Album: Kylie Minogue – “Impossible Princess” (1997)

Time for the second Deconstruction album, and still in IndieKylie territory as the story goes. Actually I would argue that there never really was an ‘Indie Kylie’ sound at all, with the exception of a few songs on this album, and the literal fact that she was on an independent label (but then again, weren’t Steps?). I’ve always thought of this as more of a dancey album, but not in the gay way Fever and Light Years were, I suppose that much is obvious. Thankfully the 8-minute EPICS are out too, which is a big improvement over KM94. It’s not an amazing album, and it certainly tails off most dismally at the end, but it’s a reasonably good middleground that KM94 seemed reluctant to occupy.

08 Too far: Well it certainly got my attention, a rather scary rapid-fire mumble, manic piano and sex noises. But then we get into the meat of it and it turns into a rather sweeping dance track. One thing I do love about this (and the album) is the mix of dance beats and regular instruments, the piano, strings etc, just really ticks my boxes. Not really sure what it’s about, a lot of lyrics to digest about being trapped and just stir-crazy, but the song has a lot of drama about it and it’s a good opener.

08 Cowboy Style: Turn the indie up to medium now, with some sort of country/electro/riverdance mishmash, with one of the more commercial sounding songs on the album. Kylie’s getting smitten by the sounds of it, and enjoying a good old-fashioned cowpoke. It’s a nice chorus, and while it’s not entirely clear what cowboy style is, our smutty minds can only imagine. It’s not amazing, but it has a melody, remember those, KM94?

09 Some kind of bliss: Now THAT lead single. I feel this really got the thin end of the wedge, I really rather love this. Sure this is definitely the indie-est moment, what with James Dean Bradfield having a hand in it, but he knows what he’s doing. I guess the world wasn’t ready for this from Kylie, even though it’s a perfectly serviceable Kylie single, even if not her best. I love the chorus, the strings, just very summery and free. Shit wig though.

09 Did it again: Didn’t like Indie Kylie, UK? Time to throw the poppiest song out there then, and it just about worked, at least on the singles chart. I love the video for this too, having a snipe at the various Kylie tags, perhaps not acknowledging she was in the middle of one of the tags at the time. It doesn’t seem to answer what kind of artist Kylie was trying to be at the time, but it’s a decently camp bit of panto. The song itself, anyone know who it’s about? Catchy as fuck anyway.

08 Breathe: I didn’t realise until now how familiar I was with the single edit of this, so the album version feels almost annoyingly slow in comparison. Oddly I remember thinking about this song to get through 2-hour Food Tech lessons “it won’t be long now” etc … (idiot teen). Anyway. Another quite accessible track, you’d be forgiven for thinking she was trying to make it easy for us after the last album. I have been fond of this song for a while, I like her vocals on this, which is a bit of an achievement as I’m realising now that I’m not THAT fond of her voice. I am grateful for the sped-up single version though.

07 Say Hey: Easy ride is over now, time for the album to show its true colours. Sadly that means the catchy songs are out of the way and we have to get through increasingly impenetrable dance tracks (if we are lucky). Luckily this is a genre I am quite happy to experience, and I was semi-convinced that Bjork must have had a hand in here somewhere (she didn’t), it has that dark clubby sound while her soft vocals somehow aren’t swamped by it. Not bad, I wouldn’t name a messageboard after it, but.. hey.

08 Drunk: More of the same, if a little more hardcore (not in the Clubland sense). The chorus is quite full-on, but not much of a tune to it. Saying that, I do sort of like it, it’s not something I’m going to be humming in the shower. I particularly like the swirly dance panic during the 2nd minute. I’m loathe to rate songs too highly as I think that devalues the whole thing, but I feel like I have to in this case.

07 I don’t need anyone: OK the illusion of Indie Kylie resurfaces again briefly here, in a sort of double-speed Some Kind of Bliss. Very carefree and summery again, she does sound genuinely happy on here, which certainly lends an upbeat quality to the track (as if it needed it). I can’t help thinking that this is the sort of thing Emma Bunton would do now though, not that I think that this is a Bunton song, does that make sense?

06 Jump: Couldn’t we just finish there? I find the end of this album such heavy going. All that upbeat sound from the last track plunges off a cliff and we have this vaguely Massive Attack plodder. I just read that Rob Dougan (of that Clubbed To Death fame) produced, so that makes a lot of sense. I feel like the lyrics are saying a lot more this time, thank God, I think that’s about the only thing holding this song up. While I’m on it, I think the lyrical content is a lot better this album, there are variations in the subjects now, rather than basic package of relationship topics we mostly had before. GOOD WORK.

07 Limbo: Half expecting to see a Republica credit in here somewhere but alas not. I could totally fit “Baby I’m ready to gooo” to this soundtrack. We don’t quite get there with this one, and I am fully prepared to get the red card from the Kylie loons for trampling on a fan fave here, hidden away like a landmine. Just feels like a not-as-good version of Too Far, it’s alright, and God knows it helps to break up the two songs either side, but I’m losing interest quick.

05 Through the years: UGH this really is rock bottom for this album, I find this a difficult listen. I like Kylie when she’s singing, not this sort of jazzy vocal thing she’s trying to do on here. There are just particular vocal tics she has that I ‘m not keen on, and this sort of lazy croaking is one of them. GAH … NEXT!

07 Dreams: A decent closer though, and we a vaguely Eastern sounding string-laden musing to send us off. TBH I don’t imagine Kylie to be that impossible, no white lilies in her tour rider or anything, let alone swimming in the sky etc. Melody happily returns to the mix, giving another nice big tick to the Brothers in Rhythm tracks. Love the strings as usual, and the very decisive end to the song, no wussy fade-outs for our Kyles.

So that’s that, the Deconstruction years are behind us. While I was a little perturbed that Impossible Princess wasn’t as good as I remember, I have sunk back into it during the last week or so. It’s not a lost classic in my eyes, but a pretty solid effort for something as overlooked as it was. She can at least do a dancey album without it being gay as tits, or totally useless, so she can at least be commended for that.

Keepers for the iPod: Too far, Cowboy Style, Some kind of bliss, Did it again, Drunk

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