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7 Great Songs You Didn’t Know Kesha Wrote

Revisit tracks the pop ace penned for everyone from Miley Cyrus to Alice Cooper

7 Songs; Kesha; The Veronicas; Miley Cyrus; Charlee; Alice Cooper

Rachel Murray/WireImage/Getty

Last month, a judge denied Kesha‘s attempt to extricate herself from a recording contract with Dr. Luke — the producer and songwriter who signed her when she was 18 — despite allegations that he drugged and raped her. She is reportedly required to furnish six more albums for Luke’s label, Kemosabe Records. In court, Luke’s lawyers declared that the singer was free to make music without him, a point they reiterated after the judge’s decision. However, Kesha’s attorney referred to this as an “elusive promise,” suggesting that she was trapped with her abuser.

After the judge’s ruling, several musicians volunteered to come to Kesha’s aid. Jack Antonoff, who has written songs with Taylor Swift, Sara Bareilles and Carly Rae Jepsen, tweeted “don’t know what the legal specifics are, but if you want to make something together & then leak it for everyone I’m around. Or just make something and wait on it till that creep can’t block you anymore. Standing offer.” The electronic producer Zedd also offered his services.

But Kesha is more in need of legal assistance than studio help: She’s an accomplished songwriter in her own right. She has a writing credit on every song on her 2010 debut, Animal, the follow-up full-length, Warrior, and the EP she released in between the two albums, Cannibal. After all, songwriting is in Kesha’s blood: Her mother, Rosemary Patricia “Pebe” Sebert, helped write “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You,” a hit in 1980 for Dolly Parton.

In addition to penning tracks for her own albums, Kesha has written a number of songs for other artists. Here’s a quick rundown of some of her most noteworthy credits.

7 Songs; Kesha; The Veronicas; Miley Cyrus; Charlee; Alice Cooper

SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 11: Kesha performs onstage during PATHWAY TO THE CURE: A fundraiser benefiting Susan G. Komen presented by Pathway Genomics, Relativity Media and evian Natural Spring Water at Santa Monica Airport on June 11, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/WireImage)

Rachel Murray/WireImage/Getty

Miley Cyrus, “The Time of Our Lives” (2009)

Cyrus' The Time of Our Lives EP is sometimes reduced to one song: the breezy "Party in the U.S.A.," which reached Number Two on the Hot 100. But the release takes its title from a pulsing track co-written by Kesha, which is the kind of galloping, synth-heavy, escapist track that she can write in her sleep: "Let's have the time of our lives/Like there's no one else around/Just throw your hands up high/Even when they try to take us down."

7 Songs; Kesha; The Veronicas; Miley Cyrus; Charlee; Alice Cooper

SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 11: Kesha performs onstage during PATHWAY TO THE CURE: A fundraiser benefiting Susan G. Komen presented by Pathway Genomics, Relativity Media and evian Natural Spring Water at Santa Monica Airport on June 11, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/WireImage)

Rachel Murray/WireImage/Getty

Charlee, “Boy Like You” (2010)

Kesha co-wrote this track, which later appeared in 2010 on an album by the Austrian singer Charlee. The lyrics suggest romantic confusion: "Is this all part of your plan? I don't really understand." Though there's nothing uncertain about the pile-driving beat and towers of synthesizers, the song's more hesitant tone may have been the reason it ended up in the hands of another artist — it doesn't align with the freewheeling spirit of Kesha's early hits like "Tik Tok" and "Blah Blah Blah."

7 Songs; Kesha; The Veronicas; Miley Cyrus; Charlee; Alice Cooper

SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 11: Kesha performs onstage during PATHWAY TO THE CURE: A fundraiser benefiting Susan G. Komen presented by Pathway Genomics, Relativity Media and evian Natural Spring Water at Santa Monica Airport on June 11, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/WireImage)

Rachel Murray/WireImage/Getty

Alice Cooper, “What Baby Wants” (2011)

Kesha is best known for her hip-hop-leaning EDM-pop hybrid, but the singer has a rock & roll side that came through on a collaboration with Alice Cooper on his 2011 album Welcome 2 My Nightmare. "I met [Kesha] at the Grammys," Cooper told Billboard. "I immediately looked at her and went, 'This girl is not a pop diva. She's a rock singer.' She would much rather be the female Robert Plant than the next Britney Spears. [Bob Ezrin] said, 'Nobody's gonna expect Kesha on your album.' 'Great! Let's do it!'" On Warrior, Kesha's 2012 album, she worked with other members of the rock elite, such as the Black Keys' Patrick Carney, the Flaming Lips and even Iggy Pop.

7 Songs; Kesha; The Veronicas; Miley Cyrus; Charlee; Alice Cooper

SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 11: Kesha performs onstage during PATHWAY TO THE CURE: A fundraiser benefiting Susan G. Komen presented by Pathway Genomics, Relativity Media and evian Natural Spring Water at Santa Monica Airport on June 11, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/WireImage)

Rachel Murray/WireImage/Getty

Britney Spears, “Till the World Ends” (2011)

Femme Fatale marked a huge comeback for Britney Spears on the pop charts, and "Till the World Ends" played a key role in re-establishing the pop star as the genre's princess. "That song is me imagining her and any female musician touring the world," Kesha said in an interview. "You know, when you go out, and you're having an amazing, magical night and you don’t want to go to sleep and you want it to last until the world ends." Later, Spears released a dubstep remix of the song featuring Kesha on the chorus and Femme Fatale tour opener Nicki Minaj offering a "Monster"-esque verse at the song's beginning.

7 Songs; Kesha; The Veronicas; Miley Cyrus; Charlee; Alice Cooper

SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 11: Kesha performs onstage during PATHWAY TO THE CURE: A fundraiser benefiting Susan G. Komen presented by Pathway Genomics, Relativity Media and evian Natural Spring Water at Santa Monica Airport on June 11, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/WireImage)

Rachel Murray/WireImage/Getty

Big Time Rush, “Windows Down” (2012)

"Windows Down" shows a different side of Kesha's songwriting: She built the track around a sample of one of Blur's best known hits, "Song 2," with its iconic shouts of "woo-hoo!" That refrain comes paired with a thunderous electronic beat, scuzzy synthesizers, a club-ready breakdown that builds suspense and a seize-the-moment message: "I can feel it in the air that it's on tonight/I don't really care if it's wrong or right/Pedal to the metal, baby, hold me tight."

Rachel Murray/WireImage/Getty

SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 11: Kesha performs onstage during PATHWAY TO THE CURE: A fundraiser benefiting Susan G. Komen presented by Pathway Genomics, Relativity Media and evian Natural Spring Water at Santa Monica Airport on June 11, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/WireImage)

7 Songs; Kesha; The Veronicas; Miley Cyrus; Charlee; Alice Cooper

Ariana Grande, “Pink Champagne” (2013)

Kesha helped write “Pink Champagne,” which was never officially released for sale — Grande posted the track on her YouTube account as a thank you to fans when she reached 10 million followers. “I hope you enjoy this fetus record of mine,” she said at the time. Though Grande’s debut album was dominated by Nineties R&B homage, “Pink Champagne” hints at an alternative direction that she could’ve taken. Like Cyrus’ “The Time of Our Lives,” this record emphasizes a pounding pulse, with some of the forceful neo-doo-wop elements that were so successful recently for Meghan Trainor.

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