PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

Kylie Minogue: The Best of

The good, the bad and the gold hotpants.


Kylie Minogue

The Best of

Label: EMI
US Release date: 2012-06-19
UK Release date: 2012-06-04
Website
Amazon
iTunes

Few who borne witness to those dark days in the late '80s/early '90s and survived would be so brave, nay foolish, to speak of the atrocities that happened in the name of 'Pop'. Specifically three words that to this day make grown adults shiver in the sunshine and scream out in their slumber. The horror! The horror!...(Locks the door tight) STOCK! (pulls the curtains) AITKEN! (hides under duvet) WATERMAN! (says three Hail Mary's, soils bed). Only haunted war veterans could understand the ungodly barbarities we suffered. "You wouldn't understand man, YOU WEREN'T THERE!" Three nefarious demons with the unhinged, blasphemous belief that "Anyone could be a popstar". When there's no room left in hell, the S/A/W hit factory shall rule the world...and it did for, ooh, about five long, agonising years. It was a "Hit Factory" with a silent "S". Sonia, Big Fun, Sinitta, the Alessi Twins, Pat & Mick, Brother Beyond, Jason Donovan, Steps, Rick Astley and the nadir of despair (weeps)...the Reynolds Girls! But the blue-eyed poster girl for the S/A/W tyranny was the pint-sized Antipodean terminator known as Kylie Minogue. Indestructible. Unstoppable. All-conquering. (Insert maniacal laugh here.)

So how come a quarter century later we know Kylie is "Alright, actually" and maybe even "One of us". How dat? One glimpse in the rearview mirror to the three-headed Führer's Occupation Years (1987-1991) is still enough to have you frantically fumbling for the cyanide capsules. "I Should Be So Lucky" will always sound like the four-minute warning to a global nuclear holocaust, whilst "Never Too Late" still leaves you on your knees crying out "Why Lord? WHY?". Both whither, though, in the shadow of the dead-eyed, mechanical, mass butcherings of "Celebration", "Give Me Just a Little More Time", "Tears On My Pillow" and "The Locomotion". Each once-beloved classic is coldly executed without compassion or mercy. "I know you'll get to like it if you give it a chance now" (jumps from window).

As the decade turned, the S/A/W empire began to collapse into the sea. Revolution and teen spirit filled the air. Comrades storm the palace! Backed into a corner and knowing their days were numbered, S/A/W offered the angry mob a peace offering...a few (golly!) brilliant songs. "Shocked" and "What Do I Have to Do?" were first-class electro pop bangers, yet inexplicably dumped from this collection. Seriously, what kind of depraved deviant includes "Tears On My Pillow" but not "Shocked"? But, oh "Better the Devil You Know" (included, obviously) was the real jewel. A true rave-pop classic; bruised, lush, euphoric, eternal. Laced with biting irony, aching nostalgia and pining loss, it proved the perfect record at the perfect time. "I'll forgive...and forget...if you say you'll never go!" Pull this arrow from thine heart, Cupid! Recast as foxy Bride of Frankenstein, a spark of humanity and defiance lit a fire in Minogue's heart. Well that and hookin' up with perv-pant-clad rock messiah Michael "The Hutch" Hutchence. Kylie flipped the script and choked her captors with her chains, Jabba the Hut-stylee. The evil empire was overthrown and Kylie was free...

Free to roam the "Wilderness Years 1992-2000", of which there is "hits-wise" perhaps understandably scant evidence here. From making chin-strokin' art-pop with Deee-Lite's DJ Towa Tei ("GBI") and covering Prefab Sprout to her commendable indie-cool phase with the Manics (lost classic "Some Kind of Bliss") and Nick Cave (the bloody ballad "Where the Wild Roses Grow"), the kidz on da street were generally nonplussed. The only trace here of those crazy days and lost weekends is the serpentine 'n' Gothic, Doors' sampling "Confide in Me".

So after gettin' her freak firmly on for much of the '90s (and starring, tee hee, in Streetfighter with Jean Claude Van Damme), Miss Minogue dusted off her gold hot pants and decided having proper pop enormo-hits was "Probably a good idea, actually". Well hurrah and pass the Moët for this is where The Best of starts to really earn its keep. The near legendary, disco 2000 comeback single "Spinning Around" stills sounds classy, fragrant and imperial whilst bedroom-eyed, nightclubber "On A Night Like This" is still hot enough to melt large glaciers. Similarly, the inspired, dreamdate pop-rocky coupling with Sir Robbie of Williams on "Kids" is Schmoky and the Bandit cool. A pop-sparring as whipsmart as Nancy 'n' Lee, "You can't just leave me I'm a singer in a band", "Well I like drummers baby, you're not my baaaag".

Back at the toppermost of the poppermost, La Minogue released the "Bloomin'-hell-this-is-pretty-good" Fever album and the ubiquitous "Can't Get You Out of My Head". Hypnotic, subtle, aloof and like much of the album it took its roots from Daft Punk's "All Around the World" and their sister group Stardust's "Music Sounds Better With You". "Head" was a UK number 1 for several lifetimes and perhaps familiarity has dimmed its power slightly, but the rest of the Fever era remains boxfresh. The floorshakin', rollerskatin' jam called "Love at First Sight" is gloriously radiant, sunny Saturday afternoons forever, whilst the sassy tubthumper "In Your Eyes" is still hips, perfume 'n' lipstick invincible.

Truth be told, subsequent years proved a mix of treasures and trash. Like her Madgesty, Kylie's kept her ear to the ground, favouring a vampiric path to immortality and this has brought similarly mixed results. The trying-too-hard electro-buzz of "Slow" is dull and oddly sexless, whilst "Red Blooded Woman" is a clumsy "Genie in a Bottle" knock-off. The more traditional dizzy pop of "Wow" and "In My Arms" proved moderately more successful attempts to tap the Zeitgeist and serve the soup de jour. But if The Best of tells you one thing, it's that only a chump writes off Minogue. Her Scissor Sisters collaboration "I Believe in You" is a beguiling, elusive, Kate Bush-esque highlight and the analogue glow of triumphant 2010 single "All the Lovers" is soulful, joyful, heartfelt and genuinely affecting.

If there were crimes committed against pop many moons ago, there is redemptive evidence on The Best of Kylie Minogue to warrant her a full reprieve 'n' pardon and perhaps even freedom of the city. For those scarred by the deathly hallows of the S/A/W dictatorship, it's certainly long since time to forgive if not forget. Misleading title, dopey sequencing and occasional "Just crap"-ness aside, The Best of still offers much masterclass in perfect pop. One of us! One of us!

6

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.

Books

'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.

Music

1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.

Film

'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.

Music

The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.

Music

Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.

Music

15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.

Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Music

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.

Music

Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.

Music

Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.

Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.