One of the best parts of Kesha’s new album Rainbow is Dolly Parton. That’s not meant to be shady. We love Kesha. We think her new album is great. But her duet with Parton is probably our favorite part.
The song “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You” isn’t an original. It was actually written by Kesha’s mom, Pebe Sebert, for Joe Sun and became a number 14 U.S. country hit in 1978.
It was later covered by Dolly Parton in 1980, who took it to the top of the U.S. country singles charts. In the song, the singer tells their lover not to feel threatened by past affairs for these “old flames” are in the past. Parton included her version on her 1980 Dolly, Dolly, Dolly album, and it was released as the album’s second single after the success of “Starting Over Again”.
In general, Rainbow has many tones of Kesha’s roots in country and her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.
Pitchfork points out:
“The story of Kesha Rose Sebert can be told with two songs from her first demo tape. They were written in her teens after she moved to Nashville with her mother, country songwriter Pebe Sebert. The first, Billboard described as a “gobsmackingly awful trip-hop track… at one point toward the end, Kesha runs out of lyrics and starts rapping, for a full minute or so: ‘I’m a white girl/From the ’Ville/Nashville, bitch.’” The other? “A gorgeously sung, self-penned country ballad that hints at what could’ve been had Kesha pursued a different path.”
Since her legal battle with Dr. Luke, Kesha has had freedom to return to that different path and she does so with this album. Not only does her duet with Parton prove this true, but also her collaboration with Ben Folds Five and The Dap Kings on other tracks. Kesha even pays homage to June Carter Cash on another.
With Rainbow, Kesha comes home.