"What's the point of living if you don't wanna dance?"
“It’s the truth, it’s a fact / I was gone and now I’m back,” sings Kylie Minogue on the title track of her latest release, Aphrodite. The hook asks, “Can you feel me on your stereo?” Yes. Yes we can, Kylie, and damn, it feels good.
Aphrodite is filled with the frilly, fabulous dance-floor refrains for which Kylie is famous. More like Light Years or Fever than anything else she’s done this decade, the album is heavy on the club beats and hummable hooks. Produced by Stuart Price (Madonna’s Confessions on a Dancefloor, Scissor Sisters’ Night Work), these tracks are all about making you move, and they don’t bother with much of anything else. They don’t need to.
Opening track and lead single “All the Lovers” starts with a statement that sets not only the tone, but covers most of the tracks’ topics, too: “Dance / It’s all I wanna do.” The song is a bit reminiscent of Erasure with its gauzy, heartbeat rhythm and swirling, ‘80s-era synth lines, and it will worm its way into your brain and work its way down to your butt, making it shake, before the second chorus is complete.
If you aren’t already up, “Get Outta My Way” is for you. Its pulsing pull is irresistible even as Kylie tells her guy exactly what’s going to happen if he just sits there.
Leave you move on
To a perfect stranger
You talk I walk
Wanna feel the danger
See me with him and its turning you on it’s got me saying
Ain’t getting me back at the end of this song
Trust me, no one will be sitting down for long. “Put Your Hands Up (Feel the Love)” is the album’s clearest club anthem, among many. It’s straight speaker-thumping, heart-pumping aural adrenaline. “Closer” continues the club vibe, but takes it from the inclusive crowd experience to an individual couples’ encounter, with spacey synthesizers and sensual sing along lyrics. “Everything Is Beautiful”, written by Keane’s Tim Rice-Oxley is the album’s only truly softer offering. Though it’s a lovely song in its own right, it’s really here to give you a chance to catch your breath before dashing back onto the floor for more in the form of the aforementioned title track.
The remainder of the album follows the formula of memorable melodies and catchy choruses set to driving disco beats. This is the kind of thing that Kylie Minogue does better than all the rest. On every song, she’s her usual sparkly, sexy self and her voice is at its breathy best. When she asks, “What’s the point of living if you don’t wanna dance?” in the sugary bounce of “Better Than Today”, you’ll find yourself wondering why this question doesn’t occur to everyone as you bob your head in time and agreement.
“Too Much”, a raver written by Scissor Sister Jake Shears and DJ Calvin Harris, could be the track to beat for overall addictiveness with the ever-escalating energy of its rhythms. Another instant fixation, “Cupid Boy”, is built around a retro, throbbing bass line and sweet, New Order-style synth melodies. “Looking for an Angel” returns to the Erasure-esque elements of “All the Lovers”, before “Can’t Beat the Feeling” pumps up the pulse again for one final push into electro-pop bliss.
Sometimes dance pop with this much gloss and unabashed glee is relegated to the realms of guilty pleasure, but Aphrodite is that rare representation of perfect production that is just pleasure, pure and simple. No guilt necessary. Well, there is a little gilt, of the glittery sort of course. Kylie is the golden girl, after all. She’s fierce and feeling mighty, alright?
// Notes from the Road
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