On the cover of Kylie Minogue”s new album, “Aphrodite,” out today, the dance diva stands, clad in a diaphanous blue gown, her arms outspread like Jesus, looking up beatifically.
That”s right. Minogue is your savior. She is here to save you from all the boring, meaningless dance music out there that doesn”t understand anything but a throbbing beat and that leads only with its loins and feet. As ferocious as the groove may get, Minogue always leads with her heart here. Have a listen.
On “Aphrodite,” her first studio album since 2007″s “X,” she creates a collection whose 12 tracks all fit safely within the parameters of dance, but uses every square inch within those confines. It”s a limited tool box, to be sure, but darn if Minogue doesn”t use every instrument in it.
Aphrodite, of course, is the goddess of love and, to an extent, Minogue is working a theme here, whether it”s asking for a kiss in “Cupid Boy” or seeking love in the irresistible “Looking for An Angel” (we would have moved that one way up instead of sticking it in the dead-end No. 11 slot).
The title track has a fun, ’80s vibe and when she sings “I am the original,” you want to scream, “You got that right, sister.” There”s a warmth to Minogue that many other artists plying in dance music don”t have. Here, she feels like our friend who”s back to lead us by the hand to the dance floor and shepherd us through the maze of beats, whether it”s the techno-dreaminess of “Closer” or the pop, piano-based “Beautiful.” First single, the driving “All the Lovers,” remains one of the strongest cuts, but is far from the only gem on the album.
Much to her credit, Minogue isn”t chasing trends here-there”s nothing remotely Lady GaGa or Ke$ha-like on the album (although there are a few vocoder moments on some tracks that are redolent of current-day Britney) and we love that at 42, she is completely-and understandably so-comfortable in her own skin.
At the same time, there”s also nothing particularly innovative or forward thinking here. Working with Stuart Price, best known for his work with Madonna, Minogue has crafted a stellar dance pop record that doesn”t push the boundaries too much (as some felt “X” did) and feels like a warm disco blanket to wrap yourself up in. The songs are all lighthearted, but, working with such writers as Scissor Sisters” Jake Shears and Keane”s Tim Rice-Oxley, Minogue has selected tunes that fit her to a tee and none of them sounds disposable.
There”s a reason she has been a superstar for close to 20 years outside of the U.S. The only question is why has the Australian never made it big on our shores. As strong as “Aphrodite” is, it is unlikely to change that.