Last year’s utterly joyous Glastonbury set underlined her international treasure status, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy these days to make a satisfying Kylie album. Recruiting Pharrell Williams and Haim producer Ariel Rechtshaid to update her glossy dance-pop sound resulted in 2014’s ‘Kiss Me Once’: an often enjoyable but somewhat disjointed affair. But if you try something different, much like 2018’s country-flavoured ‘Golden’, you risk the complaint that “it just doesn’t sound like Kylie.”
The pop stalwart’s 15th studio album avoids both traps by embracing what Minogue has called “grown-up disco”: a terrific fit for this seasoned showgirl who’s been bringing out bops and bangers since the late ‘80s. ‘Dance Floor Darling’ has a delirious spoken word bit that recalls Minogue’s high-camp romp ‘Your Disco Needs You’, but elsewhere this album succeeds because it feels like Kylie doing disco in her own cute way: measured, affectionate and sincere, not an exercise in tongue-in-cheek pastiche.
Crucially, there’s enough variety here to keep things interesting. Echoes of Daft Punk’s modern disco classic ‘Random Access Memories’ illuminate ‘Miss A Thing’ and ‘Where Does The DJ Go?’. Current single ‘Magic’ is an exuberant, horn-fuelled romp that deserves to soundtrack a post-Covid roller disco, while the funky strut of ‘Real Groove’ wouldn’t sound out of place on Dua Lipa’s recent ‘Future Nostalgia’ album. The lyrics are generally as introspective as a pair of hotpants – gold, naturally – but definitely capture the giddy thrill of dancefloor abandon. “Nights are for having fun, summer’s for loving,” she sings on ‘Last Chance’. “Sometimes we fall in love, all of a sudden.” It’s a perfect Kylie couplet.
‘Disco’ has no disasters, only charming minor indiscretions. ‘Last Chance’ is perhaps a little too melodically similar to Abba’s ‘Voulez Vous’, while the living-for-the-weekend rush of ‘Monday Blues’ could feel cheesy if you haven’t downed a sambuca or two first. More often, Minogue and co-writers including longtime collaborator Richard “Biff” Stannard and Little Mix regular Maegan Cottone execute the “grown-up disco” concept with stylish self-assurance. When she sings “Can we all be as one again?” on ‘Say Something’ – a cosmic slow-burn with Bowie-esque guitar licks – it’s an elegant nod to pandemic ennui.
And on ‘Where Does The DJ Go?’, Minogue even wonders: “Where does the DJ go when the party’s over tonight?” No other pop star would be quite so considerate. The result is a consistently uplifting set that feels like Minogue’s best album since 2010’s ‘Aphrodite’. Her sister Dannii is rumoured to have claimed that “Minogues don’t sweat”. In that case, let’s say that ‘Disco’ shimmers with a warm glittery glow that’s just irresistible.
- Release date: November 6
- Record label: BMG