The boss of glitter-bomb pop, Kylie Minogue, returns with a euphoric album that glistens with her signature tuneful dance music style.
Kiss Me Once arrives four years after Kylie‘s last album of originals, enough time in pop years for a whole generation to saunter past and not Google her. Despite the nagging paranoia from fans after she signed to Roc Nation management, Kylie‘s new album remains ever so true to the impossible princess’s brand.
It’s bright, it’s melodic and it’s sophisticated in a way you would expect from a seasoned performer of Minogue’s calibre.
For an album that boasts different cliques of writers and producers on almost every track, it’s a marvel Kiss Me Once didn’t pan out like the schizophonic 2007 X album. So kudos must be given to Kylie and her co-executive producer, Sia, for an expert job of compiling a cohesive record that highlighted different aspects of her artistry.
The project’s lead single ‘Into The Blue’ is a mature, anthemic pop number that picks up nicely from Minogue’s last UK Top 5 hit ‘All The Lovers’.
It’s a beautiful starting point, however, it will soon be forgotten when you dive into more immediate uptempos on the album like the Cutfather-produced ‘Million Miles’ and the modern disco jam ‘Sexy Love’, which mind you, would have made for a sick’ning 2014 Kool and The Gang single.
Elsewhere, the coy ‘Les Sex’ is an explosive instant fave. On one level, the melody sounds like a twinkly-eyed Kylie single from a past life until you hear the aggressive electronic squelches belt the track into submission. There’s a scattering of PG-rated sexual and drug references with a camp-as-tits chorus – really, it’s everything you want a Kylie hit to be. “In the dark we don’t say ‘no’, we say ‘yes please’…” she advices.
The sole Pharrell-crafted track – ‘I Was Gonna Cancel’ – may sound formulaically Pharrell-esque but the uplifting lyrics deserve our full attention. “Just hop out of your bed, go ahead face the day… what’s on the other side, you’ll never know unless you go!” Kylie sings. Beyoncé fans will be clutching their pearls at the “go-go-go!” bit which blatantly rips off ‘Green Light’.
While a sizeable grab of the album is bright and bubbly, there are also some proper mid-tempo gems to be uncovered in Kiss Me Once.
The lush and wistful ‘Feels So Good’ gives us a break from the sugar rush. The track is actually a cover of Tom Aspaul‘s breakthrough track ‘Indiana’, which was produced by MNEK (an up-and-coming hit maker for Misha B, Little Mix and Mutya Keisha Siobhan).
There is a beautiful, introspective ballad in ‘If Only’, which will reveal itself with more listens – oh, if only we could cut out the distracting vocal effects. If there is one criticism that could be leveraged against Kiss Me Once, it will be that it comes across as unnecessarily overproduced in parts.
In the centre of it all, you hear Minogue delivering some of her most earnest vocal performances, you want to reach out and connect with it but often the sentiment is blurred by the competing soundscape.
Let’s face it. You don’t get to Kylie‘s MVP of pop status without a ferociously devoted and equally critical fan base like the Al-Kylie-aeda (which will forever be my favourite stan name).
There is no point in seeking out a new Light Years, Fever or Rhythm of Love because, frankly, that’s been done. What Kylie needs right now is a Kylie album for 2014. I am frankly not concerned if Kiss Me Once produces any hit singles. I mean, it will be great if it did and we had a Kylie single that muscled in on the high rotation list but let’s not be desperate about it.
The point of any new Kylie material these days is to fuel a massive, dollar-hollering tour. Therefore, the marker of success should be whether these tunes could translate into proper showstoppers. And frankly, if the eventual Kiss Me Once tour was the last show Minogue did, I would be quite pleased with it.
Stand out tracks: ‘Into the Blue’, ‘Les Sex’, ‘If Only’ and ‘I Was Gonna Cancel’.
Kylie Minogue‘s Kiss Me Once is out in Australia on 14 March and in the UK on 17 March.