Kylie Minogue – X
Capitol Records (4/01/08)
Dance-pop / Hi-NRG
Kylie Minogue’s dedication to the gay and dance music communities, which are not exclusive to one another, has been a long, satisfying relationship. X is her tenth studio album in her 21-year singing career, and one amazing aspect about this record—which will turn some people on and turn some people off—is that she rarely sounds like herself on any of the songs.
“2 Hearts” has a very Marilyn-Monroe-meets-“Fever” sex appeal to it, while “Like a Drug” sounds like Britney Spears for the first twenty seconds or so before the more familiar styling in the voice comes out and we’re back to realizing this is a Kylie Minogue record. I think if the track had a heavier remix, it could be a hit for Kylie; in its original form, however, it wouldn’t be a strong choice as a single. “In My Arms” has what I would want more from Kylie—that classic-disco-meets-pop approach that makes her memorable.
One of the album’s standout tracks, “Speakerphone”, doesn’t sound much like Kylie, and whenever I’ve heard it in the past I think I’d misidentified it in my brain as either Britney Spears or Janet Jackson. However, this would be a strong, strong single for Kylie, while “Sensitized” has some Serge Gainsbourg sampling following it nicely, and complements “Speakerphone” well. “Heart Beat Rock” channels Fergie and Janet at the same time, and it isn’t until over a minute into the song that it’s obvious that this could be a huge hit for Kylie, and this track would be another good choice to receive the remix treatment.
In “The One”, shee seems right at home amid the glitter-pop/disco vibe, while its follow-up track, “No More Rain”, happens to be the best-written track on X. It has an honest, inspiring and refreshing perspective of Kylie’s recent (and successful) struggle against breast cancer. The song is gorgeous, should without question be one of the singles, and is one of the best parts of the entire album.
“All I See”, on the International release, has such a heavy Baby Spice/Janet Jackson feel to it that it’s surprising that it’s not another artist singing. On the American release, rapper MIMS is added to the mix, which makes it sound even more like it could be a Janet Jackson record, though the song is really very good and the addition of MIMS actually makes it better. In fact, while the original would be a poor choice for a single, the remix could actually be a relatively successful urban cross-over hit.
“Stars” could be a remixed and probably would be a decent club hit, but I didn’t feel like it added any quality to the record in its current state. “Wow” sounds like Madonna’s “Holiday” and is techno-ish at times, but there is almost an overdose on pop to the point that it was borderline corny; however, the subsequent track, “Nu-Di-Ty”, in which Kylie seems to be channeling her inner Britney Spears circa Blackout is damn catchy, and it has the potential to be a huge dance hit for her. Find HEx Hector, have him work his magic on this, and get it out to dance floors, ASAP.
And don’t forget to pop your CD in your computer to download the exclusive track “Rippin’ Up the Disco”, a non-album track from the X sessions, which should have absolutely made the album in lieu of “Wow”.
It’s really nice to hear another fun, sexy record from Kylie, not to mention the strongly reflective and gorgeous “No More Rain”, though I would have loved to have seen some more balance on this album. It can be overwhelming at times when the songs go all over the place, but it wasn’t so much as to take away from the enjoyment of X itself. If she wants to keep exploring her fun, playful sound and personality, she absolutely should. However, she needs to take it all the way, and in a certain musical direction (maybe something more like Madonna’s Confessions on a Dance Floor) and stay committed to that vision. That said, though, there is no doubt that Kylie is absolutely amazing, and I’m looking forward to more of Kylie’s funscapades in her music and on-stage.
Tags: Fergie, Janet Jackson, Madonna