You know this chick called Kylie Minogue? You've heard of her? She's had a few hits over the years and SHE'S BACK! Random, I know. I was in JB HiFi yesterday and was totally surprised to see that this woman mysteriously had a new CD out. It's called X and it's a bit of alright. In fact, it's more than "a bit of alright", it's actually "a bit of amazing" or "a bit of fan-bloody-tastic" or, perhaps even, "a bit of the album of the year."
Okay, no it's not that, but it's still great. So everybody, drop your socks, grab your mini boombox and let's investigate, shall we?
Well, you've surely heard this song by now haven't you? It's the lead single and perhaps the most mistelling lead single of all time as there are no other songs like it on the album. It's still amazing though.
"Like a Drug"
Unfortunately, this isn't Kylie's version of Roxy Music's "Love is the Drug", but it's still quite great. That chorus is quite '80s and the song works it's way into your brain, so it's name is quite apt. It samples Visage's classic "Fade to Grey", which you may recognise from when Kelly Osbourne stole it for "One Word"
"In My Arms"
I spoke of this song earlier in the year when it leaked. It's been ever-so-slightly rejiggered, but thankfully it's still the breathtaking life-affirming and flat-out brilliant track that it was back then. "How does it feel in my arms?" she asks. Fucking amazing, that's how! Best song of the album, I reckon.
On first listen I thought it was kind of ridiculous, but now I think it's kind of ridiculously amazing. It's like that "dem bones dem bones dem dry bones" song remixed by Groove Armada and sung by a pixie doctor giving you a physical. If that descriptions sounds half as amazing to you as the song is then my work is done. What exactly is "mini boombox" a euphemism for, though?
I'm not sure how many songs on X feature samples, but the only one other than "Like a Drug" I've recognised is this one and it's a dooooozy. If you're going to sample an obscure french-language Serge Gainsbergh and Brigitte Bardot song from the 1960s then "Bonnie and Clyde" is as good as any. The "woohoo"s are as addictive as ever. The song isn't that good and I can see why it was dumped from Body Language, but I still think that sample is just too good. It must be said though that "Bonnie and Clyde" is better. But, let's face it, it's freakin' "Bonnie and Clyde" and there's not a lot better than that song.
Heart Beat Rock
I've already deleted this off of iTunes, if that's saying something. Unimaginative.
You know how I said "In My Arms" was the best song on the album? Well, the possible exception to the title is "The One". It's not hard for Kylie to be sexy, but here it's like sexy-overload. She proudly states in the (so brilliant it hurts) chorus "I am the one" and it's hard to complain with such a statement, but it's when she sexily begs the listener to "love me, love me, love me, love me" that I went into overdrive. She even namedrops Michelangelo. Sweet!
"No More Rain"
Remember when Kylie had cancer? THIS SONG IS ABOUT THAT!!!! Don't get me wrong, the song is nice and it sounds like a mid-90s midtempo pop song however when she purres the song title several times at chorus end... I melt into a puddle. Her dreamiest moment on the album are those ten seconds.
"All I See"
Another slower track but an entirely amazing one. Oddly, I could see this being popular in America as it has a minimalist vibe, unlike the rest of the album, which is big and loud.
Another guitar-led track that was a part of those leaked tracks earlier in the year. It's still classy pop. Kylie sure does have a thing for stars and the heavens on this album, doesn't she?
The title says it all because "Wow" is very WOW. It's this album's most Spinning Around moment and actually sounds like a pastiche of that album's best songs like "Butterfly", "Kookachoo", "Spinning Around" and "Your Disco Needs You". That Spinning Around is, in my eyes, the best album she's ever done, that's high praise. This song is will go off when they play it at the clubs where the gays go. that "WOWOWOWOWOW" moment is off the planet, just for the record. It's what fireworks sound like when turned into music lyrics. Okay?
Ummm... so... well, there's this song called "Nu-di-ty" and it's quite dreadful.
In case you had forgotten, Kylie had cancer. This song is also about said cancer, but it's not as good as "No More Rain" and it sort of ends the album on a downer (cancer isn't fun, folks). Nevertheless, it's still a calming little ditty. The chorus is about as emotionally b-i-g as Kylie can possibly get.
So, in conclusion, X is a very good album that has actually grown on me. I was a tad underwhelmed on first listen (as great as "In My Arms" and "Stars" are, I have been listening to them for over half a year so it wasn't like discovering something fresh and new) but looking at the tracks on iTunes and seeing how many of them I have given 5 stars to and having had all the songs stuck in my head (except the dog ones) at some point a mere one day after purchase is something rare. I can see so many of these songs being singles - "In My Arms" and "The One" are BEGGING!! to be released - and X proves to be a very strong fixture of Kylie's catalogue.
I can't help but see the parallels between Kylie and Madonna though. Madge had a disasterous album sales-wise with American Life even though it was one of her strongest musically. She then rebounded with Confessions on a Dance Floor, which was all big beats and catchy tunes. Well, after Body Language, a great album that failed because it wasn't Fever Part 2, she has come back with a rocking dance-fused album.