Can Kylie’s career be resurrected? All the hopes (not least EMI’s) pinned on last album ‘X’ seem to have faded away like her glitter. It was a depressingly 2-D affair, a record seemingly designed by committee with few surprises or great pop moments – lacking the oomph or gravitas you’d expect of someone who’d fought a serious illness in the glare of the spotlight. You still want to get off your face on the dancefloor, Kyles – really? She gave us punters exactly what she thought we wanted, and guess what? It wasn’t enough.
Still, as we know, Minogue is skilled in the Bowie school of bracing reinvention. The first track on this remix album pinpoints just such a moment. ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ topped the charts of both sides of the Atlantic. ‘Can’t Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head’ saw her perform a New Order-referencing version of the return-from-the-wilderness hit at the Brits. At the time, it seemed ever so edgy, a little bit risky and hinted at the hidden depths we’d always believed the pop princess had.
And therein lies the supposed point of ‘Boombox’. Collecting remixes from the start of the century, it’s intended to show what a great practitioner of the electronic anthem she can be. Witness Fischerspooner’s icy mix of ‘Come Into My World’; Chemical Brothers’ wibbly take on ‘Slow’ or Whitey’s beautifully messy take on ‘Red Blooded Woman’. But we knew that already, right? This stopgap album tells us nothing new, but does perhaps goes some way towards a much-needed shake-up in Kylieworld.
In a recent interview she claimed that if she’d done a whole album of personal songs “it’d be seen as ‘Impossible Princess 2’”. ‘Impossible Princess’ (released at the time in the UK as ‘Kylie Minogue’ following the death of Diana) saw the emergence of the Nick Cave-befriending, Manic Street Preachers-collaborating, so-called ‘indie Kylie’; its peeks behind her closely guarded curtain are considered by fans to be her best work. Perhaps she was right when she added “…and it would be equally critiqued,” but at least those criticisms might have come from a place of wonderful bafflement and not, as they do here, from creative stalemate.
We await her next move with anticipation and just a teeny bit of trepidation. Let’s hope she can truly surprise us again.