Kesha might not seem like the sort of artist to write music about Ruth Bader Ginsburg — after all, even Kesha didn’t think she was the right artist for the job. However, Kesha took inspiration from Ginsburg’s life and Bob Dylan’s music to write a song about social change. Here’s how the public reacted to this unlikely song.
Why Kesha was hesitant to write a song about Ruth Bader Ginsburg
During 2018, Ginsburg was the subject of two films: the documentary RBG and the biopic On the Basis of Sex. The latter film starred Felicity Jones of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as Ginsburg. Kesha had the opportunity to write a song for On the Basis of Sex but she was initially hesitant to take it.
“When I was first approached to write a song for the movie, I thought I was the wrong person for the job,” Kesha wrote in an op-ed for Refinery29. “For me, songwriting is such a personal process and it is almost always inspired by things I’ve experienced in my own life. The idea that I should be writing about someone else’s life, and that person would be Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was intimidating. How could my voice matter in this context?” After that, Kesha looked to folk music icon Bob Dylan for inspiration.
The Bob Dylan song that inspired Kesha’s track about Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“I thought of how my musical idol Bob Dylan was blunt in his songs during the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War….” Kesha added. “And so I wanted to try to write words that would help inspire others to rally against hate and division in a way that Dylan did.”
She specifically cited Dylan’s classic “The Times They Are a-Changin’” as an inspiration for her song about Ginsburg, “Here Comes the Change.” The song is a folk ballad like many popular Dylan songs. “Here Comes the Change” shows Kesha has quite a bit of range beyond the dance-pop party anthems which made her famous.
How the public reacted to ‘On the Basis of Sex’ and ‘Here Comes the Change’
According to The Hollywood Reporter, On the Basis of Sex was produced for $20 million. This is a hefty sum, however, it’s modest for a Hollywood budget. Ultimately, Box Office Mojo reports On the Basis of Sex earned over $36 million, making it a very modest hit at best and a flop at worst. On the other hand, “Here Comes the Change” fared even worse on the pop charts than On the Basis of Sex performed at the box office.
“Here Comes the Change” didn’t chart at all on the Billboard Hot 100. Given how Kesha had previously given the world No. 1 hits like “Tik Tok” and “We R Who We R,” the performance of “Here Comes the Change” was quite a step down. However, perhaps the passing of Ginsburg will draw more attention to the song. Regardless, “Here Comes the Change” shows Kesha is an artist with eclectic talents who has some weighty things to say.