Friday, 9 July 2010

Kylie - Aphrodite

When you hear the name Kylie Minogue, what do you think of? Gold hotpants? I Should Be So Lucky ? Abba-esque Olympics ? Or the iconic Can’t Get You Out Of My Head –one of the most perfectly constructed pop songs ever ? Whatever it is, Kylie has unarguably produced a series of hooky, culturally resonant, image perfect classics over her twenty plus years in the music industry. The euphoric sounds of recent single All The Lovers, with it’s squiggly sugar-synth interlude and Calvin Klein meets Athena styled orgy-mountain video can now be added to that list of gems. With such a stock pile of songs stored in the Kylie warehouse, one day she’s going to export a brilliant greatest hits album.

Kylie is still the girl-next-door pop-princess, yet with this royalty status there are limitations. Pop music is largely about the delirious thrust of singles and individual songs. Albums fare less well. Come the end of 2010 you can guarantee there won’t be many out and out commercial pop records in the best of lists. The traditional rock press are ultimately incredibly conservative.

Even if pop did have more critical and commercial acclaim Aphrodite probably wouldn’t make the Top 50 of the year, but it’s still a good enough album to pleasure. It’s rammed full of immaculately polished radio-friendly dance pop, Kylie is nothing but professional and there’s little filler. Upbeat tracks rule on Aphrodite - and just as importantly it sounds fresh, contemporary and a hell of a lot of fun. Too Much, a song co-written with Calvin Harris and Jake Shears from the Scissor Sisters shouts electro-hit all over, whilst Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love) is a robo-pop disco celebration that gets the feet to the floor. However taking Aphrodite for what it is - an enjoyably lightweight pop album -there are a couple of minor criticisms. First there’s no real surprises. Maybe the Impossible Princess Kylie could sneak back into the room for a moment and announce that she’s going to write a song with someone we really wouldn’t expect her to again - maybe Laura Marling or The Big Pink for example ? Also a few songs feel just a little bit flat sounding - dot to dot electro pop where the numbers are all joined up, but the whole process lacks the true originality of an individual creation.

Kylie Minogue has come a long way since I Should Be So Lucky, and the fact that she is still pushing out chart-bound records has to be applauded. This record will sustain her career and will give pleasure to many fans. It may even find her a few new ones in the teenage market. We just hope that with such a constantly high level of commercial success that maybe the next album will take a few more risks.

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