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Stop Rationalizing Reactivity: Kesha’s ‘Die Young’ Deserves to Stay On the Air

Christopher Polk, Getty Images

Part of what makes Kesha so refreshing is how unapologetic she is for who she is and what she represents. There’s more to her than glitter and garishness — there’s a heart. And Kesha’s heart stung when she came under fire for her ‘Die Young’ lyrics in light of the Newtown, C.T. school shooting.

But that doesn’t mean she should apologize for them.

‘Die Young’ was written, recorded and released for months without protest, but when Adam Lanza launched his brutal massacre in an elementary school, lots of sensitive souls turned on the Cannibal Queen. This was unfair and unwarranted, as well as being pretty ignorant.

The lyrics to ‘Die Young’ aren’t about wanting to or glorifying the death of young people. ‘Die Young’ is about living life to the fullest while there’s still time. The message is a positive one — essentially a singalong of “carpe diem.”

Following the devastating deaths of 20 students and six teachers, it’s natural that the world would be a little sensitive. But yanking a song about making the most of the time you’ve got — just because of a title and chorus with the words “die young” — is at best misguided, and at worst pandering and creating a scapegoat that’s completely unnecessary. Persecuting artists for the actions of one ill individual isn’t just foolish, but it’s also dangerous, because it removes the focus from the actual problems that led to this horrific incident in the first place: mental illness and violence.

Kesha isn’t necessarily helping her own case for continually apologizing and backpedaling for her lyrical content, but it’s likely that the pressure from label suits and the brass and influencing are overwhelming her.

The fragility and uncertainty of life has rarely been more morbidly clear. Perhaps if we all made the most of our nights like we were going to die young, we’d have fewer regrets, more joyous memories and a better perspective. Instead of drowning them out, we need messages like the one delivered by ‘Die Young’ more than ever.

Next: Vote Kesha's 'Warrior' for 2012 Album of the Year!

Watch the Kesha ‘Die Young’ Video

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