversity and perhaps even felt defeated by it.
Indeed, in an essay about the meaning of "Hymn," Kesha told Mic,
"I personally will never stop fighting for equality for all humans. That is the passion behind this song. This song is dedicated to all the idealistic people around the world who refuse to turn their backs on progress, love and equality whenever they are challenged. It's dedicated to the people who went out into the streets all over the world to protest against racism, hate and division of any kind. It's also dedicated to anyone who feels like they are not understood by the world or respected for exactly who they are. It's a hopeful song about all of these people — which I consider myself one of — and the power that we all have when we all come together."
I think that's a message all of us can get behind.