It has been twenty three years since Kylie’s debut single ‘Locomotion’ stormed international charts and propelled Kylie into the stratosphere of pop. Since that time she has endured public condemnation, seemingly endless reinventions and breast cancer to become one of the highest selling females, amassing sales of 70 million records.
After a four year hiatus to battle the big C, Kylie released her tenth studio album X, deemed by enthusiasts as her ‘comeback’ album. Despite containing a multitude of memorable tracks, the reaction was lukewarm. Critics and some die-hard fans wanted an Impossible Princess that documented her struggle with cancer. Others wanted Fever-era Kylie to keep nightclubs open for days. To some extent the latter was fulfilled but an incompetent selection of singles lead to underwhelming sales, particularly in the US. Instant classics like ‘Speakerphone’ and ‘The One’ went neglected while ‘2 Hearts’ was chosen as lead single despite sounding like nothing else on X.
With her latest offering, it becomes immediately apparent that Kylie has learnt her lesson. Aphrodite is more than a return to form – it is a personal best. Enlisting the help of Stuart Price (Madonna’s Confessions on a Dancefloor, Scissor Sisters’ Night Work) Kylie has birthed a pop-dance album caked with potential hits, but more importantly, a point. The girl wants us to have fun.
Album opener and lead single ‘All The Lovers’ is the perfect representation of the sound of Aphrodite. More ‘I Believe in You’ than ‘Can’t Get You Outta My Head’, it effortlessly seduces the listener with its brimming positivity and an electro-pop chorus as epic as the accompanying video.
Via a dependable troupe of songwriters (Jake Shears, Calvin Harris, Nerina Pallot, Nervo), Aphrodite has been super-sized with single possibilities. Closer is a sinister and destitute sci-fi ballad reminiscent of Royksopp’s ‘The Girl and the Robot’, in which Kylie deliberates, “We are breathing the same, we are moving the same. And we were…And we are.”
Another highlight is the Body Language styled ‘Better Than Today’, containing a melody so catchy, it could be injectable. As philosophical as it is simple, Kylie reminds us, “What’s the point in living if you don’t wanna dance?” The euphoric infectiousness is abundant on ‘Looking For An Angel’ and ‘Illusion’. Calvin Harris serves his buzzing electro A-game in ‘Too Much’ while ‘Get Outta My Way’ sounds like the best of 2000s Kylie in a blender – think ‘Love at First Sight’ multiplied by ‘In My Arms’.
Aphrodite is by no means all beauty. Notable misses include the generic ‘Can’t Beat That Feeling’ and the too-camp-even-for-Kylie ‘Aphrodite’. That being said, it seems the princess of pop may have finally found the balance. Aphrodite is the dance extravagance of Fever laced with the (light) philosophizing of Impossible Princess. Catchy, cohesive and classically Kylie.
Key Tracks: Closer, All The Lovers, Looking For an Angel, Better Than Today