The veteran singer returns with an album that's certainly out of time, but not a moment too soon.
Kylie Minogue has become something of a national treasure here in the UK, which is a bit odd considering that she's Australian. They're part of the commonwealth and have our flag on theirs, so close enough.
Despite her wealth of experiece, the 'Princess of Pop' stuttered slightly on 2018's Golden, attempting a country-pop sound that didn't quite hit all the notes. Perhaps she registered that, as she has returned two years later with Disco, an album that is exactly, well, that. This record is a throwback that pre-dates her own career, all the way back to the late 1970s. Throughout this record, you'll find moments of Chic, Earth, Wind & Fire and the Bee Gees scattered across its songs, harking back to a time when disco was the genre of the day.
Does it sound out of time? A bit, but not massively. For one thing, its modern production values alone help it to sound a bit more up-to-date, not to mention a few little tricks and effects that would have been very difficult indeed to pull off back then. But more than that, and this ties into our fairly recent article about how genres shouldn't have a shelf-life, it's just a good album, full of good music, and when that's the case, who cares if it's an older style or not?
And its upbeat nature has come along not a moment too soon; with much of the world back under lockdown, we need all the positivity we can get. Kylie has delivered that to us in spades with this record, giving us music to dance to in our bedrooms and songs to sing along to in our kitchens. It's a fun and upbeat record, one that urges you to get up and dance right from the moment it begins with latest single 'Magic'. At 4:10, it's the longest song on the album by far, which alone tells you that none of these songs are here to be slow-burners. Rather, it's all about the immediacy, the electricity of the songs, showcasing a "get up and go" theme that persists all the way through.
Kylie worked with a number of writers and producers on this album, but it is the songs she did with Sky Adams that stand out the most. 'Supernova', 'Last Chance', 'Where Does The DJ Go' and 'Dance Floor Darling' are all great songs, with the other two collaborations ('Monday Blues' and 'Celebrate You') admittedly not quite hitting the same level. Outside of Adams, 'Miss a Thing' and 'Real Groove' also offer excellent slices of disco-laden fun.
The album's weakest tracks are its singles, which is slightly odd. 'Magic', though a perfectly decent opener, doesn't quite stand as tall as its compatriots, and neither does 'Say Something', which also isn't as strong, though it holds it own as something just a little different, as a brief break from the 15 minutes of pure dance that precedes it.
But the most impressive thing about this album is Kylie herself. She puts in a fantastic performance on this record, full of energy and sounding as relevant as she did 20 years ago. With decades of success behind her, she performs like an artist with nothing left to prove, simply there now to enjoy herself and have the time of her life. The pressure is off, and you feel that come through in her performances. It's a delight for the ears.
In a hard time for the world, Kylie has delivered us an easy-going album that will bring light to everyone who listens to it. Is it groundbreaking or outstanding in any way? Not really. But it is the album of a woman who knows exactly what she is doing, and clearly enjoys her line of work very much indeed. It's hard to fault music like that, and as a result, it's hard to fault this album. Kylie continues to be a treasure, and this album - her best in years - only confirms that.
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