First Impressions: Aphrodite Rising; Kylie Minogue Makes An Album Strictly For Her Fans

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

To me, Kylie Minogue always seems to make an album that is like a hand-written thank you note to her fans. As cheese ball as that reads, it's true. She seems more sincere in her delivery than her pop peers and she tends to not over indulge in her own endeavors or follow some trends to stay relevant. Thus, every time you listen to an album of hers you feel that sense of being thought of as a listener, not abused. 

Kylie probably never had a bully in life, and that's how she seems on every one of her records, just as sweet as pie, positive, with a dash of a minx attitude and sultriness...and it's all her, nothing fake about it. That kind of attitude rubs off on you, which is why Aphrodite, the Aussie pop queen's 12th installment, does what it's supposed to do, it warmly invites you to be happy and enjoy the environment of what quality pop music is, and there is nothing wrong with that. This whole album is like drinking warm milk with a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie (the ones with the gooey center, no doubt) it just settles you down into comfort, no matter how much the synths pulsate or the percussion claps along and it is satisfying.

With the help of producers Stuart Price, Calvin Harris and some Scissor Sisters, Minogue crafts an album that is in need of consumption, as everybody surely needs a daily dose of a pop vitamin. A track-by-track diagnostic of all the delicacies (and middle eight ecstasies) you'll hear on Kylie's newest recapped after the cut.

All The Lovers: We've cover the undeniable bubble of pleasure this song is. It's like a warm bubble bath, it just feels right. Though this is still not the strongest Kylie track, it lushly invites you in.

Get Out Of My Way: Currently, this song is everyone's favorite, for good reason as it's a long lost track from Fever. It's got the perfect structure and is just effortless. The verses actually sound better than the chorus itself, which is odd, but still a satisfying chomp of a pop track. Single material. 

Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love): There is something 90's going on here. In some sense this song is  little remedial for Kylie, as the concept of "hand up in the air" seems a bit...well, lame, but the music is actually fantastic and saves the generic lyrics. In fact it has the best middle eight section of any of the songs on here, that keyboard bit just drives me wild.

Closer: Harpsichord synths shower down in all of its Elizabethan pop candy gloss. Not a favorite, but hypnotic nonetheless.

Everything Is Beautiful: Tim Rice-Oxley (from Keane) gives Kylie a rather engaging and well vocalized number, along the lines of what he gave to Gwen Stefani on 2006's "Early Winter" (easily one of my favorites off of The Sweet Escape). This would be the perfect single to be released in the US, considering how this isn't overpowered, yet has a pop sensibility that fits. In fact, I'm interested in how this album will fare in the US, and if it as up to me, this song would be the first release considering how well constructed it is.  

Aphrodite: Can you feel me in stereo? Yes, Kylie we can. Easily is the best song on the album for me with it's marching band clop of percussion (which sounds straight off of the intro from "Heartbeat Rock" on the X Tour) into a pulsating synth paradise that just keeps building as it elapses, especially into the glorious 80's coasting of the bridge. Lush. In some aspects, this song should've kick started the album due to it's power punch that could no doubt set the tone for the album. It has single material smeared all over it.

Illusion: An intricate number that dips and dives into varying tempos and instrumental backdrops. Once again that 90's dance quality kind of seeps in, and it's another breezy number.

Better Than Today: After a spell, I realized that this song sounds very Betty Boo. Like very straight off of Grr! It's Betty Boo from 1992. It's got a swirl of country fried flair that gets channeled in a pop tube. It's actually the one song on this that seems varied in its arrangement and sound breaking up the crystal cascade of whimsy. Easily another favorite of mines.

Too Much: Calvin Harris teases us into this, and then some very 90's synths pound on in and the bullet is let out of the metal jacket, and it rips through when a wall of synths that just pelts down on your ears. It is almost "too much" to where Kylie is drowned out in the fervor, but still this is a pretty massive song and would be fantastic to taste in the clubs.

Cupid Boy: Not too fond of this song. It just feels a little too easy and by-the-books for Kylie Minogue. 

Looking For An Angel: Currently this is the "No More Rain" of the record, it's sweet enough, but sort of doesn't do much but sit in all of it's saccharine sweet pot of goo. The strings are exciting enough, but from my end it just feels a little stale. 

Can't Beat The Feeling: The gurgling synths in the beginning are vastly intriguing as they build into a chugging romp that get down-right funky. Very much a long lost cousin of "Love At First Sight"...not that that's a bad thing.

Final Thought:  After marinating in the vat of all the shimmer, glitz and cloud like fullness of Aphrodite, there is no doubt that it's solid, with sweeping middle eights out the wazoo and Kylie's exuberant coo as comforting as ever. In short, it's music satisfaction. As an over 40 diva, it is pretty safe to say that during this surge of copycats and wannabes in the pop brigade, Minogue has not taken to the "Benjamin Button" effect where she is clamoring to make an album sound like a dip in the fountain of youth just for radio kicks and to nurture an identity crisis with her image. Comparisons to Madonna's Confessions On A Dance Floor (possibly due to Price's involvement) run rampant, but I truly think that is a blind and generic assumption. At best, this is a much more whimsical, romanticized basis that is a smoother affair than Kylie's 2008's digital getdown of X, and differs vastly from the dark seedy disco of Confessions. It's purely a Kylie Minogue album through and though and with each listen it gets better. Is it better than Fever? No. It meets somewhere in the middle where Fever and 2000's Lights Years collide. Is it one of the best pop album you'll hear all year? Definitely.

Rating: 9.0/10
Release Date: July 6, 2010

1 comment:

  1. Love "All The Lovers" even if Kylie sounds like a chipmunk most of the album!


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