Sometimes the most emotional, raw covers come from the artists we least suspect are capable of wringing such truth from between the notes. But Ke$ha’s wrenching version of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” is one of those rare covers which will stick with you and demand you repeat them until you’ve let every note soak into your consciousness.
“I didn’t want this to sound like a pop version of a Bob Dylan song,” Ke$ha tells Rolling Stone. “That’s the last thing I wanted this to sound like.” And it doesn’t sound like pop in the least, as she strips the song bare in the opening verse, just her voice as she lets the words tell the story through her cracked vocals, seeming on the verge of a complete breakdown through the entire four minutes. “It seemed like a suicide note to the love of my life and to my former life,” she says. “I’m so lucky and blessed, but there are moments that are just so incredibly lonely that it’s indescribable. And I’ve never written a song that’s admitted that. Singing Bob Dylan’s words and feeling my own emotion through it – it was a very intense moment for me.”
The result may be the finest thing she’s had the opportunity to record, torched and tragically beautiful as she showcases a voice which certainly deserves to have finer material to sing than she’s had to this point in her career. You can hear the song below via a YouTube clip, though it will also soon be commercially available via a 4 CD box set of Bob Dylan tribute songs, Chimes of Freedom, which has been commissioned by Amnesty International. The set releases on January 24, 2012 in honor of the charity’s 50th anniversary, and it can be streamed now via their Facebook page.