If balancing adolescent stupidity and abandon with effortless hooks has been a sacred rite of pop music since time immemorial, then crunk-pop diva Ke$ha is on her way to priesthood. At first, Animal sounds like a release with no audience: too tween-pop to jack an indie-electro audience, too obnoxiously offensive to compete with Miley and her Disney cronies.
But in a post–"Birthday Sex" pop landscape, there's plenty of room for dumb if it's done well. How dumb? "Take It Off" is a heavily Auto-Tuned reworking of, uh, "There's a Place in France"; "Stephen" is an ode to forcing your sexual advances on your high-school history teacher; "Cigar in the caviar/I'm pissing in the Dom Perignon" is part of the opening verse of "Party at a Rich Dude's House." "I don't care where you live at/Just turn around boy, let me hit that," Ke$ha intones in a lusty, disturbingly carefree tone on "Blah Blah Blah."
A 45-minute ode to partying with no consequences and objectifying members of the opposite sex on a par with Mötley Crüe circa Girls Girls Girls, Animal is a clear subversion of pop norms amid a sea of synth stabbing and whisky guzzling, a kick in the groin on a dark dance floor.