So on now to 2007’s “troubled” album campaign (I say that as if they haven’t all been troubled post-Fever). Post-Cancer Kylie, I know I’m being cynical, but this should have been an easy win. I mean, worked for Anastacia didn’t it? Although Ana launched the album with her biggest hit to date, and Kyles launched this with “Two Hearts”. A bit of a curveball for the casual Kylie fan, but then again so was Kylie killing herself and a disabled man by driving a forklift truck into the warp core of the Space Titanic on Xmas Day (I wish I was making this up, but Doctor Who says differently).
08 2 hearts – You know, it obviously wasn’t the “return to pop” or whatever we constantly demand of the little princess, and at the time I just didn’t really get on board with it. I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t a lead single. Or maybe it was, some songs just don’t FIT anywhere else other than as the “unexpected and unrepresentative lead single”. It was a modest hit, and a few remixes have rehabilitated it for me (hi, unofficial Freemasons remix). After Fever though, we never seem to get cool Kylie and gay-o’clock Kylie in the same room together. I have to say I prefer the gay-o’clock Kylie, luckily she is on this album, just not here. It’s alright.
08 Like a drug – Yeah, get some synths in there, PHEW! I rather like this, this is the one with the ridiculous giant disco skull isn’t it? SEKSHUALL and very squelchy, I like that. Sounds nice in the car. Actually the more I think about it, it’s probably one of my highlights. Something missing from the chorus, it’s memorable but not really sing-a-long, and that’s a KEY INGREDIENT for any pop anthem chez moi.
09 In my arms – OMGZ. Possibly the pop/dance highlight from the album (perhaps), but also bittersweet as its chart position seemed to indicate what we have feared ever since, i.e. the public aren’t that into her like they used to be. Anyway a fantastic track, dulled a little now by overplay. There is a little voice in my mind saying that this is more like a Calvin Harris feat. Kylie track, but whatever, I love it so what’s the harm? I just think I don’t need that extended remix anymore.
08 Speakerphone – Now this was the first dud of the album when I first got it, but over time it’s grown on me a BIT. OK sort of a lot, but it’s not amazing. I like the to-and-fro “lights-flashing-…” exchanges, but it’s a bit too cool for its own good. If you thought Body Language was Americanised (Americanized?), this is surely a step further, which makes me a bit UGH, she’s OUR KYLIE, PISS OFF USA (sorry USA). She should not be singing about CINDER BLOCKS anyway. I sort of like it despite being a bit of a mess.
07 Sensitized – Erm.. Sensitised isn’t it? Anyway, this feels like it came straight off of Impossible Princess in some ways, which isn’t a bad thing at all since I did like the sound from that. It’s a bit middle-of-the-road, I’m not sure if sensitised is a real word either. It’s ALRIGHT, but I’m not getting chills or anything. The bridge is nice.
05 Heartbeat rock – Amerikylie is really going for it, now attempting a Gwen Stefani 2nd album offcut. We’ve known for almost TWO DECADES that Kylie should not be getting anywhere near rap, and while she keeps her distance from that, it’s still not far enough. If I wanted to listen to turgid R’n’B dancey hybrid nonsense I’d hotfoot it to the bargain bin for Ciara’s latest buzz album. SKIP.
10 The One – THIS IS THE NEWS, KYLIE IS AMAZING. To be honest I didn’t quite get on board the way the Al-Kylie-Da (sorry, the rubbish extremist group pun is back again) did at the time, not least because of the rubbish “The Kylie Show” or whatever it was on ITV1. The single was disasterously handled which is a tragedy because I loved the remix and the video. I just hope some X-Factor ‘hopeful’ does it one year and it becomes a smash (it won’t). Anyway, forget what I said about In My Arms, this is the PINNACLE of this campaign by a few thousand feet. LOVE ME LOVE ME LOVE ME LOVE ME
07 No More Rain – Well you can’t really follow The One with anything comparable on this album, so this rather insubstantial ditty. It’s alright, another possible Impossible Princess/Light years track to my ears, it’s alright but I just forget this song even exists. I’m not even paying that much attention right now. BLAH
08 All I see – US buzz single time now. Terribly cheap video aside, considering it’s an utterly featureless R’n’B that the Pussycat Dolls probably would’ve recorded as an Xmas single, it’s quite sweet. I don’t rate it with any of my favourites, but something about the backing getting all warm and fuzzy for the chorus makes me go “awwww”. Tatyana Ali should call her lawyer all the same though.
09 Stars – I just totally forget about the second half of this album. As a result I’m often quite surprised at how good this song is, could have had a nice video (with some stars in, I’m so creative). A nice punchy mix of swirly trance synths (?) and “real” instruments. A bit of a LOST GEM.
10 Wow – OMG this is buried so far down the tracklisting that I always forget that it was coming up. A welcome surprise too because this is fucking amazing. Sure, it’s Kylie-by-numbers with a twist of modernish production, and I didn’t QUITE love the WOWOWOWOW stuff for a while, this is such an upbeat gorgeous pop song and deservedly a biggish hit. I can’t decide if I love the video or just roll my eyes a little bit though.
03 Nu-Di-Ty – FUCKING HELL WHAT ARE YOU DOING WOMAN? If I thought Heartbeat Rock was a Gwen cast-off, that’s got nothing of this spiky turd of an atrocity. I HATE IT. There is some enjoyment to be derived from its pure car-crash horror, but seriously, WTF? I can’t believe my songwriting goddess Karen Poole had something to do with this. I will delude myself and pretend it was Shellie Poole doing this, she wrote for Janet “JANFT” Jackson after all. YUCK.
06 Cosmic – After the previous track, this sounds like the most amazing thing ever, but that feeling drains away quite quickly. She wanted to write a song called Cosmic, but for some reason made it a real borefest rather than the fantastical disco high that it should be. It’s alright but just DULL. BYE NOW.
PHEW, that was a bit of a mix wasn’t it? In fact that’s part of the problem, this was an album created by focus-group rather than an artist, and a sad victory of BrandKylie over the popstar I have loved periodically. She can wear as many flamboyant ‘risque’ outfits or mental-looking wigs as she wants, but without the songs it’s all for nothing. X does have some fantastic moments that trump several of her albums, but then again she plumbs new depths in places. I wouldn’t say it’s a brave album, or an album at all, it’s just a collection of stuff the organisers threw against a wall to see what sticks. A sad state of affairs that I think might only be partially fixed by Aphrodite.
X was quite an appropriate title in that respect, instead of meaning “ten albums”, it means “insert whatever title the market research says is most appealing”. Or maybe the X is just a warning label, a cordoned-off blast zone for our brave heroine.
Keepers for the iPod – 2 Hearts, Like a drug, In my arms, The One, Wow, Stars.