Kylie Minogue serves us a tasty slice of pure dance-pop heaven on Aphrodite, a love-tinged record of a dozen gauzy club tracks designed to move and groove even the most resistant of listeners.
The album is Minogue’s eleventh and it finds her capturing her niche fully. It is practically a throwback record, grabbing hints from Light Years and Fever along the way, and Minogue confidently chases vibes and grooves into the neon night.
Themes of love and vivacious elation infuse every synth-soaked track with rays of sun and disco lights, giving Aphrodite the sort of tender appeal that Kylie’s always been best at. Perhaps coolest of all, Minogue resists the commercial urge to harden the edges and keeps things silky throughout.
She offers her exhilarated revelation without apology, couching herself in tantalizing vocal tones and leaving the clatter for other artists.
The choice of Stuart Price as executive producer is the right one, too, as his chops offer just the right tones to the grooves. Songwriters include Minogue and Price along with the likes of Keane’s Tim Rice-Oxley, Kish Mauve, Calvin Harris, and Jake Shears.
Aphrodite’s tracks blend into one another with a sense of raw joy, producing a feeling far too seldom heard on modern pop music. There’s bliss packed into every moment and Kylie exudes sex appeal without coming across desperate or over the top. Instead, her innate breathiness and modest diction leaves us wanting more.
The single “All the Lovers” boots off Aphrodite. The 42-year-old sets the tone, breathing “Dance, all I want to do is dance,” while the sharp beat provides legroom for swirling synth.
It’s interesting to consider these tracks and Minogue’s life over the last few years. Few conversations can be had about the popster without recalling her breast cancer diagnosis in 2005 and her heroic emergence from the tragedy as a stronger, more confident artist. While X served as a comeback album and showed the world that Kylie was still a sexual force to be reckoned with, Aphrodite finds the artist kicking back for a night out on the town among the shimmering, smiling lights. She deserves it, by God.
“Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)” is a concert hit waiting to happen. Its addictive chorus and warm verses bounce with cotton candy care (yeah, I said it) and her glee is impossible to miss. And “Everything Is Beautiful” is, again, pure unadulterated delight topped with whipped cream and sprinkles.
Some might say that the album is almost too ecstatic and that may be true on some level, but this is Kylie’s party and her determination to express joy and love is hard to find fault with. It may be faint and filled with gallons of empty calories, but Aphrodite is the perfect summer recipe for hot nights under hotter lights.