Thursday, July 1, 2010

A thing about Kylie's new album

Kylie has just heard the "lucky blue overcoat" jokeOh, Kylie.

I do not worship you, nor am I impressed by the whole icon thing you've got going on. I find it weird that a 42-year-old woman's biggest desire is to "live like a princess", especially when you already do live like a princess. Get some perspective.

I like some of your music, though. The hedonism of Love At First Sight, and the robotic perfection of Can't Get You Out Of My Head are long-standing staples of my running playlists.

But I also like Finer Feelings - one of the few songs where you sound world-weary and conflicted. It makes you seem a bit more real. Fallible. Human.

So I was intrigued to read you'd decided to address the "dark period in my life" on your new record, Aphrodite. And when I was lucky enough to receive a promo copy, I stuffed it into the CD player. Here's what I heard:

"What's the point in living if you don't want to dance?"
"Put your hands up if you're feeling love tonight"
"Dance, it's all I wanna do, so won't you dance"

*Sighs* It was just more of the same old forgettable pop platitudes, plucked from the big book of "will this do?". The music, too, showed no progression from the sanitised dance beats of your last two albums, X and Body Language.

Somebody get me out of this jewellry boxI started writing a review based on the premise that every track was a faded photocopy of the previous one. I was really quite proud of that metaphor (usually a sign that I'm writing a load of rubbish and should start again, but still)... Then I got to the middle of the record and realised I'd have to put it to one side.

There's a song called Better Than Today, which wraps your voice around an elastic, meandering groove scattered with acoustic guitars and a brilliantly silly synth line. It stands out by a country mile.

That segues into the strident, combative title track. "I got soul - you can check", you snarl at your critics. "Did you think I wasn’t real?" Finally - as your old alter-ego Charlene might have said - a bit of spunk.

It's a shame the album is so front-loaded with Kylie-by-numbers borefests, but thanks for rallying the troops on "side b". Next time round, stop pandering to your fanbase with the dance tracks. They'll come along for the ride no matter what you do, and the rest of us might fall back in love with you again.

Many thanks,
(who has definitely not gotten too big for his boots with this post. Nosiree.)

PS: Before it's released next Monday, you can stream Aphrodite in its entirety on the NPR website. The good stuff starts at 24'34".

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