The first single from Kesha's sophomore album, Warrior, is a down-and-out dirty party anthem that was penned by the singer with Nate Ruess from Fun., Dr. Luke, Benny Blanco and Cirkut. Producer Blanco told Rolling Stone: "It's stomps and claps, and the chorus doesn't really have any drums in it, basically. The feeling is so good... And then the verse just pops in, and it's very unexpected and it pops into electronic. So it's rock, it's big electronic breaks and drums." The song premiered at radio and was made available at all digital providers on September 25, 2012.
Kesha originally previewed the tune using a viral video clip featuring her bursting into song on the subway in Tokyo.
Dr. Luke told MTV News about the writing of the tune. "This song was kind of one of the songs we were working with as we were doing the whole record," he said. "It wasn't like, 'OK, let's set out to do this.' We first had a different chorus on it, and it was pretty good. Then we did another one with Nate, and we liked the vibe of it better. I felt like what he brought to it, his world mixed in with production was an interesting sound, all the guitars and stuff. Kesha hadn't really done guitars before really in songs. On her last record it was a strict no-guitar rule."
Regarding the song's meaning, Kesha told she told Carson Daly on 97.1 AMP Radio: "It's kind of an anthem. It's a celebration song, which I'm obviously known for writing those, but this one, the concept of it was to live each and every single day like it's your last and to always remain having a youthful spirit no matter how old I get."
The song's music video has an apocalyptic theme: "Well it's about me being a cult leader at the end of the world," Kesha told UK radio station Capital FM. "And everybody else is kind of being scared and hiding. And we are running around like wild people, making out with each other and taking over a small border town in Mexico. And the federals are after us because we're so wild!"
Ke$ha explained the reason for the clip's concept in some behind the scenes footage from the video shoot. "I wanted to come across like a cult," said the singer, "because I always say that me and my fans, and me and my family, and me and my friends... we're all like a cult of rabid, wild misfits, and I really wanted that to come across in this video."
The song was pulled off the airwaves after the shooting of 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Kesha responded by saying, "I'm so so so sorry for anyone who has been effected by this tragedy, and I understand why my song is now inappropriate. Words cannot express."
Kesha admitted that she originally had doubts about some of the lyrics. She said on her website: "I did have some concerns about the phrase 'die young' in the chorus when we were writing the lyrics especially because so many of my fans are young and that's one reason why I wrote so many versions of this song. But the point of the song is the importance of living every day to the fullest and staying young at heart, and these are things I truly believe."
Nate Ruess originally wrote this track's chorus for a different tune. He recalled during a Reddit AMA: "I wrote the song as a topline for a bad club song, while I was trying to cut my teeth in writing for other people. And fortunately, the DJ didn't use it. And the Kesha people did."