You can probably recite some lyrics Ke$ha by heart, but did you know that this 2010s pop icon actually studied at Barnard before hitting it big?

Yep, in an interview in 2010 she said,”I was going to go to Barnard, so I came up to New York and studied comparative religion and psychology and stuff for three months, but that all went out the window.” So I think we can safely assume that her entire opus is based on her one semester at Barnard. Let’s take a closer look at some of the Ke$ha lyrics that capture the Barnard and Columbia experience.

“Die Young”

I hear your heart beat to the beat of the drums – Here, Ke$ha is clearly referencing the rhythm of the drums heard from the Columbia University Marching Band during Orgo Night.
Oh, what a shame that you came here with someone
So while you’re here in my arms – In crystalline verse, Ke$ha captures the eternal sexual frustration and angst of Barnard and Columbia students– the same sentiment that leads to Columbia Crushes, Senior Scramble, and the ever-debated hookup culture.
Let’s make the most of the night like we’re gonna die young
We’re gonna die young
We’re gonna die young
Let’s make the most of the night like we’re gonna die young
Let’s make the most of the night like we’re gonna die young – “Death is not the end of these souls’ lives; in fact, for those in Hell (remember, there are also souls in Purgatory and Heaven as well), death is a torturous and inescapable eternal life.” – Inferno, Dante Alighieri, the text read by both Barnard and Columbia fist years in First-Year Writing and LitHum, and to which Ke$ha subversively alludes to in her refrain.

Young hearts, out our minds
Runnin’ till we outta time – Expanding on the theme of mortality, Ke$ha deftly references Columbia students’ daily debacle of finding free time.
Wild childs, lookin’ good
Livin’ hard just like we should
Don’t care whose watching when we tearing it up (you know)
That magic that we got nobody can touch (for sure) – Here, in the phrase “that magic”, Ke$ha invokes the sacred powers of PrezBo’s Weather Machine.

Looking for some trouble tonight (yeah)
Take my hand, I’ll show you the wild side – The “wild side” referenced here is presumably any place below 110th street, unexplored territory for most Columbia students.
Like it’s the last night of our lives (uh huh)
We’ll keep dancing till we die – Within the Ke$ha canon, “Die Young” remains a brilliant synthesis of works from the Barnard and Columbia curriculum, namely Dante and Bocaccio, with pop culture, weaving  a tale of a student’s recognition of their own mortality and the fleeting nature of their youth.

“Tik Tok”

Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy –   Though many believe this to be a reference to rapper Sean “P Diddy” Combs, Ke$ha is here actually name-dropping dropping (P)resident Lee Carroll “Diddy’ Bollinger.
Grab my glasses, I’m out the door; I’m gonna hit this city (Let’s go)  –  Columbia University in the City of New York anyone?
Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack – Here, Ke$ha utilizes a brilliant double entendre, with the “bottle of Jack” referring both to Jack Daniels and Jack Kerouac, the latter a fellow former Columbia student. Both Kerouac and Ke$ha are part of a long line of celebrity Columbia attendees who afterward distanced themselves as much as possible from the school.
‘Cause when I leave for the night, I ain’t coming back – Before her songs hit the top charts, Ke$ha too was forced walk around to the main Barnard entrance after 11 pm instead of returning through the chastity gate from which she had left, alluding to here in the phrase “I ain’t coming back.”

I’m talking pedicure on our toes, toes 
Trying on all our clothes, clothes – She hints to the fresh hell that is Barnard “Buy Sell Trade”
Boys blowing up our phones, phones —
Drop-topping, playing our favorite CD’s
Rollin’ up to the parties
Trying to get a little bit tipsy – Why does Ke$ha write “trying” rather than “getting a little bit tipsy”? I would posit that Ke$ha is writing about the quintessential first year experience of having one’s South Dakota fake ID rejected from 1020.

“Blah Blah Blah”

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
Comin’ out your mouth with your blah blah blah
Zip your lips like a padlock
And meet me in the back with a jack and the jukebox
Don’t really care where you live at
Just turn around boy, let me hit that
Don’t be a little bitch with your chit chat
Just show me where your dick’s at

Blah blah blah
Think you’ll be gettin’ this
Nah nah nah
Not in the back of my
Car car car
If you keep talkin that
Blah blah blah blah blah – Could Ke$ha be any more obvious? This is clearly an expression of her emotions in a Barnard seminar while a CC boy tries to interrupt her and bring up Hegel for no reason.

Stay tuned for my manuscript, We Think Therefore We R Who We R: Epistemology and the Writings of Ke$ha Rose Sebert, forthcoming from Columbia University Press.

Ke$ha via Wikimedia Commons