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“Praying” is the pop star’s first single after years of career standstill as she attempted to terminate a contract with the producer Dr. Luke, who she alleges sexually assaulted her during their time working together. After several judges made it clear that it’d be borderline impossible for her to take the case to trial and release music in a timely manner, she opted to drop the charges and release a real subtweet of a single instead.
Which brings us to this iconic high note. It happens around the 3:10 mark in “Praying,” after Kesha sings: “Some say in life you’re gonna get what you give / but some things only God can forgive,” and it evokes an early-’90s Mariah Carey. You know in “Emotions” and “Someday,” when she hits those crazy whistle notes that are less impressive because they sound good and more so because they just. keep. going? Kesha does that, and a lot of fans didn’t know she had it in her.
Twitter user @luvintothelight noticed the note was a tear-jerker on YouTube and edited together this beautiful compilation of people hearing it for the first time:
People reacting to Kesha's high note pic.twitter.com/SaaFPUlC7t— ♢ (@luvintothelight) July 10, 2017
Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.