BONUS POST : MORE KYLIE

There was a very intriguing final comment after the epic Kylie ICA that was so lovingly crafted by Swiss Adam:-

Tom W says:
August 13, 2020 at 9:37 am

I largely approve of your Kylie compilation, but I assume you didn’t include the monolith of beauty that is Where Is The Feeling (Brothers In Rhythm Soundtrack mix) because, like so many, you’ve not heard it. Honestly, you should remedy that ASAP. Thought it was just me who loved it for years, then discovered it had a sizeable cult following, then by chance heard Kylie herself talking about how much she loved it on the radio this year. It’s not on streaming, I could send you the mp3 but I’m not in the UK at the moment. Confident no-one will regret checking it out. It’s a journey.

I then received this e-mail from Khayem:-

I just read Tom W’s comment re: the Kylie/Brothers In Rhythm remix and I’d heartily concur! I am in the UK and I do have an MP3 but wasn’t sure if it’s okay to post links directly in the comments, so I thought I’d send it via TVV email instead.

And with that, here’s a bonus song for a Friday afternoon

mp3: Kylie Minogue – Where Is The Feeling (Brothers In Rhythm Soundtrack mix)

Where Is the Feeling? was released as a single in July 1995. Technically, it was the third single to be lifted from the eponymous album that had been released the previous year but the 45 involved a very substantial remix making it almost unrecognisable from the album version.

It’s worth mentioning that Where Is The Feeling was a cover of a song that had been a 1993 club hit for an act called Within a Dream in 1993. By the time it came to release a third single from the album, Kylie was moving to a position where she wanted to contribute more on the writing side and as part of that journey she wrote some additional lyrics for the remix.

Brothers in Rhythm, who at the time comprised Dave Seaman and Steve Anderson, had produced much of the album but they really went to town with the opportunity to do something with the single release, creating three mixes of which the version suggested by Tom W and kindly supplied by Khayem, is the longest at thirteen plus minutes.  There’s a really substantial build-up to the track with Kylie’s vocal contribution not appearing until four minutes in…and even then you’d be hard pushed to initially recognise her.  It then visits all sorts of places, displaying a wide range of pop/electronic/dance sounds. It’s one that demands and deserves to be played loud.  It’ll make (some of) you happy…….

JC

 

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #259 : KYLIE MINOGUE

A GUEST POSTING by SWISS ADAM

(JC says….be still, my beating heart)

I’ve submitted several ICAs to The Vinyl Villain before: a 20 track double album attempting to summarise the career and spirit of Andrew Weatherall; the adventures of Mick Jones post- Clash in Big Audio Dynamite; the SST years of US punks Husker Du; a short in length but long in love appreciation of San Pedro’s Minutemen; a follow up to Echorich’s A Certain Ratio ICA, ten more songs from Manchester’s most underrated post- punk/ punk- funk pioneers; a 10 song compilation fleshing out Iggy Pop’s solo career.

Since the Iggy one I’ve started but not finished several ICAs including a sketchy outline of a Spacemen 3 ICA, a Primal Scream one (which essentially turned into another Weatherall one), thought about writing a Durutti Column one to follow the first one from years ago, sketched out an ICA for Factory Records (one without New Order or Joy Division) and had some vague ideas about a Creation Records one. I part wrote an Aphex Twin one but struggled to commit. I haven’t managed to get any of these finished for one reason or another. Flicking through the TV channels the other night and I happened upon a Top Of The Pops special and suddenly it became clear who my next ICA should be about…

The Locomotion

In 1987 Kylie and the cast of Neighbours performed the Little Eva song at half time at an Aussie rules football game. This led the young Kylie to a recording contract with Mushroom Records and a cover of the song being released the same year in Australia. In the UK, PWL picked it up, re-recorded it and sent it to the top of the charts. Well, very near the top, it stalled at number 2 where it sat for four weeks.

I’m sure you, like me, were not a fan of PWL in 1987- 88. PWL were the antithesis of what we listened to, conveyor belt pop designed to part teenagers and their pocket money. Even more annoyingly they were an independent label so their singles would top the indie charts with ease, beating our indie heroes in the only chart they could be winning in. We, of course, were listening to The Wedding Present, The Primitives, The Smiths final lp, The Mary Chain’s Darklands, Public Enemy’s debut, Sonic Youth, Pet Shop Boys maybe if you nodded towards chart music, S’Express maybe or Bomb The Bass if you were into the new sounds, The Housemartins, R.E.M.’s Document, That Petrol Emotion, Billy Bragg’s great leap forward, anything but not PWL.

But to deny the brilliance of Kylie’s version of The Locomotion is to deny Kylie. Totally disposable, utterly efficient, cheap pop music. Which is exactly what pop music should be, you might argue. Kylie’s Top of The Pops performance to promote the single is peak early Kylie, her in a red body con dress skipping about the stage like it’s the only thing in the world, and four male backing dancers with the biggest grins and none-more-1988 stage clothes, 501s, Doc shoes and white t-shirts.

Better The Devil You Know

Some of Kylie’s PWL singles were throwaway, functional, and forgettable. Many in fact. The ones they gave to their lesser artists were even worse. But occasionally, with Kylie, they could hit the mark. Better The Devil You Know is a 70s disco throwback and catchy AF. Her cover of Chairman of the Board’s Give Me Just A Little More Time is similarly good.

JC adds (with apologies for interrupting the flow of the ICA)

Nick Cave is a huge fan of Better The Devil You Know.  In 1998, he delivered a lecture entitled ‘The Secret Life of The Love Song’ at the Vienna Poetry Festival in which he waxed very eloquently about the lyrics

Say you won’t leave me no more
I’ll take you back again
No more excuses, no, no
‘Cause I’ve heard them all before
A hundred times or more
I’ll forgive and forget
If you say you’ll never go
‘Cause it’s true what they say
Better the devil you know

Our love wasn’t perfect
I know, I think I know the score
You say you love me, O boy
I can’t ask for more
I’ll come if you should call
I’ll be here every day
Waiting for your love to show
‘Cause it’s true what they say
It’s better the devil you know
I’ll take you back
I’ll take you back again

“When Kylie sings these words, there is an innocence to her voice that makes the horror of the chilling lyric all the more compelling. The idea presented within this song, dark and sinister and sad, that love relationships are by nature abusive, and that this abuse, be it physical or psychological, is welcomed and encouraged, shows how even the most seemingly harmless of love songs has the potential to hide terrible human truths.

Like Prometheus chained to his rock, the eagle eating his liver night after night, Kylie becomes Love’s sacrificial lamb, bleating an earnest invitation to the drooling, ravenous wolf to devour her time and time again, all to a groovy techno beat. “I’ll take you back, I’ll take you back again.” Indeed, here the love song becomes a vehicle for a harrowing portrait of humanity, not dissimilar to the Old Testament psalms. Both are messages to God that cry out into the yawning void, in anguish and self-loathing, for deliverance.”

Quite……I’ll hand back now to Adam.  JC

Confide In Me

In 1994 Kylie signed to DeConstruction, Mike Pickering’s label that had massive hits with K-Klass and Bassheads but wanted someone who was a name signing.  Kylie wanted some credibility and to work with different songwriters. The result was this, a superb adult pop song, Kylie with Brothers In Rhythm on production, some trip-hop drums, Middle Eastern melodies, a didgeridoo and a string section. The strings are seriously giving the song gravitas and sexiness, there’s a moody undertow and she sings of being hurt, of bearing crosses and sharing secrets. The breakdown part where she whispers ‘stick or twist/ the choice is yours’ is Kylie grown up, the PWL years consigned to the past.

The video, dayglo and comic strip-like, gives us 6 Kylies, one in camouflage, one in black PVC, one in a babydoll dress and so on. Pills flash on the screen and messages to ‘call now for salvation’. It’s knowing and clever and very mid- 90s and gave her the new nickname SexKylie. Confide In Me is her best song, a genuine mid- 90s peak.

Breathe

Kylie’s 1997 album, titled Impossible Princess then untitled in the wake of the death of Diana and renamed ‘97, was another wide-ranging, more adult album, taking in trip-hop, indie and house. The Manic Street Preachers were on co-writing duties on two songs and Dave Ball from Soft Cell and the Grid on Breathe. Electronic pop, floating on a groove, experimental and open and Kylie singing about meditation, stopping and letting go. The album sank a little bit and she moved on but this song is, like Confide In Me, a genuine highlight of the time.

All The Lovers

All The Lovers was a comeback in 2010, produced by Stuart Price who was the in-vogue producer a decade ago. Euphoric mid-tempo pop with synthesisers buzzing and wobbling and Kylie declaring and swooning in a killer chorus ‘all the lovers/ that have gone before/ they don’t compare to you’.

By this point Kylie was achieving that elder stateswoman status the media confer on someone who has been around for a few decades. She was older, wiser, several public breakups down the line (not least her very public time with Michael Hutchence). She was also post-treatment for cancer which inevitably put her career on the ropes for a while. Thankfully she recovered fully and her postponed Glastonbury performance in 2019 showed the warmth of feeling people have for her.

Incidentally, not so long ago I watched a documentary about Michael Hutchence, which is well worth catching even if you think you’ve got little interest in INXS, Hutchence, or Kylie. In the middle, it dealt with his relationship with Kylie and had some amazing home video footage of the pair of them on holiday and on a sleeper train, clearly a period of their lives that affected both of them deeply.

Slow

Slow is hot, full-on Mediterranean, being in the sun all day hot, the sort of heat where you have a shower at teatime, get dressed, step outside and start sweating again. Hot hot heat.

Co-written by Emeliana Torrini, it is three and a half minutes of that kind of hot, synth bass, pattering drums and Kylie’s voice, decorated with a minimalist synth topline, pure electro- pop. ‘Slow down and dance with me’ she purrs. A perfect slice of how pop music sounded in 2003.

The Chemical Brothers remix is a blast, an intense bleep- ridden ride which takes off in the second half, all breakdowns and lift offs and eyes closed tight under the strobe light.

In Your Eyes

Dance-pop from 2002, slightly moody, more jerky robotic dancing and a dash of Europop with a heart-stopping sweep into the chorus and the song’s title.

Love At First Sight

All build up and release, dance-pop that shows the influence of French house and disco. Daft Punk without the helmets. Another eye- catching video, supposedly shot in one take and with a slightly disorientating effect and geometric shapes spinning around.

Where The Wild Roses Grow

In 1995 Kylie duetted with Nick Cave on this murder ballad, a grim tale sweetly sung by Kylie and with Nick well out of tune at least twice, where Nick smashes Elisa Day’s head in with a rock in the third verse and then puts a rose between her teeth. Kylie makes the step up to serious rock singing with ease. Nick wrote it with her in mind and sent it to her parent’s house, a cassette with Blixa Bargeld singing her lines (that version was eventually released on a Bad Seeds B- sides compilation). In a year of Britpop, parochial flag-waving and media storms about the race for the number 1 slot between two distinctly average guitar pop singles, Where The Wild Roses Grow stands out as both pop and art. It remains The Bad Seeds most successful single worldwide.

Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

The perfect start of the 21st-century pop song – a sleek, modern, hook laden monster, peak synthesis of music and video. Kylie in a science fiction sports car zooming around the city of the future. Kylie in a hooded robe, almost revealing everything, striking poses and doing the dance. Red shirt and black tie clad male dancers in red visors, so 2020, marching in a Kraftwerkian homage. Slow-motion Kylie on the roof of a skyscraper in a post-modern city, hips swinging from high to low in a panelled metallic mini- dress, surrounded by light bulbs flashing and dancers now dressed in black. And beneath the sheer surface and the obsession of the chorus there’s something darker, ‘a dark secret within me’, which gives the song an edge. You know this song inside out and it’s one of those rare occasions where familiarity doesn’t breed contempt.

At the Brit Awards she mashed it up with Blue Monday, New Order’s stuttering drum machine announcing Kylie’s entry on to the stage, a nod and a wink to one of the previous century’s sleekest, most hook-laden monsters.

In his book Words And Music Paul Morley sees all of pop music’s forward progression since 1955 leading towards this song and Kylie in her yellow sports car to ‘the city of sound and ideas’ and while I usually find Paul Morley pretty irritating, he’s got a point.  Can’t Get You Out Of My Head is the sound of pop music in the 21st century, a lighter than air bouncing robot bassline, some la la las, Kraftwerk and New Order’s synths and an Australian pop star merged together playing on a screen somewhere near you right now.

Bonus Tracks

4 songs to make up an indie-friendly bonus disc, just in case the above (Nick Cave excepted) is too pop for the purists.

Slow (Chemical Brothers remix)
Go Home Productions: Begging Kylie (Kylie v The Stone Roses)
Nothing Can Stop Us Now (St Etienne cover)
Can’t Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head (Kylie v New Order)

ADAM

JC adds an additional bonus

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Where The Wild Roses Grow (Blixa co-vocal)

 

ALL OUR YESTERDAYS (4/22)

Album : Ultimate Kylie by Kylie Minogue
Review : Pop Matters, 21 March 2005
Author : Hunter Felt

In the glorious dawning days of Napster, one of the first songs I ever illegally downloaded was “I Should Be So Lucky” by Kylie Minogue. Mind you, this was before “Can’t Get You out of My Head” summoned both the teenyboppers and the hipsters to the dance floor, this was the period when Kylie Minogue was a one-hit wonder, a disposable soap opera actress turned dance-pop monger. “I Should Be So Lucky”, an almost frightfully perky tale of Romantic frustration, contains practically every ’80s dance music cliché: from the numerous orchestra hits to the uncomfortably thin sounding drum machine. Despite these egregious sins, courtesy of in-retrospect-regrettable-hits making machine Stock, Aitken, & Waterman, something about Kylie’s innocent yet forceful vocals and the sheer catchiness of the song itself rose above its long dated components, and I was hooked. So the song became a beloved secret, and I never bothered to try to tune my friends in on “I Should Be So Lucky”, or, crazier yet, proclaim that this “has-been” would be a critical and commercial darling in a few years time.

Ultimate Kylie is a two-disc summary evenly split between two distinct periods in Kylie’s career. The first part features Kylie Minogue acting as Stock, Aitken, & Waterman’s puppet, and features her struggling in finding great pop songs buried in dated production techniques, and shining despite being paired up with unsuitable cover material (“Tears on My Pillow”) or justifiably forgotten performers (such as her former Neighbours co-star Jason Donovan on “Especially for You”). The second disc encapsulates her true solo career, showing her flirt with practically every style of dance music of the last two decades without ever sounding out of place. Kylie, who has reached one-name only status in Europe, is not a great singer, she wouldn’t even give Madonna a run for the money, but she has a trait that allows her to adapt to any possible musical shift that is remarkable for any performer, let alone one for a soap opera actress who never expected to be in the music industry.

The first disc, although clearly the lesser half of the album artistically, is, never-the-less, a fascinating collection that shows Kylie rising above the ghetto of ’80s dance-pop idols. Whereas artists such as David Bowie and Madonna are known for shifting their musical personality to reflect their changing personalities or changing musical landscapes, Kylie never even evolved a musical personality. She is something of a cipher, a Zelig figure who services her musical surroundings rather than having the music support her persona. This is what makes the first disc of The Ultimate Kylie surprisingly great. They are something of a punchline now, heck they were even at the time, but Stock, Aitken, & Waterman could write a decent song every now again to go along with their massive hooks, and, from the sound of it, they gave Kylie some of their best material knowing that she would devote all of her energy towards the songs themselves. There are pure pop moments, such as “I Should Be So Lucky” and the gorgeous “Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi”, almost soulful rave-ups such as “Better the Devil You Know”, and even a little funk on tracks like “Shocked”. I suppose many would scoff at the decidedly dated material, but the first disc is a collection of just about everything that was good about ’80s dance-pop with only hints about what makes that genre unbearable today. Even “The Loco-Motion” is not as bad as people imagine.

Plus, the first disc hints at the “Kylie unleashed” that dominates the second disc. Opening with a new track, the retro-futuristic “I Believe in You”, co-written with Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters (she is a gay icon, don’t you know), the second disc explores the nuances of modern dance music. “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” and “Love at First Sight” are two of the best songs of the last five years, they both provide a perfect synthesis of Kylie’s pop princess appeal and her admirable exploration of experimental electronic music. The bare-bones rhythms of “Can’t Get You out of My Head” may be dulled through overexposure, but it still manages to hypnotize as Kylie’s vocals evolve from fembot coldness to ethereal beauty. “Love at First Sight” might even be better, a poppier, and even stranger song. Kylie had the audacity to basically rewrite Daft Punk’s immortal “Digital Love” and somehow may have even made it even more perfect than it already was. These songs are super-dense sound collages full of tiny strange little details that reward headphone listening (check out the subliminal bongos on the chorus to “Love at First Sight”) while encouraging, perhaps demanding, dancing.

Although nothing else on the album reaches the heights of these two songs, maybe nothing could, the music remains complex and fascinating throughout. Perhaps fed-up with the relatively formulaic Stock, Aitken, & Waterman sound, her later material finds her exploring any genre or style that she found interesting, mixing styles with reckless abandon. The second disc pays no heed to chronological order, but this would not help the material which would be scattershot and baffling regardless. Kylie does not evolve, really, she just seems to skip from style to style following her own whims. One of the more recent songs, “Slow”, is a tempo-changing, brain-warping example of what happens when Intelligent Dance Music meets actual Dance Music. It of course is followed by “On a Night Like This”, a track that is meant to go right to number one on the Billboard Club Tracks list and while being completely ignored by the general public.

This is both Kylie’s blessing and curse: She can be anything, which sort of makes her nothing. Luckily, whenever the songs are right, Kylie hits the right notes to make standard dance-floor jams into entrancing pop songs. It doesn’t matter if she dueting with vapid pop mannequins (the collection-nadir “Kids” with Robbie Williams) or with one of the more morbid singer-songwriters alive (the out-of-place, but still chilling, “Where the Wild Roses Grow” with Nick Cave), Kylie will stand out. In doesn’t matter if Kylie is trying to be Bjork (“Confide in Me”), or a singer-songwriter with trip-hop beats (“Put Yourself in My Place”), Kylie will come off as believable. Nearly all of the tracks work, which results in a surprisingly varied collection of great dance music.

It hardly matters that Kylie Minogue is not a great performer or that her music is close to faceless. What matters is that she has had enough great dance songs over her long career to make all but Madonna envious. Ultimate Kylie, which seems condensed even at its double-disc length, is one of the best collections of dance music available, even while including her ’80s pop hits. It is enough to get her MP3s permanently out of my “guilty pleasures” bin.

mp3 : Kylie Minogue – Hand On Your Heart
mp3 : Kylie Minogue – Better The Devil You Know
mp3 : Kylie Minogue – Love At First Sight
mp3 : Kylie Minogue – Confide In Me

JC adds :  Embrace the frivolous.  Ultimate Kylie is top stuff (mostly!).  Merry Xmas Everybody.

SPECIAL K

R-995021-1181997458

Kylie Minogue is back on British telly as a one of the judges on the ludicrous talent show The Voice. In all likelihood, this will lead to a resurgence in her own recording career after a spell in the wilderness. I hope she doesn’t spoil her legacy with some half-arsed music by numbers…

I bet there’s some of you reading this thinking that I’m not being serious. But as my dear friend Jacques the Kipper will testify, I have long been an advocate of the talent of probably the most famous Australian on the planet.  So much so, that back in the early 1990s when a music magazine (I think it may well have been the long-defunct Select) printed a photo of Kylie cavorting on a bed with Bobby Gillespie, JtK got a t-shirt made with my head superimposed on the body on Mr G, with the words ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ printed underneath…..

And I know that I’m not the only long-time indie-disco freak who hasn’t fallen for her charms over the years. If nothing else, nobody can deny that this is a stunning pop record that is a very close cousin to so many of the great electronica records of the 80s:-

mp3 : Kylie Minogue – I Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

Of course there’s been a lot of stuff she has recorded and released that has been unlistenable. But overall, the magnificent easily outnumber the mundane, while there have been more sublime 45s than shite 45s. Oh and let’s not forget that she was also single-handedly responsible for getting Nick Cave onto Top Of The Pops for the one and only time:-

mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (feat Kylie Minogue) – Where The Wild Roses Grow

And among all the great acts that I’ve seen live over the years, I’ve rarely been so well entertained as when Mrs V took me along as a surprise to catch Kylie perform in March 2005 at the SECC in Glasgow.

A few years back, I had the pleasure of finding a 12″ promo copy of some dance mixes disc of one of my favourite Kylie singles for just £1, so I’m sticking to my principles by offering these rips from vinyl:-

mp3 : Kylie Minogue – Confide In Me (Master Mix)
mp3 : Kylie Minogue – Confide In Me (The Truth Mix)
mp3 : Kylie Minogue – Confide In Me (Big Brothers Mix)

Enjoy!!!!