Song You Need to Know: Kesha, ‘Rich, White, Straight Men’

At her best, Kesha can skillfully balance irreverence and savagery. Songs like “Blah, Blah, Blah,” “Sleazy” and “Woman” have shown her at the pinnacle of that talent, with the punk of pop meshing biting lyrical jabs with a brilliant sense of humor about herself and whomever or whatever she’s roasting. Her best insults have long been aimed at rich, white, straight men who have tried to woo her (“I don’t need you or brand new Benz/Or your bougie friends,” she asserts on “Sleazy”). So when she finally releases a song actually called “Rich, White, Straight Men,” how could it not work?

For “R,W,S M,” Kesha takes her grievances out of the club and into the world-at-large. She wonders, “What if rich, white, straight men didn’t rule the world anymore?” As the song progresses, she lays out what that dream would look like: Free healthcare if you fall off the unicorn you happen to be riding to school, free college and women having agency over their own bodies. The dream, right?

Her delivery is cartoonish and sarcastic, like she’s reached her anger epoch and can do nothing but manically laugh at the crushing reality of our impossibly oppressive society. The feeling is more relatable than it needs to be. It’s somehow poignant while trying to sound as flippant as the responses to requests for basic human rights often are. “Rich, White, Straight Men” may be an off-the-cuff, nursery rhyme-quoting pop B-side for Kesha, but its straightforward message makes it one of our better pop political anthems of this moment.

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