Kylie Minogue’s new album, “Kiss Me Once,” is being called a comeback, which isn’t technically true — her last few releases have been solid hits. But Minogue is a 45-year-old pop diva, making her practically a senior citizen in club years, so she’s got to fight her way back every time.
While Minogue must remain eternally youthful, Minogue tried seriousness once, but it didn’t take; it’s not her fault we only want a few things from her, most of which she delivers on this gossamer-winged new album.
The tinny Europop of its predecessor, 2010’s “Aphrodite,” suggested Minogue worried about Lady Gaga, who was then coming up hard in her rearview mirror. “Kiss Me Once” owes an equal debt to Daft Punk, but otherwise follows the formula Minogue and countless other pop divas of any age have been following for years: Enlist of-the-moment songwriters and crossover DJs/producers to apply a fresh coat of lacquer to your malleable, bedrock sound — in Minogue’s case that means shimmery, content-free disco pop with a retro feel.
The funky “I Was Gonna Cancel” was written and produced by Pharrell Williams; it’s a factory-issue jam, but it’s the best thing here. The lyrics (“My best friend is the mirror /Look behind me and I see all the things I’ve been through / . . . Go go go go girl”) are almost a parody of what Pharrell thinks women think, but at least he’s trying. And if, after three decades of cheerily impersonal pop, no one has the slightest inkling what Minogue really thinks about, dreams about or wants, it’s nobody’s fault but hers.
Sia Furler was presumably brought on board because of her ability to articulate on these topics, but her journey from intelligent singer-songwriter to lowest-common-denominator-enabler of pop princesses (she wrote Britney Spears’s recent, not-creepy-just-sad non-hit “Perfume”) has become increasingly depressing to witness. Furler wrote the bouncy, unrelenting “Sexercize,” which is as bad as its title suggests, maybe even worse. “Sexercize” doesn’t make a case for itself as either an activity or a song. (“Stretch it out, baby . . . I want to see you beat all your best times,” Minogue encourages.)
But the studied blitheness of “Kiss Me Once,” on which Minogue labors so hard to appear ageless (women aren’t allowed to seem prematurely old) and hews so carefully to the musical dictates of early 2014 that her personality gets erased, is equally hard to witness, but Minogue is holding on as hard as she can.
The article mentions George Michael's album but literally HEW cares. This bitch... She doesn't get this masterpiece or Kylie.
Thank you Queen Kylie for delivering this gem on my Birthday!
Although she was spot on about Sia.