It would be difficult to think of Kylie Minogue without her sexy image. The 45 year-old pint-size Aussie icon has a body many of her much younger contemporaries would kill for and a face so angelic that many simply brand her as ‘ageless.’ On her 12th studio release she reminds us that she hasn’t lost any of her sexiness or skipped a beat, by including not one but three songs with the word ‘sex’ in their titles.
First up, there’s Sexy Love; a bouncy single-worthy nod to her 2008 hit Wow with production reminiscent of much of Daft Punk’s catalog. Dubstep-inspired Sexercize playfully uses puns for sex while describing a workout routine (“Make you beat to the core, tomorrow you’ll be sore…”), and Les Sex, one of the collection’s standout tracks, goes all electro-pop while Kylie flirtatiously throws multiples suggestive come-ons at her subject. It probably won’t be a single but it very well may be the highlight of her upcoming world tour kicking off this fall.
Despite all the sexiness (which Kylie blames on the album’s executive producer Sia) her biggest strengths come from simple love songs. On the beautiful title track (also written by Sia) she reminds us why her career has lasted over twenty six years (and counting) by singing about love and survival (topics she may know a thing or two about given her colorful romantic past and a well-publicized struggle with cancer in 2005) against a mid-tempo beat and a sound that could’ve easily been taken from any of her albums during her early PWL years. On the luscious Feels So Good, a remake of Tom Aspaul’s Indiana, she sings about the joys of romance and being with her significant other accompanied by a producer-of-the-moment MNEK’s sound that’s so catchy and so well executed that it easily lives up to its title.
The album’s best moment, however, comes in the form of I Was Gonna Cancel. The bouncy track written and produced by Pharrell Williams is a pure and inspirational ode to joy. The single-worthy and must-hear track is actually a true story as Kylie was having a horrible day and was uninspired to record in the studio. After a pep talk from the currently hottest producer in the world the two came up with a collaboration made in heaven. A pop anthem not only begging for radio airplay but one that is as cheerful as it is inspiring. Alongside the brilliant opera chant in the background there lies an element of sincerity. As Kylie wiped away the tears and took to the mike you know that she meant every word and are indeed glad that she didn’t ‘cancel’ on Pharrell.
The collection’s lead single Into The Blue, yet another standout, emulates a sincere sadness. Unlucky in love (the love of her life Michael Hutchence committed suicide in 1997 while 2013 saw her end a five-year romance with Spanish model Andres Valencoso) she sings about standing on her own, single and ready to face the future and the world. Maybe she wasn’t made for marriage or kids, but she isn’t going to just sit there and cry about it, either. Yet more inspiration from a woman who has managed to create hits spanning over the course of four decades while becoming a hero to many with little to no controversy or tabloid drama.
The album’s only blunder comes in the form of an ill-fated duet with Enrique Iglesias whose barely-there vocal is covered up by an unflattering use of autotune and a lacking melody. Besides Beautiful, melody is pervasive elsewhere in abundance. Perhaps not as much as on her trademark hits Can’t Get You Out of My Head or Love At First Sight, but nevertheless, most of ‘Once’ has a knack for staying in your head for days. Although highly likely, due to Kylie’s lack of popularity in the US the upcoming summer season will not be remembered for at least one of the album’s pop gems, which is a huge shame. Come on and give it a chance; at least ‘once!’