Kylie: Ranking The Albums 22

Kylie: Ranking The Albums

We proudly adopted Kylie as something of a national treasure a long time ago in the UK. Kylie has been successful since 1988. Her era of having top 10 singles may be over, but her albums still get to number one and she has a strong fanbase who eagerly wait for her next era to begin. Despite all the years of success and the endless stats I could quote about record sales, one thing that often gets overlooked is what a strong album artist Kylie is. As early as Rhythm Of Love in 1990, Kylie recognised her albums needed to be stronger to have any kind of long lasting career. When she changed direction with her 1994’s Self Titled, it was unexpected and exactly what she needed to do. 

Since then Kylie’s taken left turns with albums like Impossible Princess and Body Language when it would have been easier to continue the route she was going down. She’s mastered perfect disco pop records with Fever and most recently 2020’s Disco. It always feels right to have her releasing something and when she gets it right it can be glorious. Even when she doesn’t, there’s usually some gold. 

For our Kylie week, I will attempt to rank her albums (not including live albums, compilations or her Christmas one) and make a case for her being one of the more underrated and versatile albums artists out there. Let’s get to it with..  

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14. Let’s Get to It (1991) 

At the bottom of the list (and probably every list made by anyone attempting this challenge) is Kylie’s last album on PWL (Pete Waterman’s label who signed her in 88). After gaining more control on her previous album, Rhythm Of Love , Kylie aimed to do the same again and took further control, co-writing half the songs. The album’s process took longer which isn’t reflected in the material. SAW sound uninspired in their contributions and Kylie’s personality doesn’t shine as clearly as it was starting to on Rhythm Of Love. Kylie herself has expressed her disappointment with the end results. 

The roll-out started with ‘Word Is Out’ which came hot on the heels of ‘Shocked’’ the final single from the previous album. Normally this quick turnaround didn’t affect the excitement for a new Kylie era, but the single belly-flopped into the charts at number 16 which wasn’t great for someone who had nothing but top ten singles (13 top six singles in a row to be exact). It could be overexposure, but ‘Word Is Out’ is neither catchy or worthy of a place on any of her greatest hits albums. 

Let’s Get to It would spawn hits with her next two singles. ‘If You Were With Me Now’ is a duet with Keith Washington that was released as damage control in the winter. It may have got her back in the top five, but it’s a ballad Disney might have rejected for being too trite. Follow-up was another safe choice – a serviceable take on the Chairmen Of The Board classic, ‘Give Me Just A Little More Time’. Her weakest run of singles was only saved by the wonderful, ‘Finer Feelings’ with its soulful chorus that would hint at the more sophisticated direction she would take next.

Right Here, Right Now’ has a chilled sophisti-pop shine that’s in-line with Lisa Stansfield’s best moments and pre-dates George Michael’s, ‘Too Funky’ by almost a year’. ‘Live & Learn’s‘ glistening keyboards and strings continue the good work of Rhythm Of Love. The rest of the album is faceless and underwhelming. Sometimes artists have to hit a creative dead end to reevaluate things before they plan their next move. 

In 1992 Kylie put out a chart topping singles compilation. It was a reminder of how much success she’d had in a short period of time and more importantly it was closing a chapter. Her label and image would change and we soon got closer to the real Kylie Minogue.

Key track – Finer Feelings

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13. Kiss Me Once (2014) 

Kiss Me Once is Kylie’s worst selling album since her 2000 comeback and it’s not hard to hear why. Whilst, it’s not her weakest, it’s her most boring work – something Kylie rarely can be accused of. ‘Million Miles’ finds Kylie repeating, “I feel so invisible” and that’s part of the problem. You can hear her voice, yet she doesn’t sound present (it’s not a Britney Jean size disaster, but it’s noticeable). Those issues are present on ‘Into the Blue’. It’s rare Kylie gets it wrong with her first single choice, but it doesn’t demand your attention like her other leads. 

Sexcersize’ sounds like a failed attempt to recapture the more experimental moments on X with its tired sounding bass-wobble and uninspired chorus. Songs like, ’If Only’ barely register. The album’s low point is, ‘Beautiful’ – a cloying ballad with Enrique Iglesias which, amazingly, was pencilled in to be a single at one point. 

Like any of her albums, there are salvageable moments. Second single, ‘I Was Gonna Cancel’ is Pharrell Williams produced and is insanely catchy with its stuttering synths, ringing bells and snappy chorus. ‘Sexy Love’ is another high point thanks to the slap bass that would have made a good single considering how much disco pastiches were in vogue in 2013/4. ‘Feels So Good’ has some cool spacy synths and a delightful bouncing bubblegum melody. The title track very much sounds like a song written by Sia in 2014 and would have made a great lead.

Kiss Me Once is an album that serves no real purpose in Kylie’s back catalogue. Her only real misfire in the last 25 years or so. 

Key track – I Was Gonna Cancel 

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12. Enjoy Yourself (1989) 

After the incredibly successful era of Kylie’s first album, it feels like the notes SAW and Kylie took into the sessions for her follow-up were to do more of the same. It starts with Kylie’s third number one single, ‘Hand On Your Heart’. It possesses an empowering chorus and finds Kylie pleading, “put your hand on your heart and tell me it’s all over, I won’t believe it” as the album sticks to the the same themes of love, romance and heartbreak. ‘Wouldn’t Change a Thing’ and ‘Never Too Much’ follow and continue her run of singles reaching the top five. These hits find Kylie and SAW sticking to the formula, albeit with better results than any of the singles on her debut. 

After a run of songs that would have no problem fitting on her debut, comes Kylie’s first solo ballad, ‘Tell-Tale Signs’. It’s too chintzy to pack any kind of emotional punch and her voice hasn’t got strong enough to carry it. Unfortunately the album’s downfall is another couple of ballads that are equally poor including an unspectacular cover of ‘Tears On My Pillow’. Put out as a fourth single, it surprisingly topped the charts the following year.

The strongest album tracks include the first sign that Kylie could pull off a ballad on, ‘My Secret Heart’. It succeeds unlike the other ballads thanks to its more spirited nature. It’s embellished by string stabs and pretty guitar parts reminiscent of Madonna’sDear Jessie’ or ‘Eternal Flame’ by The Bangles.

Also worth saving is the title track which leaves the album on a bright note. Despite throwaway lyrics like, “never let life get you down, when your head is spinning, feet won’t touch the ground” it’s hard not to get swept up in Kylie’s youthful optimism. The production sounds fuller and it boasts a stronger melody. Putting it as the last song, feels like we’re being treated to a glimpse of what Kylie and SAW were capable of on Rhythm Of Love.

Key track – Hand On Your Heart

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11. Kylie (1988) 

Producers Stock Aitken & Waterman at the top of their game and one of the biggest soap stars on the planet were always bound for success. Kylie had been marketed as the girl next door in Neighbours and these polite catchy songs about love and relationships were the perfect foil. 

Her ’88 debut begins with the inescapable, ‘I Should Be So Lucky’, her cover of ‘The Locomotion’ and ‘Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi’ which all reached the top two in 1988. Most of the songs follow the same production choices (that galloping SAW rhythm, synthetic brass) including ‘Got to Be Certain’ – another top two single. It’s only by the time, ‘Look My Way’ appears they deviate from the formula. It leans more towards an R&B inspired sound and if you squint, you can picture it being a Jam & Lewis production. It’s one of the few stands out. 

Closer and her second best song called, ‘Love At First Sight’ sums up the lyrical themes of her debut as she sings, “I just met the boy of my dreams, he smiled at me from afar, before I could think of leaving, he was holding me in my arms”. It’s another of the album tracks that makes any kind of impression. It still pales in comparison to her later works. Kylie’s vocals would later develop and by album three she would take more control with a more varied sound and more interesting lyrical themes.

No songs here take any risks, but everything is well written and serves its purpose. Her debut is a snapshot of her first imperial phase and the instant fame she received from the show. Kylie has always been grateful for her break, but has also commented how she didn’t get much of a say due to SAW already being such a well oiled machine and her young age. That would all change very quickly.

Key track – Look At My Way   

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10. Golden (2018) 

After the artistic and commercial failure of Kiss Me Once, Kylie released the stopgap Christmas album which was a safe move to keep herself in the public eye. When Golden’s first single, ‘Dancing’ dropped it was like catching up with a friend. Its country-flecked rhythm and charming video are a winning combination. The simple and poignant chorus has Kylie singing, “when I go out, I wanna go out dancing”. 

Shelby 69’ and ‘Radio On’ find Kylie giving an impassioned vocal and are a joy in their simplistic nature. ‘Music Is Too Sad Without You’ is a deeply moving breakup ballad with Radio 2 favourite, Jack Savoretti. Its yearning melody and sweeping strings are gorgeous and almost make up for her previous nightmare duets with Enrique and Keith Washington. On the other side is album highlight, ‘Raining Glitter’ (a classic Kylie song title) which is the album’s most vibrant and most disco inspired four minutes. The “woohs” alone are a giddy rush. 

Golden is an improvement over Kiss Me Once, but it’s slightly uneven. Songs such as, ‘A Lifetime to Repair’ and ‘Live a Little’ fall a little flat. Slight flaws like this are highlighted by the remarkable, ‘Lost Without You’ which is bizarrely relegated to a bonus track. There are still songs to enjoy here and 30 years into her career, the arrival of a Kylie album still feels like an event. 

Key track: Raining Glitter 

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9. Light Years (2000) 

After two artistically rewarding and commercially disappointing albums on Deconstruction (moreso with Impossible Princess) Kylie’s stock had somewhat fallen. Signing to Parlophone in 1999, Kylie prepared herself for one of the greatest comebacks in pop music. 

The narrative attached to Light Years is it was the sound of Kylie having fun again and giving people what they want. Embracing disco and euro-dance is something she’s been synonymous with in the 21st century. A few times in her career, she’s returned to it after her more adventurous records. Previous album, Impossible Princess is now regarded as a classic, but it was her first album with no top ten hits and left the charts for good after just four weeks. Light Years was her most unabashed ode to disco and glittery nights out. It was the stylistic change she needed to win people back round. 

Spinning Around’ executed her plan perfectly. It’s an irresistibly retro disco song full of Nile Rodgers style guitar licks, a funky bass-line and classic ’70s disco strings. Despite being left off the Radio One playlist, it was an easy number one single and put her back in the public’s consciousness more than she had been in a decade. It also paved the way for the summer of ‘Groovejet‘ and Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s wonderful run of singles the following year. It was a job well done. 

On a Night Like This’ just missed out on number one, but it’s a more compelling single with its darker pulsating electronic undertones that’s more modernized. The Giorgio Moroder-esque title track is one of her most stunning album tracks that was a welcome addition to her recent Infinite Disco set. ‘I’m So High’ features a breathtaking sparkling chorus and is one of the hidden gems in her catalogue. 

The absurdly fun, ‘Your Disco Needs You’ is undoubtedly her most famous deep cut. Co-written by Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, it’s maybe the most over the top song of her career with its blend of Village People, ‘I Will Survive’ and ABBA in Voulez-Vous era vibes. Williams claims it was labelled, “too camp to be a single” and the solid and safe, flamenco led, ‘Please Stay’ was picked instead. ‘Your Disco Needs You’ may divide opinion, but it could have easily been another number one single. 

Overall, Light Years isn’t quite as consistent as her best albums. Despite a cute flute-led chorus that wouldn’t be out of place on Saint Etienne’s Good Humor, ‘Loveboat’ is overproduced and ends up tacky instead of charming. ‘Koocachoo‘ aims for Betty Boo kitsch, but the novelty wears off pretty quickly. Worst of all is the momentum killing ballad, ‘Bittersweet Goodbye’. Trimming Light Years down to 10 or 11 tracks could have made it a classic. 

Light Years was an album Kylie needed to make. It reintroduced her to the pop world and was a nice distraction from some of the grey sludge that clogged up the charts (2000, the year Toploader and Limp Bizkit made it big). She even managed to appeal to a whole new audience when many had written her off. Kylie didn’t waste the goodwill she earned back from this era and made something spectacular the next time round.

Key track: Light Years 

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8. Rhythm Of Love (1990)

After two number one albums and nine top five singles in a row (eight of which went top two), Kylie’s popularity took a slight dip – a common trend for pop artists to reach that stage by album three. Anyone reading this will know, Kylie’s trajectory, becoming an even bigger and better star a decade later (even maintaining a healthy popularity in today’s weird climate where the charts make zero sense and are polluted by Sheeran and ‘Mr Brightside‘). Rhythm Of Love only made number nine and even though it provided four top ten singles, they didn’t quite have the staying power of her other hits. The slightly disappointing sales don’t reflect the quality of the material as Rhythm Of Love is easily the strongest of her four PWL/SAW albums.

It begins with the club and chart ready hits, ‘Better The Devil You Know’, ‘Step Back In Time’ and ‘What do I Have to Do’ – three of her best early singles that display more of an edge than her previous hits. ‘Better The Devil You Know’ in particular is an absolute triumph and maybe her first perfect single thanks to the gritter lyrics (reportedly about her much publicised relationship with Michael Hutchence from INXS). She opens up with more autobiographical lines such as, “our love wasn’t perfect, I know, I think I know the score”. Everything is improved as the production isn’t as one dimensional with strings, a hint of house piano and lashings of backing vocals. Even better is the unrelenting, ‘Shocked’ with its nod to the darker side of house music and the addition of guitars to her sound. 

Album tracks such as the New Order inspired, ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ and ‘World Still Turn’ (featuring the great lyric, “a broken heart is a lesson learned”) maintain the high quality of the singles and could have been hits. ‘Always Find The Time’ is wasted as an album track with its exuberant backing vocals and excellent call and response chorus. These songs possess sharper hooks, more lyrical depth and display her character more than her other three PWL albums. It only falters with the cheesy, ‘One Boy Girl’ which should have been left as a B-side. 

Rhythm Of Love didn’t get Kylie in the NME’s end of year list or anything, but it’s the album that showed her to be more versatile. It paid off for her to take control, evolve and make an album that meant more to her lyrically. 

Key track: Shocked 


7. Disco (2020)

On Aphrodite’s third single, ‘Be​​tter Than Today’ Kylie sang “what’s the point in living if you don’t want to dance? ” Ten years on and that sentiment remains on her most straightforward ballad free disco/dance record since Fever. As we all know, 2020 was an awful year for many reasons. The music, including Kylie heading back to the dancefloor and doing it with such style was one of the few bright spots. 

Disco appeared relatively quickly after Golden. In 2019, Kylie celebrated over 30 years in the business with a chart topping compilation and a Glastonbury performance that provided one of the biggest audiences the festival has ever seen. By late 2019 she was already back in the studio working on new material.

It’s hard to fault Disco. It’s filled with 12 streamlined retro throwbacks that are warmly familiar and full of heart similar to her career resurrecting single, ‘Spinning Around’. High-poin​​ts of the album include the ridiculously simple, “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday it’s the weekend” refrain on the feel-good anthem, ‘Monday Blues’. Opener, ‘Magic’ is yet another great single with its appealing punchy bounce and knowing chorus.

Say Something’, is Kylie’s least obvious lead single since ‘Slow’ thanks to its unusual structure and lack of obvious chorus (similar to ‘Slow’, instead of exploding she strips things back down). It’s the most emotional and human moment on Disco with a touching choir-filled climax. As Kylie sings, “we could all be as one again” it avoids sounding corny or cliched, because of who Kylie is and her gift for sounding so genuine.

There’s plenty of other single worthy material with, ‘I Love It’ and ‘Last Chance’ which are all big hooks and 70s Philly soul strings (a neat call back to her referencing The O’Jays on ‘Step Back In ​​Time’). Kylie’s never worn her influences on her sleeve as much as this album.

Best of all is the self-explanatory, ‘Dance Floor Darling’ with its thrilling hands-in-the-air tempo change towards the end. Disco comes to a close with, ‘Celebrate You’, which is a transcendent self-empowering anthem. Again, her sincerity sells the song as well as her enthusiasm which bounces off the walls as the glitter ball sparkles above her. 

In 2020, Dua Lipa, Jessie Ware and Róisín Murphy also released exceptional disco inspired albums and Kylie’s fits in well. Kylie is more concerned with the Donna Summer/Gloria Gayner/Earth, Wind & Wire school of disco, than those albums which have a more modern sheen, but it has a similar goal. Disco is the quintessential album title and in some ways it’s the quintessential Kylie album. A relentlessly upbeat and optimistic listen, just when we needed her most. 

Key track: Dance Floor Darling 

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6. Impossible Princess (1998) 

The phrase, fan favourite might as well have been invented for Impossible Princess which by Kylie’s standards was a huge commercial failure. ‘Some Kind Of Bliss’ went in at 22 and was her first single to miss the top 20 (it was a rare time where she was being outsold by her sister Dannii who was enjoying her biggest hit with the rapturous trance classic, ‘All I Wanna Do’). Written by James Dean Bradfield who was coming off his most successful year with the Manics, it’s a great single where Kylie’s voice has never sounded more prominent and soulful. 

After initially being stated for an autumn 97 release, the label tried two more singles neither of which made the top ten – the rougher Garbage inspired pop rock of ‘Did It Again’ and the dreamy ‘Breathe’ (which pre-dates the ​​ethereal William Orbit productions for Madonna and All Saints). The album belatedly came out in March 98 and no further official singles were released in the UK. After a brief stay in the charts, she would part from Deconstruction and go in a different direction again. 

Impossible Princess broke new ground for Kylie as it was the first album where she was involved in writing every track. After her S/T  had opened her up to take more risks, she spent two years working on this one and had a very different creative process. Despite the two James Dean Bradfield tracks and the Indie Kylie tag getting the attention, the rest of the album is mainly more focused on experiments with brooding electronics and contemplative lyrics.

Her sense of artistic freedom is evident from her schizoid delivery in the dark opener, ‘Too Far’ which is full of frantic beats and a huge orchestral breakdown. In contrast, ‘Cowboy Style’ (where Kylie sings of shedding her skin) has celtic influences and tribal rhythms. By the time, ‘Some Kind Of Bliss’ appears as track three, it’s clear this is an eclectic record. She also dabbles in dark minimal house (‘Say Hey’), anxiety driven drum & bass (‘Drunk’), jazz infused trip hop (‘Through The Years’), nods to Björk inspired techno-pop (‘Limbo’) and Motown inspired sunshine pop (‘I Don’t Believe In Anyone’). 

Songs don’t follow the traditional verse chorus pattern and she uses her voice in ways she never has done before (using distortion, rapping, stream of consciousness delivery, layers of vocals). Sometimes it’s almost unbelievable that this is the same artist who sang on ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ just 10 years prior.

A few artists who had made their name in the 70s/80s turned to electronics in the second half of the 90s (Bowie’s Earthling, Madonna’s Ray Of Light, Everything But the Girl’s Walking Wounded and Sparks’ Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins), but Impossible Princess seemed like one of the most unexpected moves. Kylie explained the process as making her most personal, intense music and being free to be herself. By expanding her sonic palette she made a frenzied pop record that’s her most adventurous and divisive release. Derided by critics, its reputation has grown so much it’s rated as her best by many. 

Key track: Breathe 

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5. X (2007)

As the 2004 campaign for Kylie’s well timed Ultimate Collection wound down (containing the outstanding, ‘I Believe In You’ as the token new single), Kylie retreated from the public eye as she battled cancer in 2005. As she returned in 2007 to a heroes welcome, pop music was in full bloom thanks to increasingly invigorating artists like Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Annie, Robyn, Britney and Róisín Murphy

A lot has been reported about the making of X and how many people were asked to contribute songs. Hot Chip, Pet Shop Boys, Daft Punk, Nelly Furtado, Mark Ronson and many others were all rumoured to have been approached. Over 40 songs were recorded for the album which does give a slight feeling that X was over-thought (a common criticism from reviews at the time). Along with Impossible Princess, it could be considered Kylie’s most polarising album. 

In some ways, X is a successor to Impossible Princess, as it features an amalgam of styles. She doesn’t quite genre hop in the same way this time round (there were no accusations of her becoming Indie Kylie). These are all electronic songs, but she dips in from bubble gum pop (‘Wow’), Goldfrapp inspired glam pop (‘2 Hearts’) and fuzzy Calvin Harris attempting Justice (‘In My Arms’).

Kylie’s always been vocal about her love of keeping up with new music and it shows on the minimal R&B inspired, ‘All I See’ which isn’t far off the recent output of Gwen Stefani or Amerie. Songs such as, ‘Speakerphone’ and ‘Nu-dit-ty’ are in-line with the quirky dark future pop Britney would release on her masterpiece, Blackout from the same time. 

X doesn’t flow as well as Fever or Aphrodite as the sequencing isn’t perfect. Its high placement is because it’s such a thrilling ride even if it’s a little bumpy. Individually, there are so many incredible songs. The shimmering rush of ‘Stars’, the vulnerable twinkling ballad ‘Cosmic’ and lush swirling ‘No More Rain’ (another nod to Goldfrapp, but this time at their airy and reflective side). 

The One’ is the undoubted highlight and one of her very best singles that was criminally relegated to fourth single and was her first not to have a physical release. Times were changing, but Kylie was smartest enough to adapt to remain relevant and mostly keep her quality high. 

Key track: The One 

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4. Kylie Minogue (1994)

After being frustrated with her output and splitting from PWL, Kylie changed directions and put out her most consistent album to date. Much has been made of her so-called grown up direction, but there’s a breezy quality to a lot of this album which makes it more accessible than its given credit for. The dark string-oriented first single, ‘Confide In Me’ is an elegant masterstroke that threatens to overshadow the rest of the album. She controls her voice beautifully as there’s a richness in her delivery. Clocking in at almost six minutes, it’s an uncharacteristically epic song that was a risk and a deserved commercial success. It’s also a red herring for the rest of the album which is more focused on house, new jack swing, and even hints at trip hop. 

Similar to Janet Jackson’s Janet and Madonna’s Bedtime Stories, These albums encapsulate the subtle coolness of mid ’90s dance music with a clarity in the songwriting that’s fresh and natural. Songs such as ‘Surrender’, ‘Where Is The Feeling’ and the sultry Pet Shop Boys penned, ‘Falling’ are effortlessly catchy and have a new found confidence and class. Second single, ‘Put Yourself In My Place’ is one of her best singles with its lush pillowy production as Kylie coos the verses before a powerful vocal performance in the chorus. 

Whilst the album is often rooted in more understated melodies, it ends with the exuberant, ‘Time Will Pass You By’ which is the kind of vibrant hi-energy disco that would return her to the top of the charts six years later. As Kylie sings, “take my hand, I’ll show you how to live”, her optimism is infectious. A recurring theme throughout her career.

An argument could be made for many Kylie albums being her most underrated and this one definitely could be considered for that title. There’s no real filler and it’s a key album in the evolution of her becoming a great album artist as well as letting the listener in on her sense of identity. It’s not about proving she’s a serious artist, it’s one where began to set herself free and shows she shouldn’t be underestimated.  

Key track: Confide In Me 

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3. Aphrodite (2010) 

Whilst 2007’s X was a commercial success, it received mixed reviews and fans took to rearranging the track-list to find their perfect album. Aphrodite, didn’t suffer from those issues. If X was an album where you could tell everything had been scrutinised, Aphrodite went back to the aerodynamic perfection she achieved on Fever. Stuart Price was brought in to produce the album which was the first time she’d had an executive producer since the SAW days. His spotless production makes Aphrodite one of her most cohesive releases (at the same time, Price also moulded the underrated third Scissor Sisters album, Night Work to have a similar well rounded feel after the hit and miss, Ta-dah).

Even though it flows beautifully and sounds organic, this album doesn’t sound like any kind of compromise. The dark spiraling Patrick Cowley-esque synths in ‘Closer’  gives the song an edge. The title track is all clattering percussion with an infectious chanting chorus. ‘Cupid Boy’ starts with a simple ‘Teenage Dream’/’Since You’ve Been Gone’ guitar part, but the chorus features a huge crash of robotic voices and scuzzy synths. ‘Better Than Today’ is a weird nu-disco synth-pop hybrid with a bouncing bass-line and dizzying vocal that was bizarrely picked as the third single, especially when the celebratory ‘Can’t Beat the Feeling’ (which Daft Punk must have heard before writing the bridge to ‘Get Lucky’) was right there. 

As strong as the album tracks are, it peaks with the first two singles. She begins, ‘All The Lovers’ with the lines, “dance, it’s all I want to do, so won’t you dance” which is a mission statement for the album. It brings back the buzzing bass-line from ‘I Believe In You’ and is just as enticing. Over one of her most alluring melodies her voice melts gently leading the song into the synth breakdown which is one of the most life-affirming climaxes in her back catalogue (she repeats a similar trick on, ‘Put Your Hands Up’s solo). 

Even more blissful is, ‘Get Outta My Way’ (my personal favourite Kylie song). It’s the perfect 2010 sounding pop song with its ‘Last Friday Night’ handclaps in the breakdown and Red One aping “heys’ ‘ It has a timeless quality not everything from that year possesses. She’s back on the dancefloor again but this time she’s more commanding and isn’t messing around singing, “you’re getting boring, you’re all so boring, I don’t recognise the zombie you’ve turned into” before promising, “now I show you what I’m made of”. Her ad-libs push this captivating song into heavenly bliss.

Sadly, Aphrodite is the last time Kylie felt like a real commercial force. Her albums have continued to sell well and mostly hit number one, but ‘All the Lovers’ is her last solo top ten single that stuck around. In 2010, some newer pop stars were going through their own imperial phases (Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, Lady Gaga’s Fame/Fame Monster and Rihanna’s Loud). Kylie didn’t quite reach those same sales or ubiquity, but it was a joy witnessing her put out such an enjoyable album that really stands with her very best work. Not many artists 22 years into their careers can claim that. 

Key track: Get Outta My Way 

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2. Body Language (2003) 

Body Language was gree​​ted as a disappoin​​​​tmen​​t by some and had roughly a qua​​r​​ter o​​f ​​the sales Fever had. Anyone hoping for a ​​third ins​​talmen​​t of Kylie goes ele​​c​​tro disco migh​​t have been ​​thrown off by the unexpected detour of, Body Language. It finds Kylie focused on quirky elec​​tro-pop and lowkey slick R&B. ​​

Firs​​t single, ‘Slow’ bubbles along wi​​th a minimalis​​t backing as her voice sounds brea​​thy and seductive. Ins​​tead of breaking in​​to a huge chorus, Kylie sings, “slow down and dance with me, yeah, slow” as ​​the beat drops out and the bubbling syn​​ths radiate around her. The 12” extended mix is even more exquisite. Kylie names it as her favourite song.

Even though ‘Slow’ made number one, Body Language isn’​​t filled wi​​th obvious hi​​ts unlike ​​Ligh​​t Years and Fever which overflowed with single choices. It’s jus​​t as addic​​tive and sounds ahead of i​​ts ​​time. Songs like, ‘Secrets’ and ‘Sweet Music’ are all squelchy synths, harder rhythms with a darker groove. ‘I Feel For You’ is one of her most off-kilter songs with its hyperactive wobbling bass-line and weird distorted sampled vocals. ​​On ​​these songs ​​the produc​​tion snaps, fizzes and Kylie sounds more effor​​tlessly cool ​​than ever before. 

Along wi​​th darker elec​​tro pop, R&B and a heavy dose of Prince, one of the key influences is  Scri​​tti Poli​​t​​ti. ‘Chocola​​te’ is Kylie’s most underrated single and is a perfect Scritti song with its slinky groove and use of space in the production. Scritti’s Green Gartside appears on the lusciously sleek ‘Somedays’ – another highlight. The gorgeous late night string-laced ballad, ‘Loving Days’ helps make the second side one of her most entrancing set of songs. 

Body Language has s​​tood ​​the ​​tes​​t of ​​time extraordinarily well. For an artist going through a second imperial phase, it was a bold and unpredictable move. It deserves to be recognised as one of her most satisfying projects and is a key reason why Kylie is such an exciting artist to follow. 

Key track: Chocolate

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1. Fever (2001) 

When Fever came out it felt like a victory lap and that yet again, Kylie had something to prove. Light Years got her a new audience, made her old audience fall in love with her again and was her biggest album in over ten years. It could have been a one off – a one last hurrah to the pop world before settling back into middling success. Kylie was too smart for that. Within a year she was back with another album that became her biggest and best success. It also gave Kylie her signature song, ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’.

Fever is one of those perfect eras that artists dream of. Flawless single choices, big hit songs, exceptional well suited videos and great radio play. Along with, ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ – a song which hasn’t lost any of its charm a thousand plays later, we get the, ‘Spinning Around’ referencing, ‘In Your Eyes’, the hypnotising electo swirl of, ‘Come Into My World’ and the sensational ‘Love At First Sight” – another contender for her best song. It takes its blueprint from Stardust’sMusic Sounds Better With You’ and makes it even more unashamedly romantic and euphoric.

Beyond the singles, there isn’t a wasted moment here and it must have been tempting to keep on going and make this a never ending Faith/Bad/Control style era. The rest of Fever is filled with infectious and glossy immaculately produced disco pop. ‘Fragile’ and ‘Your Love’ are delicate and achingly beautiful. Kylie’s voice has never sounded better with her vulnerability at the forefront. ‘Give It Up’ has more than an obvious nod to Basement Jaxx’sRed Alert’ and is just much of a blast. The title track would have been a perfect fifth single with its catchy stop-starting rhythm. ‘Burning Up’ is one of Kylie’s best closers with its dazzling use of tension and release that builds into an intense disco epic.

Underrated at the time (and even mocked by Pitchfork where a positive review was later revealed to be an April Fool’s joke), 21 years on Fever stands as one of the pinnacles of 2000s pop. You can trace its influence on some of the 21st century’s greatest pop records (Emotion, Body Talk, What’s Your Pleasure? and Come & Get It). Kylie sounds like she’s having the time of her life. On these perfectly executed songs, she has mastered the full length and made it sound easy. Fever is her decadent disco masterpiece where her personality radiates through the songs. 

Key track: Fever/Love At First Sight/Fragile/Your Love etc. 

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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.