Conor Behan gives a track-by-track rundown of Kylie’s 12th album Kiss Me Once.
Love or loathe her (does anyone actually loathe Kylie?) there’s little denying that Kylie’s staying power and pop nous is hard to beat. Album number twelve Kiss Me Once arrives as Miss Minogue pulls double duty on the Voice UK and Australia. But aside from her considerable charm and pop icon status, can Kylie still provide us with the tunes we expect from her?
Here’s our track by track take on Kylie’s latest.
Into The Blue – You’ll know this one by now. It doesn’t have quite the instant quality of Can’t Get You Out Of My Head but it is certainly a grower. Sure, this is a pumping dance pop tune with a big chorus but it’s got a grown up sense of melancholy that will get under your skin with repeated listens. In fact it’s an excellent set up for the rest of the album. Hook-driven but thoughtful, brash and colourful with a hint of something more under the surface. It’s classic Kylie with a grown up twist.
A Million Miles – One of the classic Kylie-pop tracks that are scattered around this effort. The chorus is insistent and grabs you instantly and it’s not unlike Get Outta My Way. But the tale of a relationship where your lover isn’t connecting ties nicely into the melancholic tone woven through the whole record.
I Was Gonna Cancel – Pharrell and Kylie were always going to make a fun team-up and this sparse R&B tinged number is certainly enjoyable. It’s not as memorable as it could be given the talent involved but it’s interesting that even over such signature Pharrell sounds that Kylie retains much of her own spark. Plus that “Go, go, go!” refrain is super catchy. There’s a whole “Get on with your life, you’ll be ok” message scattered across this album and this song rams that home.
Sexy Love – A sprightly Katy Perry-esque number, this is pretty light but there’s something so joyful and summer-y about it that it manages to rise above being filler. If all involved with this album were looking for a sure-fire summer hit they could do worse than this gem.
Sexercize – Kylie has roped pop-writer du-jour Sia in as executive producer on this album. And despite her knack for glowering pop hits it’s interesting to see Sia crop up on co-writing duties for this track. Similar to X track Nu-Di-Ty it’s a grinding dubstep-tinged cut where Kylie plays the sexpot with aplomb.
Feels So Good – Much like 2007’s 2 Hearts (originally performed by Kish Mauve) this is a cover of a track by another artist that Kylie turns into something all her own. Originally recorded by it’s writer Tom Aspaul and produced by pop golden boy MNEK the pair have crafted a slow-burning but brilliant electro R&B gem that Kylie injects with plenty of charm. It’s a mature moment that still feels current and fresh. An album standout.
If Only – The success of HAIM has meant their producer Ariel Reichstad is becoming in demand with a ride range of pop talent. Here he re-teams with Justin Louis Raisen having worked with him on Sky Ferreira’s critically acclaimed debut Night Time, My Time. The result is an indie-pop nugget given some stadium-ready sheen thanks to a spirited Kylie vocal. It’s tumbling synths and juddering beat recall HAIM but the warmth and sadness are Kylie’s own.
Les Sex – Another frothy pop gem, this electro number is a breathless romp that shows Kylie can do the sexy thing with a degree of wit and charm that many of her younger contemporaries have yet to manage. With production coming from cult snyth-pop faves MNDR it’s got an urgent 80s feel that only makes the sultry come-ons throughout sound even better.
Kiss Me Once – As title tracks go this isn’t another sex-romp or a bubblegum number but a rousing ballad that explodes into a giant Sia-assisted chorus. It’s been a while since Kylie has emoted on a ballad truly worth of her pop chops but this is a winner. There’s even a faintly festive bell ringing at one point. Marvellous.
Beautiful – This team up with Enrique Iglesias has already surfaced but if you haven’t heard it yet, the vocodered vocals and slowly building production are surprisingly low-key. Usually a popstar team up like this would result in fireworks but instead it ties into the album’s mix of melancholic pop with aplomb.
Fine – At first this sets itself up as a 90s house referencing track, a trend entirely en vogue of late, but it unfurls into a more thoughtful place amid all the sunny club-ready moments. A vocoder plays off of Kylie’s vocals on the chorus and the simple but effective tale of keeping on when trouble hits wraps up the album’s mix of moody introspection and cautious optimism.
Overall, Kylie’s 12th outing isn’t wall to wall camp pop bangers nor is it some crass attempt to ride the zeitgeist. Instead we’ve a varied but nicely paced pop package that veers over a number of styles, giving Kylie fans something to grab on to while adding a new found maturity to her style. Kiss Me Once is a standout effort in a back catalogue already littered with classics and could well go down as one of her strongest releases yet.
Kiss Me Once is released in Ireland on Friday the 14th of March. You can preorder it here and listen to clips of each track below:
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