It is hard to believe that an international pop icon like Kylie Minogue, who has scored 45 hit singles over the past 20 years, is basically only known in the United States for a couple of songs, most notably "The Locomotion" and "Can't Get You Out of My Head." Not only has she scored countless hit songs, but she has released ten studio albums which have mostly went gold and platinum while receiving countless awards including three Grammy nominations and selling out six world tours. The release of the Fever album helped her gain some traction in the United States and helped introduced new fans to what the rest of the world had known for years. Of course, some of that momentum had been lost over the past few years with the lackluster results of the release of Body Language and Kylie's battle with breast cancer which resulted in the canceling of her last tour. Fortunately for fans and music in general, Kylie battled forward and overcame the cancer and has now come back full force with the release of her tenth album, appropriately named X.
X evidently is what the doctor ordered for Kylie after her battle with cancer, because the album is a glorious fusion of glam electronica and dance and definitely shines as a great example of electropop fusion. On this album we find Kylie in all her glory and showcasing all her talents with some great collaborations which help create an album meant for partying and having fun and that is what Kylie does best. While many have compared Kylie to Madonna and thought of her as the lesser of the two, it is safe to say that she has definitely removed herself from that shadow and X proves to be a better listen than anything Madonna has put out recently, and most of the songs on this album are great tracks on their own. The first single on the album is 2 Hearts which is a wonderful rework of a song done by the British group Kish Mauve who also helped produced the song with Kylie. 2 Hearts comes across as a mixture of Goldfrapp and Blondie with the piano bouncing and Kylie vamping it up while everyone "ooohs" on cue. "Like a Drug" comes thumping in next and is reminiscent of "You Really Got Me" and definitely has a nice club bounce to it while maintaining a somewhat distorted airy vibe. Staying true to Kylie's past disco-influenced tracks, the songs "In Your Arms" and "Wow" are sublime tracks which flow evenly throughout and are definitely great songs to pass the time by at your favorite skating alley.
The track "Speakerphone" (purchase/download) is a great funky little electronic pop tune that invokes a sound similar to Daft Punk, but more mellow and relaxed. On the other hand though, "Sensitized" comes off more like a water downed version of "Cowboy Style" with a much slower pace. The next track to follow is "Heart Beat Rock" which seems more like a filler track and really adds nothing to the album or the flow of the album, just like the ballads "Cosmic" and "No More Rain" and the track "The One." Another song that sounds eerily similar to an earlier Kylie hit is "The One," which sounds similar to "I Believe in You," which isn't a bad thing but really adds nothing new to the table in the progression of the album. The song that really threw me off though was the track "All I See" (purchase/download) which was actually remixed on the American version of X by adding rapper Mims for commercial and marketing appeal in the United States. This song is a more relaxed R/B tune that sounds more like something found on an older Janet Jackson album but Kylie makes it work for her in a more subdued fashion. Unfortunately though the American version is too generic and takes away from the energy and essence of what Kylie is about. The most surprising track on X is "Nu-Di-Ty." This track is definitely one of her most unique tracks and a departure from her usual sound and even though it has such a funky dirty sound, it definitely works for her.
Even though some of the ballads on X drag the album down at times, the album as a whole marks a great comeback for Kylie and definitely moves forward from what she did with Light Years and Fever. Kylie has definitely shown she is still a force to be recognized in the pop world and that she can still provide great pop music that is as unforgettable as her. If only today's artists were as unique and fun as her and were as committed as her in being a real entertainer. If you are looking for some great party music then make sure and check out Kylie's new album and you will be glad you did.
Released April 1, 2008 on Capitol Records