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Disco Down Under: Every Kylie Minogue Album Ranked

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Nocturn    6,426

This summer marks the 30th anniversary of Kylie Minogue’s unassumingly titled debut album, Kylie. In the three decades since, the Australian soap actress turned international pop star has released 13 albums and racked up an impressive 34 Top 10 hits in the U.K., though her career trajectory wasn’t always assured. After her initial breakout success on both sides of the Atlantic, with a cover of Little Eva’s “The Loco-Motion,” Minogue struggled to maintain interest among U.S. audiences. By the mid-1990s, she was eager to shake off her bubblegum-pop image, collaborating with the likes of Nick Cave and Towa Tei, and taking more creative control with the experimental Impossible Princess. The album flopped, but a turn-of-the-century renaissance found the singer embracing her dance-pop roots and cementing her status as a gay icon. Her latest incarnation, as a disco-country goddess, has been met with mixed reactions from fans and critics, but the album, Golden, is a testament to Minogue’s continued penchant for reinvention. This year also marks a personal milestone for Mingoue, who turns 50 next month. To celebrate, we’ve ranked all 13 of the artist’s albums.


13. Kylie (1988)

Then famous in her native Australia as Charlene in the soap opera Neighbours, Minogue became an unlikely pop star when her cover of the 1962 hit “The Loco-Motion” became an unexpected international smash. The 19-year-old was plopped onto English production trio Stock Aitken Waterman’s assembly line, where it sounds like she was forced to suck down a lungful of helium and sing along to their patented house blend of hi-NRG beats, Italo-disco synths, and Motown melodies. The resulting album, Kylie, is as lightweight and unsatisfying as cotton candy—and goes down just as easy.

12. Enjoy Yourself (1989)

There isn’t a whole lot to differentiate Minogue’s sophomore effort from its predecessor, right down to the oversized hat on the album’s cover. Released just over a year after the singer’s debut, Enjoy Yourselfrepeats the first album’s sonic template almost verbatim, including a cover of a classic pop song (in this case, the 1958 doo-wop hit “Tears on My Pillow”). Slight but much-welcomed diversions include the string-laden torch song “Tell Tale Signs” and the baroque-pop “My Secret Heart.” Notably, Minogue would later transform the album’s tonally incongruent lead single, “Hand on Your Heart,” into a poignant acoustic ballad on 2012’s The Abbey Road Sessions.

11. Let’s Get to It (1991)

On her final album for PWL Records, Minogue continued to peel herself away from the SAW hit factory that helped make her a star. New jack swing, hip-hop, and house are more prominently featured, though none particularly successfully. Produced by the first and last thirds of Stock Aitken Waterman, tracks like “Word Is Out,” “Too Much of a Good Thing,” and “I Guess I Like It Like That” feel like inferior facsimiles of the distinctly American sound being created by the likes of Clivillés and Cole, Jam and Lewis, Full Force, and others.

10. Rhythm of Love (1990)

From the disco-infused “Step Back in Time” to the techno-pop “Shocked,” the potency of Rhythm of Love’s singles alone makes it the strongest of Minogue’s PWL albums. With “Better the Devil You Know,” the singer had begun to shed her girl-next-door image, but the album also saw producers Stock Aitken Waterman developing their signature sound, which, by the end of the ’80s, had reached peak saturation on both sides of the pond. The addition of outside producers, including frequent Madonna collaborator Stephen Bray, further expanded Minogue’s repertoire to include new jack swing and hip-hop, putting the artist somewhere near, if not in, the same league as her female chart rivals for the first time.

09. Kiss Me Once (2014)

Minogue’s first album not to spawn a U.K. Top 10 hit since 1997’s Impossible Princess, Kiss Me Once lacks a distinct sonic point of view, incorporating pop-rock, disco, dubstep, and R&B in equal measure. If there’s an overarching theme to the album, it’s sex and its various consequences: Minogue fantasizes about it on “Sexy Love,” she sweats about it on “Sexercize,” she struggles to define it on “Les Sex.” The sleek bonus track “Sleeping with the Enemy” seems to pay homage to Massive Attack’s sublime “Unfinished Sympathy,” while the Pharrell-produced “I Was Gonna Cancel” makes one wonder what an entire Kylie album of disco-funk might have sounded like. As it stands, Kiss Me Once is the most scattershot of Minogue’s latter-day efforts.

08. Kylie Minogue (1994)

After churning out four albums in as many years with Stock Aitken Waterman, Minogue parted ways with the production team’s label in 1993 and signed with Deconstruction Records. The pop star’s first album with the label resulted in a creative rebirth that’s reflected in the eponymous album’s title and embrace of club music. (Perhaps emulating classic 12” house records, a handful of songs—“Where Is the Feeling,” “Where Has the Love Gone,” and “Falling”—all run about two minutes too long.) But Kylie Minogue’s biggest surprise is its midtempo material. Minogue doesn’t have the vocal prowess to carry some of these songs—“Surrender” is a less sultry rendition of a song recorded by Tia Carrere a year earlier—but she admirably pushes her voice to its limits on the string-laden “Dangerous Game” and “Automatic Love.” The cautionary “Confide in Me,” with its hypnotic hook, Middle Eastern strings, and ominous guitar riff, calls for a sensual and understated performance—and Minogue delivers.

07. Golden (2018)

The Nashville-inspired Golden, whose title commemorates Minogue’s impending 50th birthday, is the singer’s most personal album since Impossible Princess. Both her anxiety about and joyful resistance to her mortality is apparent in songs like “Dancing,” “Live a Little,” and the title track. “Sincerely Yours” is a “love letter” most likely directed at tour audiences—“This is not the end, I’ll come back again/You’ll still see me, you’ll still hear me”—but it’s hard not to imagine Minogue singing it as penance to fans eagerly awaiting her return to dance music. While country signifiers abound, from foot-stomping to fiddling, the songs on Golden also smartly juxtapose contemporary pop elements like soaring synth hooks and pitched-up vocals. If nothing else, Golden further bolsters Minogue’s reputation for taking risks—and artfully sets the stage for her inevitable disco comeback.

06. Aphrodite (2010)

Like Fever before it, Minogue’s 11th album, Aphrodite, has aged like a fine cheese. Safe and somewhat antiseptic, thanks to producer Stuart Price’s slick synth beats and canned strings, the album is the sound of Minogue playing to her base following two albums that largely strayed from the anthemic club songs that put her back on top in the early aughts. The album’s simple pleasures, from the understated lead single “All the Lovers” to the Cerrone-quoting “Closer,” prove that while Minogue is capable of much more, she often excels when she gets basic.

05. Light Years (2000)

A return to more accessible dance music following Minogue’s foray into art-pop with Impossible Princess, Light Years is Kylie at her campiest. The album’s aesthetic is best epitomized by a trio of songs in its middle stretch: “Loveboat,” with its swooning strings and fluttering flutes; “Koocachoo,” with its chirping synths and honking horns; and what is, perhaps, the album’s pièce de résistance, “Your Disco Needs You,” a full-flame call to the dance floor that crams every conceivable disco cliché—a brass section, a male chorus, and a poorly spoken French interlude—into three and a half minutes. Not all of Light Years is pure kitsch though: The more refined influence of Saint Etienne (via a cover of Barry White and Paul Politi’s “Under the Influence of Love”) and Giorgio Moroder (on “Disco Down”) can be heard throughout. And contemporary house tracks like “On a Night Like This” and “Butterfly” didn’t just point to EDM’s future, but created the template Minogue would fall back on again and again over the next 15 years.

04. X (2007)

Minogue’s 10th album found the pop singer throwing as much shit against the proverbial wall as possible, all market-targeted for maximum impact: glam-pop (U.K. single “2 Hearts”), R&B (U.S. single “All I See”), guitar-driven pop-rock (“Stars”), bubble-gum pop (“Wow”), urban pop in the vein of Gwen Stefani (“Nu-di-ty”). Despite this lack of cohesion, though, X succeeds not because it’s greater than the sum of its parts, but because each of these individual parts—the shimmering synth-pop of “In My Arms” and “The One,” the audacious genre experimentation of “Speakerphone,” the wholesale sampling of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Bonnie and Clyde” for the ebullient “Sensitized”—works so well on their own.

03. Fever (2001)

In my original review of Minogue’s stateside breakthrough, Fever, I declared that the album was so sickeningly cheesy that it should have come packaged with a complimentary bottle of Lactaid. The aptly titled lead single, “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” is a cheeky, soul-sucking earworm whose titular promise is achieved with robotic precision. And the rest of the album, from the hypnotic “Come Into My World” to the insistent “Dancefloor,” follows suit with mindlessly, unrelentingly thumping beats. What should be playful or sensual is often rendered mechanical by Minogue’s reedy voice, but what so offended me at the time of the album’s release is, in retrospect, what has rendered Feverrife for repeat visits. It’s unapologetically derivative, but it’s also infectious, thoroughly modern, and ultimately impossible to resist.

02. Body Language (2003)

Following the international success of Fever, which put Minogue back on the U.S. charts for the first time in over a decade, the singer could have played it safe and delivered yet another album filled with frothy disco tunes. Instead, she released Body Language, a simmering collection of largely midtempo songs steeped in ’80s R&B and electro references. That in and of itself may have been a vie for ever-fickle American audiences, as evidenced by the single “Red Blooded Woman,” which sounds like a response to Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River,” what with its stuttering Timbaland-style beat and ghostly voices of the men Minogue’s siren undoubtedly devoured whole. But much of the rest of the album, including the other singles—the minimalist electro-pop/disco fusion “Slow” and the jazzy trip-hop “Chocolate”—is smooth, sleek, and understated, which is an anomaly in Mingoue’s catalogue.

01. Impossible Princess (1997)

Inspired by both the Britpop and electronica movements of the mid-’90s, Minogue enlisted Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers and house gurus Brothers in Rhythm for 1997’s Impossible Princess. Despite its varied styles, the album manages to remain cohesive and fresh, even 20 years later. The sleek trip-hop of “Jump” and the deliriously spacey “Say Hey” fit like puzzle pieces next to the techno/rock hybrid “Limbo” and the frenetic “I Don’t Need Anyone.” Minogue fiercely declares her independence on the latter but admits to her innate vulnerability: “I don’t need anyone/Except for someone I’ve not found.” Though Impossible Princess has been compared to Ray of Light, it offers few spiritual revelations of the sort found on Madonna’s landmark album. This is the voice of pain and suffering: “I ache for great experience…I’m not happy/Waste till I’m wasted,” Minogue sings on “Drunk,” one of many anthemic trance tracks littered throughout the album. She had a hand in writing every song here, lending a starkly personal and unified cord that she wouldn’t achieve again until 2018’s Golden.



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Urbanov    35,705
42 minutes ago, Goldie said:

Impossible Princess #1, bye kylie2 


2 minutes ago, Liam said:

Golden should be last

and this jj4

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P.O.P    47,797
On 16.04.2018 at 1:07 AM, Aidan. said:

Rhythm Of Love is one of her best albums why are ranks like this

Filler Of Love is not even her best PWL album.

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