At this stage in our blog series, with 2 artists to go before we tackle the iconic and legendary artists who are on a whole other stratosphere (like Queen, The Beatles, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and others); I guess you could say that these next two artists, possibly would be arbitrary. Like I could pick any two artists, and they’d be valid. You may not agree with them, but they’d still be valid. And this is for many reasons. Obviously, there are thousands upon thousands of artists who have not made Jon’s and my list (for various reasons), inclusive of artists like Foo Fighters, Kesha, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, KJ-52, Pussycat Dolls, Snoop Dogg, Mumford & Sons, Guns’N’Roses, Daryl Braithwaite, and Kacey Chambers. Other artists whom I have not included in this blog series (and possibly also won’t feature in the list of 50 iconic legendary artists) are Mister Mister, INXS, Flyleaf, The Script, Marina Prior, James Arthur, Midnight Oil and Eskimo Joe. Maybe it’s because the scope of this blog series is maybe too broad (we’re including artists who are influential across time periods, genres as well as who we deem to be influential on a personal level!); and it is possibly because of the presence of CCM artists in this blog series, that many readers may indeed scratch their heads. Chris Tomlin, Hillsong (all facets), Delirious?, Newsboys, Rebecca St. James, dc Talk, Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, for KING & COUNTRY, Andrew Peterson, Jason Gray, Lecrae, Tenth Avenue North, Michael W. Smith, Carman and Amy Grant… possibly wouldn’t make a ‘normal’ influential artist list if another person were compiling this list; while it would also be debatable if Switchfoot, Skillet or Needtobreathe would make this list too. While Jon and I both have our reasons for including Christian artists on our list (because we are believers, and these aforementioned artists have impacted our faith and our journey in life quite heavily!); this means that other noteworthy artists miss out. And that’s just the fact of life.
And so, as I fix my gaze from Rihanna, the R&B/pop extraordinaire, onto this next artist, who I have also carefully chosen; I was debating between a number of artists. Ultimately, I settled upon one artist (and the rest I will speak about briefly in our honourable mentions posts!); however the decision was actually confirmed to me while I was watching the movie The Jesus Music not too long ago. See, that documentary was about the history of Christian music- and in that particular documentary, it focused on a few artists. It wasn’t a perfect film, and sure, it painted Christian music as this industry where the songs were generally homogenised, pasteurised, and sanitised, for lack of a better phrase. However, the film highlighted that Amy Grant was the artist that made CCM appealing and cool to the mainstream. She pushed the boundaries of what it meant to be a CCM artist but also performing for the mainstream as well, with her song “Baby, Baby” and her entire album Heart In Motion– and she was no doubt in my mind a pioneer of the whole CCM industry and the CCM/pop experience. She crossed over into mainstream, never looked back- and hence CCM has been all the better for it. And so why do I make a point about Amy and her music? Well, as I was sitting and watching this thought-out and well-produced documentary, I thought ‘now who has that kind of reach in the mainstream?’. Is there one artist who has revolutionised their industry so much- that even one album or one song makes them influential? Have I written about them already? If not, then who would that person be? Because… we only have two spots left. And yes, the answer was staring at me in the face while I was watching The Jesus Music- and thus I had to speak about this artist for this next blog! One could say I’ve already spoken about the artist who revolutionised the music industry. And in a weird way- I have. And Jon has too. Artists like J.Lo, P!NK, Christina, JT, Taylor, Beyonce, Bieber, Mariah, Spice Girls, 1D, Carrie, Backstreet Boys, Guy, Ed, OneRepublic, Shania, Delta, Linkin Park, Legend and Coldplay, have all revolutionised the music industry for the genre and musical sphere that they were in at the time. But have any of these artists topped the charts in 5 different decades?
Yes, the artist I’m delving into this week, is British/Australian pop icon Kylie Minogue. And just to address the elephant in the room- yes, I did toy with the idea of writing about Madonna. I mean… she’s Madonna, so… reason enough? But I didn’t feel comfortable writing about someone who seemed to flaunt her body that little bit too much– although Madonna does make my honourable mentions posts. Sure, Kylie does seem to sing about similar themes to Madonna (relationships, love sex), and she does have some risqué and sensual songs. But to me (and this is my opinion), there’s this air of development and refinedness in Kylie’s music that begs to be looked at and deserves to be talked about. When I delved further and deeper into Kylie’s music over the past couple of weeks, there didn’t seem to be any question of Madonna vs Kylie. I knew I had to write about Kylie, and that was that. With Kylie being known by the British press as the Princess of Pop, she has also received 344 award nominations and 217 wins, inclusive of many Brit Awards, ARIA Music Awards (17!), Logie Awards (for her role in the 80’s in the Aussie hit TV show Neighbours!), Grammy Awards, MTV Video Music Awards and Guinness World Records. Kylie has had 96 singles (plus 19 promotional singles and 10 songs that also charted), inclusive of her smash hits “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”, “Spinning Around” and “On A Night Like This”; and personally for the 2001 album Fever alone, Kylie is influential. For me, it wasn’t about knowing all of Kylie’s music right off the bat. It was about feeing at peace when writing about her and talking about her and dissecting all of her songs. I felt peace with Kylie, and less peace with Madonna. You could argue one way or the other, but that’s how I landed. And though you all could read about Kylie in her Wikipedia page about her artistry and her impact and legacy and her achievements and her cancer diagnosis and her acting abilities… I’m not here to persuade you to listen to Kylie because of her achievements. Sure, these are all great, and I will be touching upon these later on. But what drew me to Kylie at first was her music, her artistry, her song writing, her ability to engage as an entertainer and as a performer. It was the many singles she has had over the past 30-odd years. And thus, this is what I will be primarily delving into. So, bear with me. After this, we’re all going to be Kylie Minogue experts, and probably Kylie fans too!
I guess a good song can stand the test of time. I’m so grateful to have songs that do this in different ways. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head still sounds modern and yet is very much symbolic of that early 2000 era for me. A song like The Loco-Motion sounds so retro, so it has a real sense of nostalgia to it.
Pop music by its very nature is cyclic. So, disco will come and go. At the start of the lockdown, there seemed to be a disco revival happening. But the albums that came out at that time were made before the pandemic or, in the case of mine, had already started. And my album was already titled DISCO. So yes, I think there is a revival, but also that the genre has been received even more positively now, as so many of us enjoy the escapism and nostalgia of this kind of music.
My musical journey is a bit back to front. I had studied some music and singing as a kid and then started acting at age 11. When I was 17, I made a demo cassette with three songs on it. I thought it would be handy for acting roles when they needed to know if you could sing. Somewhere in my mind (or dream?) I imagined what it would be like to become a singer. A pop singer!
Then while I was 19 and acting on an Australian soap opera called Neighbours, the cast performed a couple of songs for a football fundraiser and for one of them, I sang The Loco-Motion. A music show producer at the same TV station came up to me after and said, ‘You should release a record!’ So, I recorded a demo of The Loco-Motion and then signed with a record label. I immediately had a number one song for seven weeks and the biggest selling song of the ’80s in Australia. What I didn’t have was any performance experience, so I basically had to learn on the job. That definitely provided more than its share of challenges and surprises.
There are lots of secrets, let’s call them ‘tricks of the trade’ and I’ve learnt many of them along the way [of how to stay looking youthful]. Good glam, lights, good team, good angles and styling. It’s smoke and mirrors but I do try to take good care of myself too. Some of me is still quite ‘Spinning Around 2000’ but obviously some of me is very much now ‘Disco 2021.’ I try not to be overwhelmed by pressure to be ‘forever youthful.’ I feel I have pretty much the same enthusiasm for life and for the job, if not more!
At the moment, with the release of the 2020 album DISCO (which spawned the ‘spin-off’ albums DISCO: Guest List Edition, Infinite Disco and Disco: Extended Mixes), firmly places Kylie in the club/remix/disco/dance genre. Yet in the 80’s, when she was starting out, Kylie was pop. And what has happened between that time is nothing short of remarkable. Kylie, the debut album which released in 1988, is an album that by and large isn’t grandiose nor impacting nor innovative nor ground-breaking. It was big in the UK (the best-selling album of the 1980s by a female artist!), but not so much in the U.S. But it did sow the seeds bit by bit- and did provide with us a glimpse of the mega-star that was to come in the upcoming years. “I Should Be So Lucky”, Kylie’s first single, is a dance/pop Rick Astley-like “Never Gonna Give You Up”-style melody, as Kylie ardently and fervently relays to us all that she feels lucky in love… with someone in her dreams. For a song from the 80’s, this melody is criminally underrated now, but I feel that its relatability and relevancy makes this melody poignant and heartfelt- Kylie sings about unrequited love, and thus the song encourages us all to step out of our comfort zone and take a risk when it comes to love, because we never know the future and we might become happier as a result than just dreaming about the perfect special someone. “Got To Be Certain”, a melody that speaks about the risks of having a relationship in that we can have our hearts broken sometimes, reminds us that we should enter into relationships with eyes wide open, so that we can have a realistic expectation as to where the relationship is headed. Too often people flippantly enter into relationships with people, and then ‘fall out of love’ in a short time; and thus, this melody speaks to the core of us all, and encourages us to take things slow with a person, and don’t date for the sake of it- just to tick off the item on your bucket list.
“The Loco-motion” is a fun, energetic, high-octane dance melody similar in theme to “Macarena”, as Kylie passionately and enthusiastically teaches us the steps to a new dance move in the catchy and poppy music video; while the heartbreaking, emotional and vulnerable “Je ne sais pas pourquoi” speaks about a girl being stood up on a date and still loving the guy despite him being a no-show. With this song delving deep into the intricacies and details of a relationship and how one person is so invested, and the other is so laid-back; Kylie once again speaks about the potential risks of dating but implores us all to still give love a chance, because with the right person, a situation in this song will not occur. “It’s No Secret” features Kylie as a jilted and scorned woman who is seeing the light about her ex for the first time. The melody speaks about how everyone knew that the relationship wasn’t going to work except for her; and as Kylie again implores us all to take some time before entering into relationships, this song is a melody that is still relevant today. “Turn It Into Love”, a positive, optimistic pop song about looking on the bright side of life (about turning sadness and hate into love and joy!) and “I’ll Still Be Loving You”, a harrowing yet hopeful melody about a woman still not over her ex and him always still having a place in her heart, are the other personal standouts on such a moving and eclectic debut project; and it was clear from day one that Kylie was someone special. The many, many albums afterwards and the hits that were spawned were proof of Kylie longevity.
If Kylie introduced us to the legendary pop icon who we would all fall in love with her songs and her bubbly personality, the second album Enjoy Yourself, further cemented Kylie as a UK/Australia star. The project failed to garner a hit in the U.S. though and Kylie was dropped from her label shortly after. Nonetheless, there are still some inspiring and thought-provoking melodies that are sure to encourage us all to dive deeper into Kylie’s music. “Hand On Your Heart”, a typical 80’s pop song, speaks about showing each other our true feelings, and being honest in a relationship from the very start- with Kylie through the persona expressing to her partner to put his ‘hand on his heart’ and to tell the truth about his feelings- and not string her along any further. It’s a melody that encourages us to be honest and to tell the truth- and with that theme still so relevant today, this song is a track that needs to be listened to by today’s society, so as to know the fact that we should tell the truth always and be honest with everyone we meet. “Never Too Late”, a breezy, fun dance/pop melody, speaks about forgiveness and how two people on the brink of splitting up, can reconcile and be stronger than ever, if they can both put in the work, while “Tears On My Pillow” is a contemplative, reflective ballad about one person realising that the other person in a relationship cause them angst, pain and ‘tears on their pillow’. “Wouldn’t Change A Thing” speaks about how the persona wouldn’t change a thing about their tumultuous relationship with their ex, reminding us all that every relationship shapes us to be who we are today; while the title track celebrates living in the moment and having fun, and living each day as if it were your last, and the powerful piano ballad “Heaven And Earth” features Kylie through the persona singing to her ex, telling him that he doesn’t have to move heaven and earth for her, but he does have to try to fix the relationship and be on the same page as her. Enjoy Yourself wasn’t as successful as Kylie, but as far as sophomore albums go, it is no sophomore slump!
With the first two albums cementing Kylie as a pop princess, it was the third album Rhythm Of Love, released in 1990, that was a turning point in Kylie’s career- showing her as a more mature, ‘serious’ artist. With a more dance-influenced sound and a more ‘sexual’ image, the album was the least successful of her first three albums, however it was critically much more acclaimed. “Better Than The Devil You Know”, a melody whereby Kylie sings about staying in an abusive or toxic relationship because it’s ‘better the devil you know’, reminds us of the reality that many women (or men!) face when they are in unhealthy relationships with seemingly no way out, and encourages us to help those in need and help those around us who need our assistance in any way possible. While “Step Back In Time” is just a happy-go-lucky positive dance song about remembering the good old days and dancing to the music- it’s a song fit for the dance floor in any era in time. “What Do I Have To Do”, a catchy dance melody, features Kylie confessing her love for her significant other, and exclaiming that she wants to let him know her feelings and asks him ‘what does she have to do to get his attention?’. A song that is just as about unrequited love as it is about owning up to your feelings and manning up (or woman-ing up!) and taking the risk and telling that someone how you feel; “What Do I Have To Do?” encourages us to step out in faith and take the first step. “Shocked”, a powerful dance anthem, speaks about how Kylie is shocked at the fact that love has crept up upon her and how she is shocked by the power of love and how infatuated she is and how intensely she feels for someone; while the optimistic “Things Can Only Get Better”, encourages us to have faith that the future will be better (and to have the determination to actively do something about the state of the world we live in!), and the vibrant and energetic title track compares love to music, with Kylie earnestly and beautifully creating a bop and a track that is fit for the dance floor even today!
In the 90’s, Kylie kept delivering high quality albums, with mixed success. Let’s Get To It, Kylie Minogue and Impossible Princess featured Kylie being edgy and cool in all different ways- and all three albums featured Kylie showing us different parts of herself that we all had never seen before. Critically, these albums were critiqued to a certain extent (two of the three had some form of negative reviews!), and commercially, each of the three didn’t rise high up the charts. Yet on hindsight, there are some gems to be found in Kylie’s albums of the 90’s, even though I myself am drawn more to the Kylie of the 2000’s. “Word Is Out” is a no-holds-barred in-your-face about condemning someone for their past sins because the ‘word is out’ and everyone is talking about a scandal; and as Kylie confidently relays to us all that sometimes public opinion is more important than truth, we are encouraged to live a scandal free life and a life that people will be drawn to- a life we can be proud to say that we lived. “If You Were With Me Now”, a heartbreaking and emotional ballad, details the breaking down of a relationship, with Kylie and guest vocal Keith Washington dwelling upon what-ifs and hoping that things between the two people could change and hoping that the world would be different if the relationship was still intact. It’s a song that’s one of those ‘sliding doors’ moments, and has us thinking about our past- hopefully though the song provides us with fuel to keep on going and to solider through the future with determination and purpose. “Give Me Just A Little More Time”, a cover of the Chairmen Of The Board 1970 soul classic, is recorded beautifully and energetically here by Kylie, while the introspective and pensive ballad “Finer Feelings” speaks about longing for substance in a relationship, and longing to connect with another on a soul level, because ‘…what is love without the finer feelings? It’s just sex without the sexual healing, passion dies without some tender meanings, It ain’t love without the finer feelings…’. “I Guess I Like It Like That” is a weird song that I had to do a double take of, as Kylie sings in this 6-minute track one refrain over and over. But kudos to Kylie for this out-of-the-box creative and inventive track- which may not be for everyone, but that’s ok.
“Confide In Me”, from the 1994 album Kylie Minogue, speaks about being a friend and a listening ear for someone who needs it, and also delves into the concept of never judging someone’s problems, nor giving advice if they don’t want it. In this world, people have problems and issues, and this song encourages us to be the friend that people feel comfortable being around, as ‘…we all get hurt by love and we all have our cross to bear, but in the name of understanding now, their problems should be shared…’. While the moving and impacting “Put Yourself In My Place” features Kylie delivering some timely and sage advice to her ex, reminding him that someday he will feel like her when someone else dumps him, and that he should feel more empathetic to her, as some day he will receive his comeuppance in a unexpected fashion. A low-key savage beatdown delivered in a backhanded hind of way, “Put Yourself In My Place” is disguised as a ballad, but the subject matter is anything but- it’s a warning but also a song that tells the ex of his unlikely and harrowing fate of people leaving him. Sort of like a song to tell someone that karma is coming.
“Where Is This Feeling”, a dance/party anthem and also an experimental spoken word piece, speaks about the persona feeling empty and wanting to know where the feeling of love is- and instead trying to conjure up a relationship where she is inserting herself into a ‘relationship’ from afar- sort of like a gender-flipped version of “Every Breath You Take”. The lyrics coupled with the video seem borderline stalkerish to me, and as Kylie subtly encourages us to not be so intense about relationships that won’t go anywhere, and instead to take stock and invest in relationships that are healthy for both people, this melody highlights the fact that people can be in unhealthy relationships and not know it. The jazz and piano led melody “Nothing Can Stop Us” speaks about the confidence Kylie has in her life with the people around her, and that ‘…I never felt so good, I never felt so strong, nothing can stop us now…’; while the powerful and reflective “Time Will Pass You By” encourages us to live life in the present and to treasure and cherish each moment, and the hopeful and expectant melody “Love Is Waiting” speaks about the excitement of a new relationship, and the feeling that arises with it, as Kylie concludes that love is waiting for her around the corner.
Kylie’s 6th album Impossible Princess was probably Kylie’s lowest point commercially and critically. I for one didn’t really connect with these melodies, but there are some high points and treasures here if you sit with them and ruminate for a bit. With the album being on the whole Kylie’s attempt at being a rock artist and an indie/alternative artist (similar in sound to Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morrisette or Natalie Imbruglia), “Some Kind Of Bliss” imprints us with the rock vibe from the get-go, and has Kylie singing about the bliss she feels when she is with someone she is attracted to. It’s a very ‘pop’ kind of subject, but the instruments and the arrangements did a number on me, that’s for sure! “Did It Again” is another rock banger, and to me is Kylie at her best- different, but still best, as she warns a friend about a bad situation, they are getting themselves into, and imparts timely advice as to what the friend should do in that situation. With the video being one of the most inventive Kylie Minogue videos I’ve seen, “Did It Again” is an underrated track, and definitely a guilty pleasure of mine. “Breathe” is another low-key album highlight, as Kylie vividly describes in detail her mental and emotional state, relaying that she needs to breathe and to take time for herself, while “Cowboy Style” has Kylie embarking on musical elements of country infused with dance and pop, making for a musical mishmash on one of the weirdest songs I’ve heard. Kylie also breaks boundaries with “Too Far”, a deep dive into Kylie’s psyche, and an analysis and examination of Kylie’s feelings and her mental and emotional state- it’s an incredibly vulnerable and honest track. Met with universal acclaim, “Too Far” was one of Kylie’s few solo writes in her career, and musically is one of the most rock/alternative/experimental melodies she’s ever recorded; while Kylie also impresses with the alternative/rock melody “Love Takes Over Me”, where she imparts to us that the feeling of love has taken over her and she is never the same.
For me, Impossible Princess was an album that was experimental at its core, yet it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t the best nor the most cohesive album from Kylie, but it was certainly not a travesty as to what the public deemed that it was. With the world not completely loving Impossible Princess though, simply because Kylie completely changed her genre on this album in order to creatively and musically challenge herself; this meant that the follow-up album Light Years featured a more dance/care-free/pop sound, and Kylie went back to her roots. Some would say that the song “Spinning Around” allegedly saved Kylie’s career. And… I guess it wasn’t hard to see why. Because for me, this 2000 pop album is so much lighter, catchier, and danceable than Impossible Princess and it shows us that Kylie can experiment musically, but pop is where she fits in the most. With the lyrical content of “Spinning Around” subtly alluding to her past commercial failure of Impossible Princess also, Kylie passionately reiterates that she ‘…traded in my sorrow for some joy that I borrowed, from back in the day, threw away my old clothes, got myself a better wardrobe, I got something to say, I’m through with the past, ain’t no point in looking back, the future will be, and did I forget to mention that I found a new direction, and it leads back to me? I’m spinning around, move out of my way, I know you’re feeling me ’cause you like it like this, I’m breaking it down, I’m not the same, I know you’re feeling me ’cause you like it like this…’. But at its core, “Spinning Around” is a fun pop song that isn’t meant to be taken seriously, and is meant to be danced to in the clubs and in the bars and on the dance floor.
Light Years the album isn’t as commercially nor critically successful as Kylie’s most ground-breaking album Fever; however, this project paved the way for the 2001 timeless project. Without Light Years there wouldn’t be a Fever album- and I don’t know if all of us have gotten this fact properly digested and processed yet. “On A Night Like This”, an EDM/dance ballad, speaks about a timeless and pure love, and how Kylie wants to stay with her significant other forever on the most perfect night. It’s a romantic song to its core; and is similar in vibe to “When You Say Nothing At All” from Ronan Keating. This song is also such a joy and a pleasure to listen to and soak in the poppy and raw emotional atmosphere. “Kids”, with Robbie Williams, is a satirical/meta/tongue-in-cheek pop/rock melody where Kylie and Robbie sing about the high points in their career thus far, and generally deliver a song where it’s also fit for dancing and moving to- another track where it’s a fun melody where we don’t have to listen to the lyrics that hard.
The Latin inspired and infused pop melody “Please Stay” has Kylie imploring to her lover to ‘…please stay, my babe, who knows when we’ll dance again? And I don’t want to know regret, I’ll do all that I can just to get you to stay, my babe…and I don’t want to say goodbye, but who knows where we’ll be after tonight?…’ and is something that could’ve fit nicely in a film like The Mask of Zorro; while “Your Disco Needs You” is an ABBA-like party track speaking about the power of the genre of disco and the fact that people can dance to a disco song without a care in the world. “Butterfly” speaks about the power of love making us feel like we’ve got wings like a butterfly (like we can conquer the world!); while the poppy danceable melody “I’m So High” highlights a love so intense and so great that it can make us feel high. The title track vividly explores space travel through metaphors, and compares the journey of listening to this album to space travel, as Kylie compares the listening experience of Light Years to the epic adventure of travelling in space and seeing the stars; while Kylie also covers Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical”, and creates a more acoustic, relaxed, and laid-back dance rendition.
We’ve gone through my adolescence and I was ready for pop, the world was the world for pop. Basically the first meeting with Parlophone Records, I signed with them, and we were all just ready. “Spinning Around” wasn’t easy to get right. My part recording it was really difficult, but I know my A&R at the time was like a dog and a bone with that song. He just wouldn’t let go until it was right. Turns out, it was right. It was just — you know, when all the stars are aligned, and the video works perfectly. And we were off again. I thought my career was, if not over, very much clinging on. I actually bought a place in LA and I thought, “I might just might hang out in America for a while.” Then, “Spinning Around.” I’d been doing this for forever already. I didn’t know that was going to happen, and thankfully it did.
It was all very noughties [the timeline for Light Years and Fever and Body Language within 3 years]. I don’t know about unstoppable, but it was all happening. Like I said before, before “Spinning Around,” I just didn’t know what the future held for me. So, yeah, it was busy. Through that period, I got back into live touring. That’s the one thing I will be thankful for Impossible Princess. It made me go on the road in Australia. I had to fight for a measly projector and two dancers! Basically, the set was cardboard and lycra. We had literally nothing, but it just kind of got me on stage and connecting with the audience and doing small gigs. That led to 2001, the tour which was for my Light Years album. Then we went stratospheric with Fever and did the Fever tour, and really nailed that. Then Body Language, so right, it was busy.
I definitely think that your early twenties is where you’re supposed to be doing all of that [dancing and partying]. I happened to be in London, which was incredible. You didn’t club once a month, you went once or twice a week. You were mingling. You had to be there, it’s not like you could live through social media and pretend you were there. You had to be there and experience it and go where the lights were. To paraphrase Prince, you were either going home or going to someone’s house. They were heady and wonderful days. Now, it’s more like I’ll have a sensible wine or something. But, yeah, I can have the occasional big night. Just definitely not like the old days. But I do understand how music can make you stay up.
Now… here we come to the ‘meat’ or the heart of what this blog is all about. It’s taken us probably half or a third of the length of this blog (so sorry for making this blog so long, but it needs to be as there’s a ton to write about and examine about Kylie’s music!), but it’s time to talk about Fever. Kylie’s 8th album is the one that brought her success in the U.S. Even if her popularity in the U.S. has waned a bit, Fever made the world take notice of what Kylie was all about. With “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” reaching number one in over 40 countries and selling 5 million copies, this song is still Kylie’s most successful single to date. Fever debuted on the Billboard 200 at number three, Kylie’s highest-charting album in the region, while the album also peaked at number 10 on the Canadian Albums Chart. Kylie also received many awards and accolades for the album and the song at the ARIA Awards in 2002, while she also won her first Brit Award for best international album for Fever. In 2003, she was nominated in the Grammys for the best dance recording of “Love At First Sight”, while she won the award for “Come Into My World” in 2004- and this was the first time an Australian music artist had won in a major category since Men at Work in 1983. And as we marvel at all of the freakishly amazing feats Kylie accomplished with this album, let’s further dive deep into the songs! Knowing that these songs won big makes them sound all the more special and more homely, don’t you reckon? Particularly since these songs are from an Aussie- someone from my home country too!
Lyric and theme-wise, “Can’t Get You Our Of My Head” is similar to “Every Breath You Take”, in that the persona is infatuated, or maybe even obsessed, with an unnamed person. A crush, a lover, a one-night stand or someone who doesn’t know the persona’s existence; this melody borders on the persona stalking the object of their desire until it seems like the persona is crazy or unhinged. Musically, this pop/dance melody is a bop and masks the lyrics’ darker nature; however as we dig deeper, we find that this song is needed- it makes us think twice about whether the love we have for our friends and family is genuine and based on something real, rather than possibly us falling in love with a fantasy. “Love At First Sight”, probably one of the poppiest songs Kylie had recorded at that point, speaks about the feeling of ecstasy and intense love towards a special someone, and of the crazy notion of ‘love at first sight’. A melody fit for the dance floor, Kylie sings about finding that special someone, and we long to have this feeling for our forever person as well. “In Your Eyes”, similar on concept and theme to “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”, dives deep into the intense connection we can feel with another, and the deep soul bond we can find when looking in another’s eyes; while the insanely clever and creative music video “Come Into My World” (you need to watch this clip to actually experience one of the most mind-blowing awesome Kylie videos ever!) is another standout- the song is pretty great too. Though the subject matter is again about relationships and longing for that special someone to come into our worlds and make us feel special and incredible beyond measure; “Come Into My World” is a song that never gets old. The title track is a dance melody that compares instant infatuation and an intense love with a fever and a sickness that you can’t just get over; while “More, More, More” is a track that highlights Kylie’s intense and passionate desire for more with her partner/lover. “Fragile” speaks about the feeling of being small and tongue tied in the presence of someone you love, and Kylie’s assertion that ‘…this could be the closest thing to love…’; while “Your Love” once again highlights the fact that ‘…your love’s got me going around and around and it’s taking me over, your love’s got me tumbling upside down and I want you to know it…’, that pure and real love makes us feel special, like we’re floating on air, and like we can literally conquer the road and do anything we set our mind to. Feeling deeply in love makes us feel like we’re strong and invincible.
2003’s Body Language followed Fever, and the result was that we were presented with an underperforming album, due to the music deviating from dance, and being more R&B, hip-hop, synth-pop and pop in nature. For me, I found this sound from Kylie to be interesting and inspiring; and as I’m not one to pigeonhole anyone to a particular genre, I quickly found myself resonating with this music, as I did with Impossible Princess (rock) and the first three albums in the 80’s (pure 80’s pop). Lead single “Slow” dives into the intricacies of physical intimacy, and Kylie relaying to her man that she wants a deeper soul connection as well as physical intimacy. A song that is sensual, sophisticated, graceful, and stylish all at once, this laid-back melody is different from any dance melody Kylie has done; but it works here and is still super catchy. “Slow” works if you’re listening deeply to the lyrics, and “Slow” also works if you choose this melody to be background music- and these two points are positives for Kylie in my own opinion! “Red Blooded Woman”, another melody that musically deviates from its disco counterparts, is poppy in nature, and dives deep into Kylie’s happy-go-lucky, frivolous, and carefree nature in life- in this song she longs to have a one-night stand with someone and declares that she is a red-blooded woman, and the man needs to accommodate her wants and needs. With the melody being as intense and direct as that, we are presented with an assertive woman who knows what she wants in the moment. And while “Red Blooded Woman” is super catchy, could this song be a warning that sometimes men may not be able to handle strong independent women? But maybe some men could handle them? Just my two cents worth. The laid back keys led ballad “Chocolate”, like “Slow”, is a meticulous, sassy, flirty and well-crafted masterpiece, with Kylie reiterating that her love is like chocolate- sweet and addictive; while “Secret (Take You Home)” has Kylie speaking through the persona about how she at the moment feels like she wants to have a ‘good time’ with someone and doesn’t want anything serious- this is a party song and a melody in which the lyrics hardly matter in the grand scheme of things. “Promises”, a Latin flavoured pop/dance melody, has Kylie lamenting on a lost love, and declaring that the promises that the guy made to her were meaningless- and this track subtly encourages us to take the time and invest in our relationships to make sure that they’re rock solid and rooted in something real; while “Still Standing”, a dance/club/pop melody, is a superficial song about dancing and having fun, and the acoustic guitar and keys led slower melody “Someday” delves into the notion that the persona’s ex will soon realise that he missed out on the best relationship he’ll ever have- the brimming confidence from Kylie here reminds us just how secure she is in her identity. Body Language may not have been successful in terms of sales, yet it still is vintage Kylie- and that’s all that matters, don’t you think?
If you have any doubt [about cancer], go back again. [For me], it’s like the earth had kind of slipped off its axis. You see everything differently. I remember having had my diagnosis, but the world didn’t know. I was with my brother and my boyfriend at the time—we were all in a daze and went to a cafe. The server at the cafe was like, ‘Hey, how are you today?’ We just kind of robotically said, ‘Good, thanks,’ and in that moment I just thought: You really don’t know what anyone is going through. I thought that same person by tomorrow is going to see the news and say, ‘Oh my God, she was here yesterday, and we didn’t know.’
It’s quite difficult to talk about it in interview situations because it’s deep and it’s long and it’s involved and it’s hard to really say what it was in a neat package. It’s pretty strange. Cancer has probably touched everyone in some way or another, and all the stories are different, but certainly in as much as she felt it was her duty to talk about it. I never questioned—not for a split second did I think of not saying what I had.
I think after cancer or any other big, life-changing incident or illness, you have to adapt. Life is a series of challenges, and you aim to have as many good times as possible. At this stage in my life, I really feel like life is just made of moments, and the more moments that can be good, try to acknowledge that that was a good moment. Because it’s all coming at you, good and bad.
I was 36 when I had my diagnosis (breast cancer). Realistically, you’re getting to the late side of things. While that [kids] wasn’t on my agenda at the time, it changed everything. I don’t want to dwell on it, obviously, but I wonder what that would have been like. Everyone will say there are options, but I don’t know. I’m 50 now [in 2018], and I’m more at ease with my life. I can’t say there are no regrets, but it would be very hard for me to move on if I classed that as a regret, so I just have to be as philosophical about it as I can. You’ve got to accept where you are and get on with it.
Now I don’t want to overstep anything here and write about things I am not qualified about. I am not a woman, nor do I personally know anyone who has had cancer, let alone breast cancer. And as such, I could not tell you with certainty that I understand what Kylie went through in the mid-2000’s. Because I don’t and I never will. It’d be foolish for me to assume that I’m the fountain of knowledge of all things to do with every disease on the planet that every music artist has ever had. Just because I’m a fan of music in general doesn’t mean I keep up with the personal lives of artists like it’s the latest story on Woman’s Weekly. And so, can I even imagine what Kylie went through back then- the surgeries, the chemo and everything else? No… no I probably couldn’t. Yet that’s not to say that I don’t feel empathy or sympathy for Kylie during that time. It was harrowing and difficult and probably the worst time for her. A disease like that tests you, tests your faith if you are a believer, tests your resolve, determination, your love for people, your love for everything good in this world. No doubt Kylie probably thought that she may not sing again. However, something good came out of the cancer. Not to say that God allowed it, or He ordained it. But beauty did arise out of the ashes- and it was new albums from Kylie. It’s as if she had a new lease on life… because X (2007), Aphrodite (2010), Kiss Me Once (2014), Golden (2018) and Disco (2020), is as good a back end of a catalogue of albums thus far than probably Kylie could’ve ever pictured.
X received mixed reviews from critics, but as I’ve mentioned before, I’m an easy person to please, and thus X wasn’t a dichotomy nor something out of the norm at all- it just was another piece of the puzzle that is Kylie Minogue, what she and we are discovering more and more of each day. Lead single “2 Hearts” is a pop/rock/jazz head-banger that celebrates the notion of 2 people falling in love and the intense feeling of ecstasy and butterflies in the initial stages of courtship or dating; while the high-octane, energetic dance number “Wow” speaks about love and sex, and is a bop for the dance floor if ever there was a bop! “In My Arms”, another pop/dance banger, speaks about feeling secure in another’s arms, and feeling safe with family and friends, as Kylie asks the question of ‘…how does it feel in my arms? How does it feel in my arms? Do you want it? Do you need it? Can you feel it? Tell me, how does it feel in my arms?…’; while the sweet, reflective and contemplative ballad “All I See” speaks about the persona’s intense feelings for her boyfriend, and that ‘…my baby, doesn’t matter what’s going on or who’s around us, all I see is you, right now they’re playing our song, dance floor is ours, all I see is you…’. “The One”, an unashamed, unrelenting dance melody where Kylie asserts herself to be ‘the one’ and almost commands people to love her because of this fact, highlights Kylie’s confidence and her security in herself (this track isn’t an ego trip but rather a melody of poise, grace and aplomb); while the ballad “White Diamond” is an album highlight- Kylie eloquently and effortlessly declares across piano that she will be the one that her friends and family can lean on, that she will be their white diamond. As diamonds don’t succumb under pressure, and they hold their shape no matter what adversity is thrown at them, Kylie reminds us of her tenacity and her resolve when trouble comes her way, and she also provides hope and solace, reminding us that she will provide comfort for those who need it, and a shelter for people to rely and depend on.
The poppy, danceable “Magnetic Electric” is a melody that highlights Kylie’s instant need to dance on the dancefloor, while “Speakerphone” is a vivid account and description of the feelings of dancing and inhibition we may feel when the ‘right’ song comes on the radio, and we just need to dance to it. Yet just for variety and for a different atmosphere, X contains a few songs about Kylie’s cancer diagnosis. “Stars”, “No More Rain”, and “Cosmic” are the melodies about the ordeal, and all three remind us about the fragilities of life, and all amplify Kylie’s prowess as a singer and as a songwriter. The energetic and poppy “Stars” speaks about taking chances and risks and stepping out into the unknown, with Kylie expressing that she can find joy in the unexpected parts of life, and in the parts of life where she doesn’t understand, while “Cosmic” has Kylie reciting a literal bucket list, of things she wants to do before her time on Earth is finished. But for me, it is “No More Rain” that is the song to listen to on X, with Kylie delivering a pure pop/dance anthem, and singing about feeling confident and secure in her identity post-cancer, that ‘…I feel it like a wave of love coming over me, got a glitter drop, fall and I’m on my knees, got the sound of you ringing in my ears, sun coming up on another day, got a second hand chance, going to do it again, got rainbow colors and no more rain…’.
I think a lot of what I do now is, in some way, coloured by the experience I had with illness. I guess I was just feeling like expressing joy at this point, I’d written songs more about that period in my life either on or for the last album, so I didn’t feel like going through those again; this was about this moment, this time, and what a happy experience this has been for me. A lot of people question why so many pop songs are about love, why operas are so written, why paintings are painted, why we cry during really silly commercials. Love in all its various forms challenges us all the time and I guess you could say this was a little love affair with this album [Aphrodite]. I loved coming to work and I loved working with Stuart [Price], I think that feeling comes through on the album.
There is no short cut to learning your craft. You don’t know it in the beginning, you can’t fathom that, but now, 20-plus years later, I can go into the studio, and I know where I sit. I can feel there is a personal pressure in the digital age when you have got 15 paparazzi out the front of your house. It is a bit confronting and daunting. But I think I have found a place where I am comfortable now.
If X, like Body Language and Impossible Princess, was one of the most polarising Kylie albums, then 2010’s Aphrodite, a dance-pop and disco themed album, was a return to form by Kylie, according to both critics and fans. Lead single “All The Lovers”, an anthem which was claimed by the LGBTQIA+ community shortly after the song was released, is a summer pop jam that celebrates the specialness and the sanctity of love in all of its purest forms. With Kylie delivering this dance anthem with extreme class; this serene and stylish pop melody beautifully depicts the concept of finding a love so true and pure, that ‘…all the lovers that have gone before, they don’t compare to you, don’t be frightened, just give me a little bit more, they don’t compare, all the lovers…’. “Get Outta My Way”, a dance/club/pop melody that is vintage Kylie, explores the fact that the persona’s ex is dumped because she wants someone new, and he is desperate for her to come back but that’s not happening anymore. it’s a scenario that is savage, however the fun, flirty, sassy, and playful melody reminds us all (especially men!), that we need to actively make our move to the one we want, otherwise we’ll be left in the dust. “Better Than Today”, a toe-tapping and inspiring dance/pop anthem, delves into the concept of leaving this world a better place tomorrow than today, with Kylie singing about having a good time also, that ‘…you’ve got to feel it, see it, know how much you need it, what’s the point in living if you don’t take a chance? You’ve got to use it, lose it, know that you’ll still do it, what’s the point in living if you don’t wanna dance?…’. A song that encourages us to actively change the world for the better and to not be so uptight in the process; “Better Than Today” is a melody that is fit for the dancefloor and also for introspection and reflection also.
“Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)”, an extreme party anthem that I’m sure is a fan favourite, speaks about feeling the love and outwardly expressing your joy for love in general at concerts, with Kylie emphatically relaying that we all need to put our hands up when we feel the intense feeling of love; while the thought-provoking mid-tempo pop melody “Beautiful” has the persona convincing that her relationship is beautiful, even if she doesn’t feel it at this moment. With this melody being about the lies we tell ourselves in order to make us feel safe, secure, and beautiful; this melody also encourages us to look inwards and asking the question of whether the sake of the relationship is enough for us to solider on, or do we need a change for the sake of our own well-being. The hard-hitting, no-nonsense title track is a declaration of coming back from adversity, and also an album standout; with Kylie subtly alluding to rising from the ashes after her cancer treatment- it’s the sound of the Kylie we all know and love. While the synth driven pop ballad “Looking For An Angel” speaks about Kylie’s insistence of wanting to find an ‘angel’ to love, and someone to share her life with. It’s a burgeoning desire for all of us to find someone special to share life with, and this song is just the song that voices all of our thoughts, hopes and dreams. “Heartstrings” speaks about that special someone that has saved the persona from the pain and heartache that she was feeling before that person came along; while “Mighty Rivers”, another standout on Aphrodite, speaks about a similar topic- about someone who has saved them from their pain, isolation and feelings of inadequacy.
There was only one hit from that [Kiss Me Once], which was “Into the Blue,” and I feel in general with that album, it was a lot of experimentation. It was a bit of a tricky time. I was between America and here, having different A&R. I don’t want to bag it. Lovely, beautiful Sia, who was executive producing for me. I just think that at some point the stars are aligned and everything is on your side, and they had their own pattern on that album, let’s say. But everything comes from something and leads to somewhere else…I think we will have justice for “Into the Blue.” I love how there have been so many hashtags from fans.
Maybe it wasn’t successful because it wasn’t good enough or it didn’t deserve more. Who knows? Even in retrospect, it’s hard to say why something works or it doesn’t. It’s dependent on what else is out there and the way it’s promoted. The tour was the most successful part of the campaign for me. That album did give me some freedom. The touring market is quite full, so there are some limitations in the touring business these days.
A four-year gap between Aphrodite and Kiss Me Once meant that the 2014 album struggled on the U.S. charts. In 2015, Kylie admitted that the album probably wasn’t good enough; but again, as I am easy to please, I found the pop/dance album intriguing and overall catchy- and this is again another part of the puzzle of the enigma that is Kylie Minogue. Lead single “Into The Blue”, a dance anthem that is less disco and more pop, is a remix-y melody about stepping into the unknown and ‘into the blue’. It’s a song that is so unlike Kylie, and decidedly is more pop than anything she’s ever done. However, it works in my opinion, and is so, so catchy- and so catchy enough that you forget that this is so unlike Kylie. A song where you get lost in the moment and just bob your head to the beat, Kylie has indeed created a timeless melody for the ages- proving that she can make it in pure pop as well as disco (which is her forte). “I Was Gonna Cancel”, produced by Pharrell Williams, is another pop melody, and this uplifting song is a standout on the album. With Kylie feeling down in the session and wanting to cancel her writing/recording session for this song, Pharrell suggested that she use that feeling to create an encouraging melody about pushing through the storms and through adversity. The rest is history, and here we are with this fabulous melody which certainly brings healing and comfort to all who listen.
“Sexercise”, written with Sia, is a NSFW poppy tune, and a melody where we shouldn’t take seriously, with Kylie vividly describing how to ‘sexercise’- a method of making love so intense that it feels like intense cardio and other forms of vigorous exercise; while the EDM/pop melody “Golden Boy” speaks about the intense feeling of wanting to know someone’s name and taking the relationship to the next level right after what was assumed to be a one night stand. “If Only”, a majestic and regal pop melody, speaks about letting go of someone in a relationship because it’s the right thing to do, and then hoping that someday the two people will find their way back to each other- this song is indeed a ‘if only’ or ‘what if’ melody; while “Million Miles” speaks about the intense feeling of being a million miles away (a good thing!) when two people consummate their relationship and are intimate with each other. “Sexy Love”, probably the song that I feel is the most pointless of Kylie’s career, is nonetheless poppy and catchy, and incredible radio friendly (yet also lyrically speaking about essentially nothing at all except a one-night stand!); while Kylie thankfully impresses with the title track, leaving “Sexy Love” in the dust- as the title track is reflective and contemplative, as Kylie through the persona looks back at her successful relationship, declaring that ‘…me and you, baby, we made it through, me and you, we’ve got some loving to do, kiss me once, and you will watch me fall, kiss me twice, and I will give you my all…’.
In the initial part of recording for Golden, we didn’t really have a direction. It was going in with some of my old favorites and new people and just seeing what would happen and what the collision brings out creatively. We kept trying to get a country element but we couldn’t quite get it until I went to Nashville, and then it all made sense. That place must have particular lay lines or something. There’s a spirit there, and it would have been totally disingenuous to suddenly be country, but definitely taking the inspiration from the songwriting point of view and putting stories into the songs. It was good at that point in my life to explore that. I don’t think that will leave me, moving forward.
It took six months to find the DNA of what it was we were looking for. It was such a concept at first, no one could describe the sound. First I went to a studio and was working with more dance producers, trying to inject a country element into that, and find some inspiration through that. Then I went to Nashville in July (2017) and everything made sense from then on. I had two weeks there and when I came back, we knew where we were heading. And I knew I had three songs (“Dancing,” “Golden” and “Sincerely Yours”) that were keepers from the numerous songs I’d done there. That made the homestretch easier. You still gotta write the song, find the song, do the song, but after that we knew where we were headed.
And it was a case of balance. Sometimes we’d listen to the mix and some of us in the studio or Jamie [Nelson], my A&R guy, would say “oh no, you’ve gone too far,” or “no it’s not country enough.” At one point one of my producers, Sky Adams, was throwing his hands up in the air saying, “Not country! Too country! Not country enough! Too dance! Not enough dance!” (laughs) Getting the balance was key.
That is a difficult question to answer, because in some ways, not at all [my songwriting experience in Nashville different to song writing in general]. You’re still just a few people in a room trying to find a song, but I would say, it’s the vibe there. Like, I clasped my hands together on the Sunday before I started writing on Monday, with a couple friends on a rooftop bar, talking about, “God I’m so excited to be here in Nashville, da da da,” and I literally looked up to the heavens and said, “Please, please just give me one song. Two or three would be really nice, but one is what I need. I need that song, and I want to get it from here.” And that’s what happened. I was very focused; I had no distractions there. And it was just incredible. Certain places give way to certain things, and one of them in Nashville is music.
Before I went, I started asking around, and the response was so enthusiastic, more than saying you’re going to L.A. or New York or London or whatever. A couple producers I worked with couldn’t write the email fast enough saying “you’re going to love it, this is where to get the coffee, go to these restaurants, go to these bars.” It was an outpouring of desire for me to have a good time. Not only a successful song writing time, but to enjoy the city.
It’s probably going to take me a few more years to be able to talk succinctly about that time. You need a bit of distance to clearly say what happened. But already I can see it was an incredible turning point in my life. Yes, it was linked to a breakup, but for me it was more than that. That was more a result of choices. Anyway, to cut a long story short and not get too deep into it, I was not broken-hearted but a bit broken. And it takes that sometimes to have a good hard look at yourself and where you fit into the world and where you want to go and what changes you want to make. And that’s exactly the time I went into the studio.
And of course, I wanted to get to all the dramatic breakup stuff, questioning “how did I get into this in the first place?” All the questions you ask yourself — we all know that. I was so, I just come back to using the word ‘broken.’ I hadn’t been kind to myself. I probably deep down knew it, but it took me a while to confess that to myself. A lot of the lyrics I wrote initially, it was getting it off my chest and out of my system. So, the songs weren’t that great, and I’m so thankful for that now, it’s like “get it out of your system.” And I didn’t want a breakup album – that’s the last thing I wanted. And there’s elements of that of course (in the final album) and I know it’s an easy press bite, but it’s more about being honest with yourself and saying, “Okay, I’d like to express these emotions.” Some are fairly recent, others are – well, a song like “Raining Glitter,” that theme has been with me a long time. “Shelby ’68” is a made-up storyline. And “A Lifetime to Repair,” that is a snapshot of me throwing my hands up in the air and going, “well I don’t know what now!” And by the way, whoever does know?
The songs that were not necessarily about something in my life at that minute, what ties them together is I’m singing from a knowledge of whatever that feeling is, whether it’s joy, sadness or loneliness or questioning. I know that I believe in the feeling I’m singing about.
Aphrodite to Kiss Me Once took 4 years, and critics didn’t really connect with most of the album. Yet 2018’s Golden, which features Kylie dabbling into country music and singing more about serious topics such as family, freedom, death, and broken relationships; was an album that, though it had mixed reviews, still very much felt like a ‘Kylie’ album- it was generally more cohesive than Kiss Me Once, that’s for sure! Lead single “Dancing” tackles the uncomfortable theme of death, and the fact that Kylie proclaims in this song that when she ‘goes out’ she wants to go dancing. This country/pop song could mean that Kylie still wants to go to bars and clubs and dance like she’s in her 20’s. but probably the deeper meaning is the way it was intended, according to Kylie herself: Lyrically, ‘Dancing’ is really interesting. I guess, on the surface, it is about dancing and going out and having a good fun,” Minogue shared on Twitter. “And it’s also about going out, at the end, and having had a good time. So living life to the fullest, trying to shine whenever you can. I know life is difficult, life presents all sorts of hurtles for us, but try to dance through that when we can. You’ve got the lyrical edge, that Country feel, mixed with some sampling of the voice and electronic elements, so it does what it says on the label. And I love that it’s called ‘Dancing’, it’s immediately accessible and seemingly so obvious, but there’s depth within the song. Life’s all just moments which all join up – some of them are great, and some of them are less than sparkling – but ultimately I wanted this video to reflect the celebratory nature of the song. Kylie also imparts to us through “Dancing” that she still yearns to be a part of this music industry even though she’s in her 50’s, with the music industry supposedly being unkind to older performers, as she ‘…can’t stand still, won’t slow down…’. As the album opener as well, “Dancing” sets the tone for the rest of the album- an album firmly believe is Kylie’s most vulnerable and personal to date!
The happy-go-lucky “Stop Me From Falling In Love”, with a sunny and optimistic demeanour, is a country song through and through, with Kylie seamlessly settling into the genre. And as far as lyrics go, this melody still has something to say other than the seemingly party and dancing atmosphere- Kylie longs to be in a relationship and wants to take more risks at this stage in her life. a message for all of us that it’s never too late to chase after what we want, “Stop Me From Falling” was also remixed with Gente de Zona, with that version being poppy, danceable and exquisite too! The country/pop title track, as uplifting as ever, celebrates the heart of who we all are as people- warts and all, with Kylie embracing her age, and declaring with gusto that ‘…we’re golden, burn like the stars, stay golden, straight from the heart, we’re the voice that’ll never give in, getting knocked down, back up again, we’re golden, golden, that’s who we are…’; while Kylie also reiterates the importance and heartbeat of this melody: I had this line that I wanted to use: “We’re not young, we’re not old, we’re golden” because I’m asked so often about being my age in this industry. This year [in 2018], I’ll be 50. And I get it, I get the interest, but I don’t know how to answer it. And that line, for my personal satisfaction, says it as succinctly as possible. We can’t be anyone else, we can’t be younger or older than we are, we can only be ourselves. Similarly, the fiddle prominent country tune “A Lifetime To Repair” addresses some hard issues as well- this time tackling Kylie’s ‘failures’ at love, as she eloquently relays that ‘…too many times I wish I’d never cared, been torn and twisted, oh I swear, too many nights crying that it’s not fair, if I get hurt again, I’d need a lifetime to repair…’; while the heartbreaking, personal, honest and emotional ballad “Music’s Too Sad Without You” also dives deep into Kylie’s former flames- with this moving duet (with Jack Savoretti) detailing the breakdown of Kylie’s engagement in 2017, relaying that now Kylie is sad to listen to certain songs which remind her of him. “Raining Glitter”, another highlight on an album full of highlights, is a country/disco hybrid melody which speaks about celebrating joy and love and peace everywhere we go- a superficial and deep song at the same time!; while the poppy anthemic melody “Sincerely Yours” is thematically similar to “Between Us” from Little Mix, and is like a love letter to the fans and the listeners. With Kylie depicting her love for her fans and declaring that she will be taking a break but ‘this is not goodbye’, “Sincerely Yours” is a song that is full of nostalgia and love and joy and hope- all the good things about a song in general! Like “Cosmic” on X, the poppy “Live A Little” speaks about all of the daring, courageous and risky things that Kylie wants to accomplish in her life (was this song borne out of her about to turn 50?), as she powerfully and confidently proclaims that ‘…I wanna pack up, set myself a sail, new life, never gonna fail, no matter what stands in my way, I wanna find love, make a great escape, get lost, get away from everyone who tells me it’s too late…’; while the personal and reflective ballad “Every Little Part Of Me” has Kylie eloquently and passionately speaking about not changing for anyone and being proud of who she is as a person- that the next person to fall in love with her should love her for who she is.
I started on the album last year and carried on early this year. My last gig was in São Paolo and the date is etched in my brain, March 6, because the weeks leading up to that, I was speaking to my management every day saying, “Is this still on? Is this still happening?” It did happen, and it was fantastic, but that was it. That was the last gig I did. Then I was back in various studios and hit my stride with different writers and producers: We think we’ve got this disco thing. We know the lane we’re supposed to be in. I was going all day, every day, and then lockdown happened.
I thought, how can we keep doing this? I took baby steps using GarageBand, which I’d never used before. Then thought, okay, I’ve got to get serious: auditing all the equipment, setting up a home studio, and learning the basics of Logic to at least be able to record my vocals and do remote recording sessions. It took some getting used to. Everyone being in their houses, all my collaborators, some of them with children, they’d say, “Well, I could do 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Then I’ve got to put the kids down.” Someone would have a Wi-Fi problem, there’d be buffering issues. There’d be challenges, but every day one of us would say, “We are so thankful to be able to do this, stay creative, keep working.”
Maybe people are more receptive to it at the moment, or the desire for music and to appreciate. I think we’re appreciating the day, whether it’s a beautiful, sunny day or in London today, the weather has just turned. I can’t speak for everybody, but it seems that collectively, if I can generalize, we’re grateful for much smaller things that we would have taken for granted before. We haven’t been through this before. It certainly feels like music is one of the things that can connect and unite people, as it always has been, but this year is a year like no other for us.
I wanted it to be upbeat, escapist and taking people back to the golden days of disco because we have never been more in need of having a lift and being able to forget for a few moments some of the awful stuff that is happening. We’re all going through a lot but there is still so much in the world to celebrate. There have to be a few moments in your life where you put on your sequins and just dance and be happy.
Golden then brings us to Kylie’s latest album DISCO, which… is a pretty full circle moment. Is this Kylie’s last studio album? Who knows? It’s anyone’s guess. But for an album, it’s pretty enjoyable and encouraging to listen to. Lead single “Say Something”, a gigantic, grandiose anthemic pop/dance melody, is a party anthem that is larger than life, that speaks about taking risks and telling someone how you feel. But more than that, in relation to COVID-19 (because this album did release in 2020!), the song is about telling your loved ones your feelings and reminding them that you’re ok and that you’re emotional and mental well-being is ok. And as Kylie has mentioned: This song is about all of our eternal quest for love and the searching and knowing that there’s something or someone out there that you can relate to and makes you a better person. It felt like the one to go with first. There’s a lot of room for emotion within [it], however you feel – whether you just want to shut you eyes and dance, or cry. It’s like this gigantic song and yet it’s very heartfelt at the same time. When you see the video it’s like a galactic disco.
The rest of DISCO is disco-y, but also pop and ballads and anthems as well- a culmination of everything Kylie has recorded thus far. The dance/pop melody “Magic” eloquently describes the feeling of a new love and a new romance as akin to magic and the supernatural; while “Real Groove”, also recorded with Dua Lipa as well as a solo version, is sung from the perspective of someone singing to their ex, saying that they’re good together and better than the person’s current flame. It’s a petty song, but it’s a song that can be danced to without listening that closely to the lyrics; while “A Second To Midnight” (with Years & Years) is a summer-y pop jam that speaks about the constant passage of time, and the fact that we need to live life in the moment because we’ve got only ‘a second to midnight’, meaning that we don’t know when life is going to stop. “Kiss Of Life”, with Jessie Ware, is a powerful, 80’s themed alternative/rock melody, whereby both vocalists sing about longing to receive a kiss of life from their lover; while the gospel-tinged groovy “Can’t Stop Writing Songs About You”, is sung with Gloria Gaynor, with the persona admitting an obsession with someone that they can’t stop loving them and can’t stop writing songs about them. “Miss A Thing”, a traditional disco song that is similar to something Kylie would have released in the early 2000’s (in the best way possible!), while the ABBA-influenced “I Love It” eloquently speaks about being in love with the idea of being in love with someone. “Supernova”, with plenty of space travel metaphors, is similar in theme to “Light Years”; while “Dance Floor Darling” is a poppy melody about dancing on the disco floor- yep, it’s as superficial as that, but seeing as we were at the start of the pandemic, boy did we need a song like this!
I’ve done quite a lot of collaborations over the years—I absolutely love doing them because you get to dip your toe into different water and color your performance by the other artist. There’s an unspoken understanding and camaraderie. Certainly, I’d love to collaborate with more women, because I haven’t done much of that. You could say any of the top girls right now: Dua is definitely having a great time. Lady Gaga. I love Miley [Cyrus]. I admire so many of these women. There’s been talk about Madonna and I doing a duet for, it feels like, 20 years. If that were to happen, that would be amazing. I was dressing up in my bedroom to Madonna, to Whitney Houston, to Cyndi Lauper, and then Fleetwood Mac, ABBA, and Donna Summer. Diana Ross was going to go on tour this year and she had to cancel that. There’s so many people I would jump at the opportunity to work with.
I haven’t thought about the direction [the next album], but I have thought about writing again. Maybe that’s because the schedule isn’t like it’s been for every other album of my entire life, where you’re flying around to different cities and different countries. Now that I’ve got my setup at home and you can do remote writing sessions and recording sessions, there’s a little bit of me thinking, I’d just love to write more music. I don’t know what that would be. Now there’s quite a lot of promo to do. If I had the option to dive in and song-write for another couple of weeks, I’d leap at it. It’s something I love doing—and you don’t have to get out of your track pants.
So all in all, Kylie Minogue’s discography spanning 15 albums, 5 decades and 30+ years… well that’s a feat in and of itself. And as I mentioned earlier, Kylie was that artist, who has revolutionised their industry so much (pop, disco, dance)- that even one album (Fever) or one song (“Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”), makes them influential. Kylie is so much more than her one hit and her one big album, as evidenced in this blog- and she has also recorded so much more stand alone singles and collaborations to drive home my point, if any of you are not convinced yet. “Celebration”, a cover of the 1980 Kool & The Gang disco party classic, is included on Kylie’s first greatest hits, while “What Kind Of Fool (Heard It All Before)”, an 80’s themed pop tune directed to a cheating boyfriend, was the lead single from Kylie’s first greatest hits album in 1992. Dance anthems “I Believe In You” and “Giving You Up” are bops and inspiring melodies from Kylie’s next greatest hits project, while the powerful piano ballad “Flower”, written to the unborn child that Kylie never had, is probably the most heartbreaking and emotional song she’s every recorded. Kylie also picks up the tempo with her first season holiday project in 2015 called Kylie Christmas, with many tracks being highlights- the piano ballad “Only You with James Corden (a cover of Yazoo’s hit song!), her stirring duet with sister Dannii in “100 Degrees”, Kylie’s fun original track “At Christmas” and the heart-warming ballad “Every Day’s Like Christmas” are all songs that were big movers on the charts, and these were the melodies that resonated with me. “New York City”, from the Step Back In Time 2019 greatest hits compilation, is a ode to the city of New York while “Higher” (with Taio Cruz), “Limpido” (with Laura Pausini), “Starstruck” (with Years and Years), “Right Here Right Now” (with Giorgio Moroder) and “Lhuna” (with Coldplay) are various collaborations that Kylie has recorded throughout the years. “Timebomb”, “Crystallize” and “Skirt” are other standalone singles released by Kylie that didn’t land on any album for whatever reason; and with the calibre of these and the other aforementioned songs in this paragraph; well, is it easy to see why Kylie Minogue is popular and influential?
Here in this part of any blog post, would be the part where I would list the artist’s list of achievements outside of music. But for Kylie Minogue, I won’t write that much- it’s all on Wikipedia. And in the interest of keeping the rest of this blog brief, I’ll keep this succinct. And it is that Kylie made disco, pop/disco, country/pop/disco, rock/disco and every other variant of disco- cool again. She broke into the U.S. market in 2001 and she hasn’t looked back. Kylie’s longevity in the music industry and her tenacity and ability to musically pivot genres when needed, reminds us all that it doesn’t matter if we haven’t made it yet- what matters is that we’re having fun and living life to the fullest. I mentioned earlier in this blog that Kylie needs no explanation, and that her music speaks for itself. And this is certainly true- one listen to her songs and you’ll deifnitley agree with me. Sure, Kylie’s songs are about relationships, love and sex. Sure, you may not be a fan of disco. Sure, Kylie’s attempt at country in Golden may put you off. But the entire body of work cannot be ignored, and this is why she is included here. You may not agree with me though. And that’s ok.
It isn’t know what the future holds for Kylie Minogue. Is DISCO her last album? Will she record an acoustic album of all of her hits or a covers album or something totally different? Will she collaborate with Madonna, something that the world has been begging for, and Kylie has been advocating for, for a while; or will both fans still be a bitter odds? Seeing that Kylie has wowed the world across 5 different decades, is she ready to do something else? Only time will tell. But one thing is for certain- we do have these songs to encourage us, to inspire us, to get us through the day, to uplift us, to comfort us and to make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Kylie’s songs are familiar, they are safe, they are like coming home from a hard day’s work and putting your feet up and relaxing. So, let us bask in the awe and wonder of the pop star that is Kylie Minogue. Perhaps you want to spin through her discography twice or three times? I know I probably will in the coming weeks and months!
I’ve used that term [wistful, existential energy] for describing “Say Something” because I do find it hard to say what it’s about. I don’t want to sound like that person, but it has an existential lean. It’s the big questions and the things that are just out of reach, and yet we feel them within us. Maybe it’s my age [why my music has become more philosophical in the last few years]. I did think, back when “Dancing” came out, that the lyrics might not have seemed so genuine if I was singing them as a 20-year-old. I think having lived a bit of life and facing challenges, it comes across as more authentic. I’m not just singing the words in front of me.
It does actually [feel like I’m entering a new phase]. I’m going back to a place I’ve been before, but it’s changed, and I’ve changed. There’s some familiarity, a warmth, or an embrace, but things are different places, have a different sheen and I’m seeing things differently. If we’re able to tour this, and I hope that isn’t too far away, I would be able to extend that hug to quite a lot of the back catalogue that would sit nicely within this framework.
Does Kylie Minogue make the list for you all when you write your own ‘Influential Artists of all Time’ list? Is there any song (other than “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”, “On A Night Like This”, “Spinning Around”, “Confide In Me”, “Slow”, “Come Into My World”, “2 Hearts”, “All The Lovers” and “Dancing”) that has impacted you on your journey through life thus far, or even your walk with God? Let us know in the comments. Till next time!