Since it’s Kylie’s 25th anniversary of her musical debut, I thought I could do my usual and review her back catalogue, in the same way I have done for Bjork, ABBA and Kate Bush so far.
My first memory of Kylie was at the age of 5. In Year 1 we had to write about our weekends and ask the teacher to spell out any difficult words in a spelling book. I was a good speller as a kid, but for one reason or another I wanted to write about KYLIE. Poor Madge (the Shrek-like teaching assistant) didn’t know about this up-and-coming BUZZ ARTIST, so I have a book in the attic with CAILIE MANOGE written in it. Bottom line is, as long as I remembered music, there was Kylie.
RIGHT. I wasn’t really looking forward to the first few albums, obviously the SAW sound is a mixed blessing, responsible for some amazing pop songs, but also some rather drippily generic GUFF. Which is as good a description as any of what I thought would be waiting for me on the first album. LET’S SEE SHALL WE?
09 I should be so lucky – Well no introduction needed here. You know, this hasn’t really aged as badly as I imagined. The video probably doesn’t help its cause, but stripped of that, it’s quite a lovely little pop song. Wouldn’t really work in any other context I think, it’s just a pop moment that’s permanently sealed to Year Zero Kylie. I did NOT like that shitty ironic jazz version business she wheeled out in later years.
06 The Locomotion – I always thought THIS was the first single .. oh well never mind. I don’t know QUITE what’s different between this and ISBSL, but this really is a little lacking. Sort of makes me cringe at “A little bit of rhythm and a lot of soul”. I mean it’s a fine song, but I’m not in a great rush to repeat it.
07 Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi – Now this is a bit more like it, and a single that I vividly remember listening to in my sister’s bedroom as a pre-teen. Odd that my sister was into this, she liked Bryan Adams and Voice of the Beehive. Nostalgia is kicking in here clearly, but it’s thankfully a less cheesy track if a little repetitive.
07 It’s no secret – Oh you bastard men, what have you done to poor Kylie 1.0? I haven’t worked out quite how this song is pitched, it’s a bit victimy, but I think the bottom line is “You are a massive twat”. Again, nice enough track for the most part, not particularly standout. Until a rather lovely middle 8 with a gorgeous little shimmery synth pipe-organ THING, I love that!
06 Got to be certain – God knows how this career got off the ground when you follow up ISBSL with this and Locomotion. I mean again, it’s difficult to dislike it, especially as none of these tracks are particularly long. It’s a pretty basic song lyrically, as well as musically.
10 Turn it into love – NOW we are getting somewhere. Finally the SAW shackles feel a little looser, and a much more interesting track. I didn’t know this until the Showgirl CD gave a little flash of it during another song. Feels like it has some emotional DEPTH to it, and a musically just comes out a lot more interesting. TUURN it into love and OOOPEN up your heart and you’ll NEEEVER feel ASHAMED if you TURN IT TURN IT TURN IT INTO LOOOOOVE. Wonderful.
06 I miss you – Oh well, we had to come down at some point didn’t we? A bit of a trotted-out blahfest, sounds like it’s trying to be a True Blue track, but sadly falls rather far off the mark. I won’t be too harsh, but I’m eyeing up the skip button about now.
06 I’ll still be loving you – Maybe I’m just tired, but this is a bloody drag isn’t it? No seriously, a tough one to get through. That brief middle 8 is the only thing keeping it from a 5 I think. Reminds me of some 80s Anime theme tune or something.
06 Look my way – God, I know what you mean about the album tracks. Still, this has a bit of a different angle to it, still far enough away from R’n’B that it would probably need to send a postcard, but at least it breaks the album up a bit. The arrangement is alright but there’s nothing too much exciting going on.
08 Love at first sight – Sadly, not THAT song. Cheesetastic from the outset, but I rather like this. Generic as fuck, but very PEPPY. I hate to bring old Madonna into this, but it’s reminiscent of Love makes the world go round, or some of the happier bits of True Blue at least. That’s not a bad thing in my book, fortunately. La La La-la La La Laaa etc. Hang on, did I hear that, or am I just remembering Love makes the world go round? … well it could USE it. A nice end to the album.
So that’s one of the early hurdles over with, I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking the earlier albums would be the hardest ones to get through. But one down… and it wasn’t THAT bad. Sitting here concentrating on them was much tougher than just having them on in the background certainly. I doubt they were meant to be artistically rich or anything, but for pop songs, especially 22-year-old ones, a good few of them stand up pretty well.
Keepers for the iPod: Probably just I Should Be So Lucky and Turn It Into Love.