Ke$ha’s love for Bob Dylan is well known, and she has long touted his 1969 release Nashville Skyline as her favorite record of all time. But when it came time to record something special for Amnesty International, she set her sights on “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” from 1963’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan instead. She had no idea that the experience of recording it would turn into the cathartic and emotional experience that it did.
“I didn’t want this to sound like a pop version of a Bob Dylan song,” Ke$ha tells Rolling Stone. “That’s the last thing I wanted this to sound like.”She brought her friend, producer Bob Ezrin, on board, and the two of them discussed an interpretation of the lyrics that positioned the song as a suicide note from the female perspective. But then it became something different entirely; something personal.
The first time Ke$ha sang it through, she was all alone, in her bedroom, singing it straight to her laptop. It was one of the first quiet moments that she had to herself in three years, and the first time she had even been home in a few months. Suddenly she was sans entourage, without any managers or body guards surrounding her.
“And there were particular lyrics in the song that you can just tell, once they came out of my mouth — the emotion caught up with me and I just started weeping,” she says. “It’s something that I didn’t plan on, that wasn’t contrived at all. It just sort of happened.”
The suicide note interpretation that Ezrin and Ke$ha talked about had evolved into a different kind of message. “It seemed like a suicide note to the love of my life and to my former life,” she says. “Because everything in my life has changed so much. And it went from being this ambiguous interpretation — this idea we had — to it being so completely relevant to everything I’m going through. 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.”