Kylie Minogue’s first commercial album release since being diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2005 is a spunky dance record that shows that the Australian popster hasn’t missed a beat and hasn’t gotten all serious on us either. Ever the party girl, Minogue’s X (named such to mark her tenth album) is a sexy and steamy romp destined for loads of club rotation.
Kylie has always been diminutive, both in stature (at just five feet tall) and in voice. In terms of pop personas, though, she’s colossal. Not quite as big a deal as Madonna, Minogue’s always been more of a Janet Jackson-type. Her vocals are more whispered and inconspicuous. Her sex appeal seems more grounded in ecstasy and less in pretension (not that she can’t be flashy). After recovering from breast cancer, Minogue dropped a TV special, a children’s book, a perfume, and a glitzy New Year’s Eve concert at Wembley. In November of last year, she dropped an album.
X was recorded in Stockholm, London, and Ibiza. It’s a characteristic Kylie Minogue album, filled with lots of energy and double entendres. The lead-off single, “2 Hearts,” is a breathy ditty with a solid beat and captivating melody. Other tunes capture the same zeal, including “Speakerphone” and “Heart Beat Rock.”
Of course, Minogue’s vocals go through the ringer of mechanized maneuvering. At 39, she sounds more emotionally detached than ever. Somehow the tracks still sizzle, though, thanks in large part to the incalculable sexual innuendos and demure enticements. If Britney’s Blackout was sexy, Kylie’s latest is simply sex.
“Sensitized” is probably the tightest track on the album, as the production is incredible and the sway of the chorus is ordained for the top of the charts. The sample of Serge Gainsbourg’s Bonnie and Clyde works wonders, too.
“Wow” takes us back to the 80s in style, showing us that nobody can mimic Kylie Minogue quite like Kylie Minogue. The song’s got a bit of “Locomotion” to it and runs pleasurably with her suppressed vocals. The chorus and production is so conventional it’s nonsensically amusing. Then there’s “Nu-Di-Ty,” a tacky sexed-up goofball with just enough camp to get by. “Pop that zipper down and work that thing out,” she intones. Oh, Kylie!
Lots of X sounds silly, lots of it sounds sexy, and most of it is solid danceable pop. This is a record that will eternally rotate in clubs and on dance floors around the world. The beats are tantalizing and the melodies are rock-solid. Minogue’s vocals fade either into the backdrop or right through the vocal apparatus, rendering her incredibly reticent throughout the album’s 13 tracks, but the courage of the comeback is reason enough to love the fiery Aussie.