Tag Archives: kylie minogue

Single: Kylie Minogue – “Into the blue” (2014)

January is rubbish. Honestly what is there to be thankful for? Christmas indulgence guilt, Winter setting in, a bare music release schedule after the big holiday rush. But hark! What is that? It’s Kylie on the comeback trail.

kylie into the blueEvidently this was a New Year’s Resolution for her, get back into the spotlight. After a rewarding round of anniversary activities for 2012’s “K25”, it’s been rather quite on the Kylie front. But now she’s been enlisted as a judge in The Voice UK, and there’s a new single out, and we’re only 3 weeks into the new year. Continue reading

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Album: Kylie Minogue – “The Abbey Road Sessions” (2012)

Well now this was a surprise. It looked for a time that Kylie’s much-trumpeted K25 anniversary celebrations would be a largely wasted opportunity. At the start of the year we got the serviceable but ultimately forgotten “Timebomb” single, oddly not aligned with the unwanted Greatest Hits collection that came out around the same time with no new material, two albums after “Ultimate Kylie” did incredibly well with a comprehensive and well-thought out campaign and tracklist.

So where next? We had acoustic performances of Kylie’s vast back catalogue released during the year, but it was a bit of a scatter-gun approach, where was it leading? Fortunately, however Kylie’s 25th anniversary celebrations have been handled so far, our patience has been rewarded with a whole album of orchestral versions of her best-loved hits, recorded at celebrated studio Abbey Road.

A nice idea, but it could easily dribble into tedious ‘real music’ re-workings of one of straight-up pop’s leading lights. Indeed the album cover has an eyebrow-raising amount of Adele-ification. Fortunately none of these worries came to pass, and “The Abbey Road Sessions” is a real joy.

Sure it’s easy to criticise on the basis of which tracks weren’t picked, but I don’t think any of the selections need much justification. It’s a sensible balance of her biggest hits and lesser-known singles, covering the breadth of her career. There isn’t room for everything – two “X” singles relegated to iTunes bonus tracks, and no “Impossible Princess” songs, although Indie Kylie is represented by Nick Cave duet “Where the wild roses grow”.

It would be tempting to hope for a second disc at some point in the future, but you can’t please everyone and we should just be happy that we’ve got this.

The styles of the songs vary a lot. Many are gentle acoustic efforts with beautifully angelic harmonies from the backing choir. We get glimpses of lite-country (“Hand on your heart”, “Where the wild roses grow”), gentle piano-led ballads (“Never too late”, “Come into my world”, “I believe in you”), and lush string sections (“All the lovers”, “Confide in me”, “Finer feelings”).

At no point do the re-workings feel like a parade of generic acoustic performances. I find it hard to listen to some of the older PWL tracks in retrospect, the embodiment of generic production. So it’s really a bit of a revelation to hear some of her oldest songs – written off a bit by their dated production as a bit of a gay-only interest affair – as really wonderful songs in their own right, and pitched perfectly as alternative interpretations rather than simple covers.

OK it’s not all amazing. The smoky bar tracks like “On a night like this” and “Slow” are fine but it’s a kiss of death for these albums if you just think you’d rather listen to the original than this. Luckily several other tracks are preferable to the originals for me, including the surprisingly palatable post-Winehouse version of “Locomotion” and the utterly gorgeous “Never too late”.

We are also blessed with a new song, “Flower”. For those not familiar with Kylie’s private life, she’s never quite settled down for the happy ending the public have long imagined for her. That’s none of our business really, but she has spoken openly about her worries that chemotherapy has left her infertile. Hence “Flower” is a surprisingly heartbreaking song (that she co-wrote) about her unborn child. The lyrics are a little naff in places, but I keep getting shivers when I hear it, even a little misty-eyed.

It’s a gorgeously produced ballad, sung with such hopeful optimism that makes it even more heartbreaking. The video is a classy black-and-white affair, and she’s never looked more beautiful.

I think people will look back on this album’s era with great fondness, and makes me wonder about what her future will bring musically. She’s making sounds like she wants to continue dance-pop, but hopefully we can have a bit of both. If anyone’s going to manage it with dignity, it will be Kylie. (Please do an acoustic album, Madonna)

Keepers for the iPod: All the lovers, I believe in you, Hand on your heart, Finer feelings, Confide in me, Come into my world, Better the devil you know, Where the wild roses grow, Never too late, I should be so lucky, Flower, Can’t get you out of my head, Wow, In my arms

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Kylie Minogue: My Top 10

Right, we are finally at the end of my Kylie journey, with only the ten best songs to list now. Remember you can click the links to watch/hear the songs, no excuses!

Actually, before I start, you guys have to watch this amazing fan-made medley. A Kylie-gasm or your money back!

10. Wow (from X)

That INTRO … oh god I love that one. It feels like a bit of a derided song in the grand scheme of things, but I really love it. Put her back into the sort of sound I wanted from her after “2Hearts” didn’t quite do the business. I see what they were doing but I reckon they would have had a much different story on their hands had this been the first single.

Anyway shoulda woulda coulda, eh? There’s not a lot to it, but it still feels fresh, something I still feel about X as a whole.

9. Get outta my way (from Aphrodite)

Oh I really didn’t see this doing so well in my overall chart, as I did rather overdo it last summer and perhaps burnt it out. But that shimmering intro really gets me WHIPPED UP in a FRENZY.

I didn’t like the video that much to be honest, sorry but she’s done a lot better. There were good moments but generally I wasn’t feeling it, too many weird-looking gays I think. And CHAIRS? What is this, 2003 Rachel Stevens or something? Anyway it’s a pretty relentless track, perhaps a little bit more attitude than I can really believe from Kylie, but I’ll let it go. I am in love with the (at times) generic clubby sound of Aphrodite, and it takes a lot to measure up to this example.

8. Love Affair (from Fever)

And yes, back to Fever once more, with what would have made a fantastic single. Almost forgotten in the tracklist which such a strong set of singles but this is truly MARVELLOUS. A bit of a darker feel to it than the likes of Love at First Sight etc, but perfectly pitched musically. That chorus really gets me every time, “I am only here for a little while, would you like to take me out tonight?”, catchy as fuck.

7. Your Disco needs you (from Light years)

Yes yes, a Marmite song but I’m FIRMLY on the “love it” side of things, and really my highlight from the whole ridiculous Light Years campaign. I think the fact that it only made it out as a single in a few territories cements it as a lost classic, though God knows how well it would have done in the UK.

Camp as tits clearly, which is the great paradox because that’s primarily the reason I didn’t warm to Light Years as a whole – I don’t really LIKE that sound. But anyway there is plenty else going on here, disco strings, French monologues (!) and Opera Kylie! That live performance (see below) really is SOMETHING ELSE *salutes*

6. The One (from X)

WHAT A SINGLE. Feels like another lost single too, except in this case it was simply a horrifically poorly-handled single. They made a great choice getting the Freemasons to spruce up an already great track into something of EPIC BEAUTY. I really cannot get enough of that remix, how fucking fantastic …

I was a bit of a late starter with the song really, I didn’t think a lot to it when I first got X, and The Kylie Show didn’t really help. But I got there in the end, and that video is pretty awesome too (still cheap). It’s songs like this that make me excited to be a Kylie fan.

5. Slow (from Body Language)

And… I’d like to say this is roaring into the top 5, but Slow was never really one of those songs. While most of Kylie’s superhits wear their twinkly hearts on their sleeves, this still feels like a braver choice of a lead single than 2 Hearts ever did. Out went the usual fun of a Kylie show, and a rather cool and sultry electro-princess arrived with an arty video (and a speedo frenzy) to boot.

I just love all the layers, this was a track to be played loud, the heavy bassline, skipping beat samples, futuristic synths. I still love this as much as the day it came out, flop or not.

4. In your eyes (from Fever)

A final appearance now from the album that turned around her fortunes so totally. So many people would have probably plumped for CGYOOMH or LAFS as the choice single from the album, but I always had this one at the top of my list. Obviously it was always going to be tricky following up such a colossal success of a single, but I’m glad to say this takes the sound in a slightly different direction.

So the sound is very much of its time, but it still sounds fresh to me, a richer clubbier sound than the quite desolate CGYOOMH but keeping the attitude. The video did a lot of the work too, I think she looks amazing, the set is an eye-popping array of neon and and glass, probably one of my favourites of her videos.

3. Confide in me (from Kylie Minogue)

Obviously there was no escaping this string-laden EPIC when I did my final tally. I’m sure this is probably at least this high on many Kylie fans’ lists, it’s a resounding triumph for “cool Kylie”, as if that was ever what she was trying to accomplish. While I never really got into KM94 it was clear that Kylie was doing something she wanted to do, and the transformation from the former “singing budgie” was enormous.

So back she came with a lead single unlike anything we had heard from her before (probably haven’t since). Heavenly siren vocals, gorgeous spoken segments, that string hook throughout the chorus just all comes together like a masterpiece.

2. I believe in you (from Ultimate Kylie)

Ultimate Kylie was such an example about how a GH should be, drawing together the strands from the 3 labels she’d been involved with, and including two superb new songs. One of which so brilliant I think it overshadowed every song on the album, a great achievement, and exactly the position you want to be in when summarising your career to date – the best is still to come.

It’s a simple song, with an even simpler chorus, but what a piece of magic this is. Simmering bassline under it all, squeaky cosmic synths and her voice soaring once again over it all. That “I. Believe. In You.” refrain is really irresistible, and still lifts me up every time I hear it.

1. All the lovers (from Aphrodite)

Now I know what you’re going to say, it’s too soon. I don’t care, even after 6 months, and despite once being the most-played song on my iTunes I’m still not even close to getting tired of this. Aphrodite may not have been the album we had all hoped for, and that can’t be helped, but if this (and Get Outta My Way) is what we have to show for it then it’s all for the best.

Essentially it’s I Believe In You 2.0, with the richest most beautiful production courtesy of Stuart Price. Breathy verses, that amazing hook in the choruses, there is NO PART of this song I haven’t fallen in love with. Then of course there is that middle-8 that still gives me gay goosebumps every single time I hear it, completely electrifying. Kylie is at her best when she’s the optimistic, and I can’t imagine not being cheered up by this song.

I know the video had its critics, the big sexy pile and elephant balloons, but I think it looks amazing, glossy, classy. The handling of the middle-8 in the video (weird horse) was a bit disappointing, but she looks phenomenal, blessing her subjects like the goddess she is for this song. Who knows if I will feel the same way in another year’s time, or two, but this song makes me feel excited and proud to be a fan, what more could I ask for?

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My Kylie Top 30: #20 – #11

Time for another helping of Kylie’s best tracks – or at least my favourites … what are yours?

20. Some kind of bliss (from Impossible Princess)

Lead single from that difficult… um… sixth album. Didn’t really go to plan, to say the least, but tried to launch her “indie” (i.e. has guitars) career with a hand from James Dean Bradfield from the Manic Street Preachers. It comes out only a bit more indie than a Kym Marsh single, but it’s a nice fresh feeling spring track, with some lovely STRINGS (you know what I’m like with strings).

Happily it’s not now her lowest peaking single to date, it always deserved better than that label.

19. Turn it into love (from Kylie)

Another of the few representatives from the early years, going right back to the first album now. I didn’t really like most of the stuff during that era, seemed too many cutesy bits about boys and love and boys breaking hearts ETC ETC. But this seemed to have a lot more depth to it. I’m not crazy on the tone of voice, it’s quite high for most of it, must give her a sore throat singing it. Probably, I don’t know.

18. Magnetic Electric (from X)

I noted earlier that this sounded basically like a Dragonette song, which is NO bad thing, it’s even like a GOOD Dragonette single. Only made the cut as a bonus track from X which is a shame, I could happily have thrown a few of the tracks under the bus in favour of this. A naughty-but-nice electro slutfest, firmly on the right side of the line that Kylie seems to tightrope over when making songs like this.

17. Where the wild roses grow (from Murder Ballads)

A weird one now, and only the 2nd most unusual Kylie death behind that incident with the fork-lift truck, the disabled man and the Space Titanic… Anyway a gorgeous waltz duet with the horrifying Nick Cave. I love her deep vocals on there, that chorus is beautiful too. I suppose the death isn’t SO unexpected given its appearance on Murder Ballads, but it’s evidently news to poor Eliza Day.

16. Put yourself in my place (from Kylie Minogue)

I hate to say it but apart from a few notable moments I didn’t really get on with the KM94 album, a bit too much style over substance. I don’t mind though, it seems to please plenty of others and I always have the later albums in any case. Happily though there are exceptions to this, and this laid-back ballad really is wonderful. The space video with the … interestingly shaped spacecraft is colourful and marvellous. That “I hear that you’re in love now…” bridge still sounds great nearly 18 years (!) later.

15. Can’t get you out of my head (from Fever)

Time to get one of the biggies out of the way now, in fact THE biggie by any stretch of the imagination. I have a bit of a troubled relationship with this one, obviously at the time is was a magnificent return to form, and the Fever album – as I have said repeatedly – is mostly amazing. But something about this song leaves me a bit cold these days. The video is iconic (I try to avoid using that word unless absolutely fitting), and it secured probably most of her 00s output. I have warmed up to it again during my investigations this year, explaining its placement in the top 15, but let’s see where it ends up in a few years.

14. Especially for you (from Enjoy Yourself)

OK there aren’t a lot of random tracks in the upper echelons on my chart, but I suppose this is the one that will attract most of the criticism. I’d love to say it’s a rather crass cash-in on the Kylie & Jason mania rife at the start of the 90s, and that’s probably what it is. But somehow they managed to also make it a really sweet love song that I’ve loved for most of my life. It’s really probably my earliest Kylie song, so it has a special place in my heart in that respect.

Lest we forget this is her OTHER million seller…

13. Love at first sight (from Fever)

Back to Fever now, time for the third single to take a bow. Really perfect pop song in my opinion, especially as someone who was totally in love with a lot of early 00s pop/dance music. It has that superb video where she’s obviously having the time of her life in a strange CGI courtyard inhabited by virtual pizza delivery men.

It did strike me that this is quite a strange song to sing along to, I think it does rely quite a lot on the production, the tune is a little strange on its own somehow. But anyway, BRAVO

12. Stars (from X)

X was a funny old album wasn’t it? Some really horrific moments, but for every ‘nu-di-ty’ there was some amazing moment like this. I can see why it never got a release as a single (not least because they made a total fuckup of the whole campaign), but this has just grown and grown for me.

Can’t quite put my finger on why I love this so much, it’s got a great mix of pop sensibilities and commercial dance production, maybe that’s all I want from Kylie.

11. Red blooded woman (from Body Language)

Right, last one for now. A slutty RnB tinged followup to the spiky uncommercial Slow, and she gets back on the playlists with what people criticised for being a blatant attempt at an American crossover. Apart from vaguely Timbaland-style electro flourishes I don’t QUITE see it myself, but whatever. BOY BOY! That just has so many little hooks, and earlier this year it revealed itself to me as one of my most fondly remembered Kylie tracks. It was a surprise to me too…

You’ll never get to heaven if you’re scaredagettinHIIIIIGGGGHH!

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My Kylie Top 30 – #30 – #21

Right, you’ve patiently allowed me to run through all of Kylie’s albums track by track, as well as a few truckloads of b-sides and rarities … so it’s finally time to start picking favourites!

30. Nothing can stop us (B-Side to Confide In Me)

OK let’s kick this off with a B-Side now, a Saint Etienne cover that had to sit in the shadow of the colossally brilliant Confide in Me. I must say I wasn’t impressed too much on the WHOLE about Kylie’s extensive B-Sides collection, but there were a few really gorgeous moments, this being one of them.

Makes me think of SPRINGTIME and leafy boulevards etc, it’s a lovely throwback to… I don’t know, the 50s? Very twee and not particularly commerical, but the instrumentation is gorgeous, that little flutey flourish in the chorus is beautiful.

29. Better the Devil you know (from Rhythm of love)

OK I know you’re going to yell at me about all this, but I don’t really care. I’ve made it quite clear that I didn’t really get into early Kylie as much as most of you did. After my introduction to Kylie when I was about 6, I wasn’t really into music that much until I was about 12, by which time I’d missed the supposed golden age. I’m not quite done with this era yet (and when I am you’ll yell again), but this is a great pop song that apparently I had not dissected enough, which might be why I still like it.

28. BPM (B-Side to I Believe In You)

Yes another B-side… I was a bit surprised at how it all worked out when I sorted out my top 30, I doubt this is a particular favourite. But this is a great clubby track, I just wish she had approached this arena a bit less self-consciously during the X era, but maybe that’s just me. Love that beeps alarm-sound thing, and that amazing bassline. Cheap thrill, but I can hardly be blamed for that, can I?

27. On a night like this (from Light years)

I’ve had a bit of a troubled relationship with this track, obviously it was the big followup single to Spinning Around, and I did like it a lot at the time. In fact I think it came out just when I was going to uni, so it certainly has the nostalgia card (maybe that’s even backfiring a bit…). It’s got a great chorus, and all the pieces are there for a fabulous pop song. I haven’t QUITE connected with it if I’m honest, but it’s hard to argue with something as catchy as this, and it shoulder-barges its way into my top 30.

26. Obsession (from Body Language)

Anyway a little pearl from the troubled “Bowel Leakage” era. I did like that album despite everything. Sure, I wanted another Fever (or a progression in a similar direction), and BL certainly wasn’t that. But I persevered (also I lived with a Kylie loon), and I have a fondness for that period of my life and the album with it.

I really feel like this would have made a great single, that nonstop tempo is great, almost a Latin feel to it.

25. Come into my world (from Fever)

A bit of a strange one, and I can’t say this got here without the aid of the brilliant Fischerspooner remix used to such great effect at the TOTP awards in 2002. But the original version has a weird hypnotic quality about it, and of course there’s still that brilliant video as well. I’m STILL not sure quite how they made that but it’s incredible.

OK so it doesn’t quite measure up to the big Fever singles, or indeed a few of its album tracks, but this really WAS the golden age as far as I’m concerned.

24. In my arms (from X)

In my arms … oh it really shouldn’t have been this way. This was meant to be a huge comeback single, backed by Calvin Harris, sending her back to the top after the cancer, but it just didn’t happen did it? This is probably the first of the big disappointments sales-wise too, just creeping into the top 10. It probably didn’t help that it leaked months and months before even the lead single arrived.

But it’s still great, and a great high-point for the very uneven X album.

23. Finer feelings (from Let’s get to it)

I was surprised to find that I have songs from every one of Kylie’s 11 studio albums, so what could I have from Let’s get to it? Well there’s not really any competition is there? A very EMPOWERING track about not being a massive whore and having proper relationships etc. A real progression from the generally quite fluffy buoyant pop music from the first three albums, it’s a shame it didn’t have such a commercial impact but isn’t that always the way?

22. Your love (from Fever)

More Fever now, and an album track I’ve loved for many years. Feels like a more refined version of Please Stay somehow, probably only in the sound of it, a rather bleak pop-dance track with the occasional sprinkle of Latin. The chorus is quite understated but that doesn’t make it any less spellbinding. Gorgeous.

21. Aphrodite (from Aphrodite)

Well I DID have my reservations about this, but then that’s coming from someone who loved American Life (title track and all), so it would feel wrong to criticise this for being a rather naff ‘anthem’ with lyrics that would make Des’ree choke on her toast.

But I love the chorus, it’s crap as hell but the production really puts some OOMPH behind it. In fact it’s that production that really sets it apart from most of the Aphrodite album, that comes across just like a Clubbers Guide album at times. EMPOWERING.

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