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