At this point in her career, Kylie Minogue doesn’t really need to try.
With a dozen studio albums tucked inside her gold lamé hot pants, world tours, countless international smash hits (“Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” was recently named the Most Catchy Tune Of All Time), the beloved Aussie pop princess is one of the very few pop stars who has managed to not only survive, but flourish on top of the pop charts for nearly three decades. She sits on the throne of pop royalty, entirely deserving of the title of “legend” — a Goddess of Pop, really.
Even more impressive though is the freshness and consistency of her craft, which has continued all the way up to her latest studio album due out in March, Kiss Me Once — an album that feels effortlessly, endlessly Kylie.
And yet, we know that this record wasn’t effortless. She did try. In fact, it took Kylie over two years and one major management switch to get the album just right for release. “Making this album was quite a journey but I loved it,” Kylie confesses in the album’s press release. “It was through a time in my life where there were a lot of changes and new beginnings.” (And if she’s acknowledging that the album was “quite a journey,” you can only imagine what was actually going on behind the scenes.)
To a lesser degree, the situation mirrors her 2007 record X, an album recorded during an incredibly difficult period of her life following a bout with breast cancer. It was an understandably turbulent time, which led to her scattered-but-brilliant album; a record packed with glitchy electro-pop, “pink pound” camp, emotional balladry and slinky, sex-drenched romps.
Nearly seven years after X, following 2010’s sleekly polished and impeccably cohesive Aphrodite helmed by Stuart Price, that is exactly the kind of record we’re getting again — but smarter and stronger all around.
Although fans suspected Kylie would be going the #SomethingMoreUrban Body Language route after inking a management deal with Jay Z‘s Roc Nation early last year, they were thrown off the trail completely: Kiss Me Once is unabashedly disco Kylie.
“Into The Blue,” the album’s lead single, is a solid indication of the album’s general direction. The Del Rio-produced deep dive onto the floor saw Kylie supplying us with a euphoric self-empowerment anthem, armed with a thumping four-to-the-floor pulse and the kind of majestic chorus (“Buh-LOOOOO!“) that only Kylie could deliver. And that angelic bridge? “I’ll go where nobody knows, wherever the wind is blowing…even if I’m alone.” Chills. It’s classic Kylie, pure and simple.
“Million Miles,” an even fiercer follow-up, is essentially the “Get Outta My Way” to Aphrodite‘s “All The Lovers.” (Interestingly, both “Million Miles” and “Get Outta My Way” were produced by Cutfather.) The pulsing uptempo glides across a throbbing synth strut (which sounds like the Benny Benassi mix of Madonna‘s “Celebration,” #nerdtalk) and an instant earworm of a chorus: “‘Cause I feel like I’m a million, million miles away!” Note: The way she pronounces “mil-li-on” sounds more like “Milian” (of the Christina Milian variety), which is why I have since taken to singing “I feel like I’m a Milian.” That’s all you’ll hear now too, from AM to PM. You’re welcome.
Producer of the year Pharrell comes grooving in right after with his contribution, still riding high on the unbelievably massive success of the modern disco sound he’s cultivated for years — from Daft Punk‘s “Get Lucky” to Robin Thicke‘s “Blurred Lines.” The song’s based on a real life experience: Basically, Kylie was having a terrible day and started to cry while in the studio with Pharrell. (Can you even imagine a more devastating scenario?)
And so, he penned this encouraging number — and it really does work as an instant pick-me-up! “I was gonna cancel, then I realized that time is just like money and love/Watch how you spend,” she sagely advises. “I Was Gonna Cancel” is sonic gold, transporting us back to Studio 54 for some much-needed uplifting energy. (There’s also a “Go! Go! Go! Go!” bit that sounds like a nod to Beyoncé‘s “Green Light.”)