June 25, 2010

We've got an energy. KYLIE KILLS IT.



When we are fiercely old party children*, we'll look back on the early 21st century and say we were thrilled to live through two historical events: 1) The election of Barack Obama as President and 2) the release of Kylie Minogue's Aphrodite. This is - hands down and back up again - the finest pop album since Madonna's Confessions, perhaps better. Not only is it filler free, it is overflowing with those moments of pop euphoria where music does what it should: lifts you up and carries you off into the clouds. Music wins, music saves. First thoughts...

1. All The Lovers becomes clearer in the context of the whole album. It's softer in spirit and sets the tone.

2. Get Outta My Way
After living with 90 seconds from the mega-mix, this song - the most instantaneous on the album - surprised me with verses more sleek than the chorus. It's born into the Top 20 Kylie songs. And the lyrics will inspire. XO to poor tourists on DC streets: "Get outta my way, way outta my way." They also work for the Ass Game (thanks Rod!) "Get outta my ass, way outta my ass."

3. Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)
The Starsmith collaboration has not one, but TWO incredible breakdowns. There's something very 90's here, but I can't quite nail what it is... it's not the raver lyrics, it's the arrangement.

4. Closer
I could do a two word review of Aphrodite that goes like this: Gaga who? But I won't. The electronic harpsichord on Closer kills.

5. Everything Is Beautiful
Shimmery mid-tempo notable for its lyrics: "If I lie with you long enough, I can see the things I'm dreaming of / Let's go through the ritual until everything is beautiful...." sigh. Thank you for that, Tim Rice Oxley.

6. Aphrodite
Pounding manifesto. When I first heard it, I thought, errr, Gwendolyn and her marching band had invaded West London, but the song goes way beyond that hoohah. Screaming to be a single, the earworm is in that "all righhut" business. And the smooth middle eight is like ice cream.

7. Illusion
This hasn't totally clicked for me. Where and what is the key inside this song? Maybe the strings on the middle eight...

8. Better Than Today
reminds me of Scissor Sisters. It pushes right up against honky tonk and provides a good change in mood and tempo. Stuart Price perfected that trick on Madonna's Confessions.

9. Too Much
Monolithic. Calvin Harris creates a worthy followup to his 2009 hit Flashback. Can you imagine this on a really loud sound-system? Poppers O'clock. Love the vocals on middle eight.

10. Cupid Boy
The one in which Kylie pushes close to cutesy but backs off with the incredible synths in the middle eight. (Notice a middle eight theme here? It's not self-referencing. All great albums are loaded with them)

11. Looking For An Angel
I was told this track is "very XO" with those seesaw strings and the oooh ahhh - again - middle eight. Layers and layers to this. "When good things are good I wan t to share them, I don't want to be alone..." That whole section is amazing.

12. Can’t Beat The Feeling OBSESSED with the synths at 3:11. Kylie no longer needs to perform old songs. She could tour this whole album and the audience would go there with her.

Clearly Aphrodite will solve famine and war. It may even clean up the BP oil spill.

*Thank you Scissor Sisters

14 comments:

DanProject76 said...

Or, for people who like to use less words: Hurrah for a consistently great Kylie album with no filler tat. Love it!

The Richard said...

Thank you Kylie, for giving us permission to formally commence summer.

More than anything else, let's forget hyperbole, it's clear even this early that this is Kylie's most consistent, best album. On her *eleventh* try.

And frankly, when you've followed an act that long and they reward your geek fan quiet hope and dreams by producing a sudden, perfect pop masterpiece, it's manna from heaven. Mount Olympus, even.

Larry Flick said...

You are so totally on-point here. I just got to hear the album, and I'm living for every second of it. This might be the perfect Kylie album.

amazoniowan said...

Viva Minogue! And XO!

agatewayofhope said...

i liked the album, just too much it's constantly the same shit, needed some Stuart price touch.

Adam said...

A shimmering, surging, shiny, supple, warm, human and sincere album. This is a record with a lovely heart at it's centre.

Others could - and should, listen very hard and learn from this album of pop.

countpopula said...

I've decided not to hear this one until I actually hold the CD in my hands. The way everybody has talked it up, I cannot bear to let my computer speakers or even the car play it. I want the effect of full-on immersion this time.

John said...

Funny, but not surprising, that you went for the Confessions comparison. I could not agree more. If anything, it seems like a more organic flow, compared to the forced mixing at times on Confessions. I NEED to hear "Too Much" on a dancefloor, and "Can't Beat the Feeling" will be blasted out of my car this weekend.

A1 said...

hey there,
waiting for the physical cd release..cant come soon enough!
Shame the rest of my home country is not getting behind her, out of the top20 singles in just 2 weeks, hmm wonder if the physical single release will do anything.
Added you to my Bolgroll mate, fantastic site, feel free to do the same :)
cheers
ant

smackcrumplebang.com said...

Goddamit.

I just finished breakfast, and then *accidentally* started playing this album really loud... (first listened last night).

ITS LIKE THAT.

This is Kylie slipping effortlessly back into Fever-era joypop, that what I used to love her for and what she sort of lost a little... even though I don't know this album well I can tell we are going to get on *very well*

Even if she has done too much ponds face cream, she still has a hopelessly optimistic pop voice - one you can actually believe in. Not like a certain taut-faced 50 something who sort of orders you onto the dancefloor - kylie coaxes you on, the cheeky minx.

Gushy critique over - nice review x

xolondon said...

@ scrump - silly man, Kelly Rowland is not a taut-faced 50 something!

DanProject76 said...

Oh shit, the album is getting bad reviews in the mainstream press. The Independent and Q both gave it 2 stars but then they are misery guts types anyway!

Random J said...

"Get outta my way" was love on first listen. My only gripe was that the full song didn't give much more than the clip in the megamix. I'm not 100% sold on the verses myself, and I felt like the song was lacking a bridge or a melody switch. But the chorus is so amazing, that the song still rules. SINGLE!!

"Can't beat the feeling" should be the encore for Kylie's Aphrodite tour. Plain and simple. WHAT a way to close the album!? Such a great song. I think "Love at first sight" just got replaced. I love her R&B-ish vocals on the ol' Can't beat the feeling that Iiiiiiiiiiiiii get when I'm with yoooooouuuuuuuuu! at the 3:10 mark. It's rare Kylie ad-libs and sings that way. So it was a nice surprise.

xolondon said...

@randomJ Totally agree re Can't Beat! Esp that moment. Pure joy