Released: March 14, 2014
Kiss Me Once, Kylie Minogue’s 12th studio album, is no real re-invention to say the least. You could see the extremely well-performed quality in her 2010 entry, the sublime Aphrodite (check out my review here), and, as expected, you can see it has slowly shimmered onto this 11-track set. By whilst Aphrodite was a consistent set of tracks that allowed her to showcase her maturity, passion and complexity as an artist, Kiss Me Once is a soundtrack of all things that are good in Kylie’s favor; fun, sex, flirtatiousness, and enjoyment.
Kiss Me Once is in fact her shortest-spanning album since her releases back in the 1990s, so it looks like the strategy was to enlist several A-list producers and songwriters, and insure every little speck of glitter, dancefloor fever (get the hint?), and possible fun was compacted into this short track list. And the result is pretty satisfying. The album’s lead single, “Into the Blue”, is a contrast of biographical lyrics with sad/memorizing feeling, and heavy club beats in the background. It’s not the most innovative release, but it’s definitely one of her biggest club anthems and yet another good opener. Some of the album cuts, including the beautiful house anthem “Fine”, the bubbly europop “Feels So Good”, the staggering title track, and downtempo R&B hit “If Only” all rely on a sense of heartwarming lyrical content over a classic yet recycled chic sound that could easily fit in Kylie’s back catalogue, or in modern pop itself. However, the big highlights are “Fine” and the title track; both which scream nothing but anthematic pop hits that burst strong and memorable choruses.
But Kylie’s career has been carved with her flirtatious and stunningly cheeky personality (I mean, have you not checked out her albums since 2000’s Light Years?). So, there’s no surprise that the remaining part of the album are floor fillers that boast sex, enjoyment, love, and… sex. No literally, three of the album tracks: the disco-riffs that pay ode to her earlier career, “Sexy Love”, the ridiculously mysterious and insanely catchy guilty pleasure, “Sexercize”, and the fuzzy electro cut “Les Sex”, all strongly deal with sex. But whilst the first and third tracks are slightly mediocre yet good enough, “Sexercize” may be her strongest commercial offering here. Sure, it’s a crass and desperate approach to Top 40 radio (or the youngster EDM culture), but Kiss Me Once lacks a lot of instant and captivating hooks, and “Sexercize” serves it well. Another commercial high point is the funky guitar-driven pop hit “Million Miles”, which was a “coulda been a single” moment.
But the album’s only bum moments are the slightly dated “I Was Gonna Cancel”, which is produced by Pharrell Williams (which I was astonished by that he produced it.), and the really overproduced and dried out duet with Enrique Igleasias, “Beautiful”. The former song isn’t that bad; it has a pretty solid hook (“Go… go… go… go…”) and is something out Ms. Kylie’s comfort zone, but it’s just way too formulaic in Mr. William’s production catalogue. It just sounds generic. And the depthless and robotic “Beautiful” maybe an emotional entry, but it’s way too unauthentic and processed to be taken seriously. Apart from these two moments, Kiss Me Once is a pretty fun album. It’s not as mature or collectively polished like Aphrodite, and may not be at the same height, but Kiss Me Once still offers everything a Kylie album offers; fun, exciting dance moments, pop frills, polished and glossy production, and amazing charisma she has held onto since the start of her career.
Track list (Bold means best tracks)
- Into the Blue
- Million Miles
- I Was Gonna Cancel
- Sexy Love
- Sexercize ~Liam’s favorite~
- Feels so Good
- If Only
- Les Sex
- Kiss Me Once
- Beautiful (feat. Enrique Iglesias)