Kylie Minogue “Aphrodite” Full Album Review

Kylie Minogue “Aphrodite” Album Review

Date: Wed, Jun 30th, 2010

Kylie Minogue

Before we begin, I know the hardcore Kylie fans will love everything she does and will defend any criticism; and Kylie skeptics may not like anything she does. I’m a Kylie realist and consider all of the angles: positive and negative… artistic, commercial, fan reception and so on.

I’m well versed on Kylie’s career and am judgmental because I am a fan who cares about Kylie’s longevity commercially… I really like some things she’s done, and at times she’s made some serious mistakes (“Body Language”) and I am going to be honest about all sides of the equation… so please read this article with an open mind.

Aphrodite” is Kylie Minogue’s first studio album in three years, since her 2007 release, "X". This is Kylie’s 11th studio album. Parlophone announced the release of the album on April 20th 2010 along with a short snippet of the lead single "All the Lovers" on Minogue's web-site. "All the Lovers" was released worldwide at the end of June 2010.

All The Lovers coverALL THE LOVERS
Kylie wrote the song with Kish Mauve aka Jim Elliot who was also responsible for the lead single off her last album “2 Hearts” which was a remake (why that song?) and wasn’t exactly the powerhouse track I was hoping for. It too had trouble charting well, but managed to chart higher than “All The Lovers” has in several countries.

Kylie’s progressively working towards getting her music’s commercial appeal back on track. Her “Fever” album in 2001 was a massive success worldwide, then “Body Language” in 2003 was a massive flop. The preceding album “X” in 2007 was a step in the right direction toward redeeming herself, although “Wow” was the only real radio-friendly, club friendly single.

And now, enter “Aphrodite”.

The music video for “All the Lovers” premiered via Yahoo! Music on June 1st 2010 and begins with a flash mob of people kissing while taking their clothes off in an empty street. They gather on the middle in their white underwear, where Minogue appears surrounded by doves, wearing a white cobweb-style t-shirt over a bra and knickers, with matching white thigh high boots. The flash mob becomes bigger as the video continues. During the song's bridge, a white horse gallops between couples kissing. The buildings are surrounded by floating marshmallows as well as a giant inflatable elephant.

Overall the video wasn’t very impressive as Minogue was capable of much better- especially when you compare this video to other videos and lead singles such as “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” and “Spinning Around”. Albeit the track is better than “Slow”, I still like the single “2 Hearts” from her last album better than “All The Lovers”.

The single starts out by posing a question for the listener… “Dance. It’s all I wanna do. So won’t you dance?” With pleasure, Kylie. Except it’s not entirely clear that “All the Lovers”, is actually a full-on dance track, musically speaking. Despite Minogue’s enticing lyrical invitations to get down, the song’s sound is less in line with the urgent robo-rhythms of her 2007 fan-hit “Speakerphone” (which was not released as a single) than with the earnest dreampop of 2004′s “I Believe in You,” right down to their copycat basslines. I'm not saying it’s a bad song. I’m just saying it's not as 'catchy' as its ancestors.

The Kylie faithful will tell you that "All The Lovers" is a grower and will get a boost with the release of the physical single (in stores the week of June 27th) but I doubt it. The song has fallen out of the top 20 on iTunes and has stalled on radio in most markets despite hitting No. 1 on the U.K. radio airplay chart after four weeks. I never heard it played on radio once in the US but then again Kylie’s not very well known in that market.

On June 22nd, "All The Lovers" debuted at #14 in Australia this week, becoming the second lowest charting lead single of Kylie's career. In fact, only "Some Kind Of Bliss" performed worse (landing at #27 in 1997) and that was released at the absolute nadir of her popularity. It's a bit depressing but hardly unexpected.

Aphrodite album coverThe highest "All The Lovers" has charted worldwide is the #4 position... which isn't bad- but it’s disappointing considering that there were better single choices on the album. I think everyone was expecting a massive hit… and I don’t think that “All the Lovers” is going to deliver.

As pretty and dreamy and perfect as it is, "All The Lovers" is too subtle and not very radio friendly; it’s too slow in parts, the remixes are too few and too bland. The video didn’t help matters.

While the track is a hit with Kylie’s fans she really needed to come back with a dance floor anthem that appealed to the half a million or so people that spent $20 on "Fever".

Fortunately, every other song on "Aphrodite" sounds more instant and radio friendly than the lead single. I honestly have a good feeling about this album and think it has the potential to be absolutely massive. Kylie HQ (Kylie, Parlophone, Terry Blamey) needs to be a bit smarter about single choices and music videos to make sure they are tailoring them for different markets. Particularly when it comes to the clubs and radio.

The first real indication of where Aphrodite is headed, “Get Outta My Way” has been announced as the 2nd single to debut in September. "Get Outta My Way" is a feisty song that was originally written by Lucas Secon, Cutfather and Damon Sharpe. In an interview with HitQuarters, Secon described the track as "sexy electro disco with some very clever lyrics and some real catchy melodies." He couldn’t be more right. The track is poised to take over the summer's dance floors and will reaffirm Kylie’s crown as the princess of pop once more. “Get Outta My Way” stands to do much better on radio (and has a better chance in the US market then “All the Lovers”). It should have been the lead single.

If the encompassing music video for “Get Outta My Way” is dance-oriented like the “Spinning Around” video with edgy/futuristic style of the “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” video (but not comparable to the video for “Wow”) the music video could only but help increase sales and commercial appeal of “Aphrodite”. It definitely has a chance to create awareness… and would redeem Kylie’s music career in the markets that snubbed Kylie of at least a top 20 hit with “All the Lovers” … “Get Outta My Way” should have no problem grabbing the top spot because it works in the way Love At First Sight did. It's got a big pulsating beat, verses that build and a punchy throw-some-shapes chorus. Don’t wait until the end of summer in September to release this one… get that song on the radio now and heat up everyone’s summer on the dance floor.

This song starts out slowly building on the message that “all we need is love in this life” … then the track immediately kicks it into high-gear as Kylie instructs the listener for the remainder of the song to “Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)”. All of the verses slow down, then the chorus and bridge pick back up and you’re dancing again.

It’s a real club-ready dance track and the remixes for this one have unlimited potential. This is a real crowd pleaser. An instant, memorable Kylie track- this song definitely has the potential to be a third single.

“Closer” is the most haunting track on the album. In my opinion it’s completely forgettable, a filler song aimed straight at the dance floor, and a relentless reminder that when Kylie can’t really be bothered to come up with a decent tune at least she can dance. It’s not dreadful; it’s just not the inspired, edgy pop we’ve come to expect from Kylie. The bonus track "Mighty Rivers" would have been a better suited here instead.

The backbone of this Stuart Price track, written with Zoot Woman collaborator Beatrice Hatherley has an ornate orchestral prog rock backdrop. It has an “Impossible Princess-era” vibe with Kylie breathing all over it. I’m not sure if I like or dislike this track.

“Everything Is Beautiful” is well, very beautiful. It’s probably the closest the album comes to a ballad in the traditional sense although its still dance floor ready. One of the two tracks that didn’t require any involvement from Stuart Price, Kylie’s vocals are very strong and the production is absolutely stellar.

It’s a rare Kylie gem. The song was co written by Tim Rice-Oxley of Keane and you can very easily hear Keane recording this track if Kylie had passed on it…

The album’s title track “Aphrodite” is the real showstopper. Janet Jackson had “Rhythm Nation” and Kylie Minogue has given us “Aphrodite”, a kick ass marching band sounding dance track. You can’t help but sing along- the song is easy to learn… and if you’re not on your feet dancing to this track within the first 15 seconds then you’re clearly beyond help.

A killer dance anthem for Kylie- she asks the listener “Can you feel me in stereo?” And, yes we can. The choruses “I’m fierce and I’m feeling mighty, I’m a golden girl- I’m an Aphrodite” are the lyrics and sound we’ve been wanting from Kylie for nearly a decade. Essentially it’s the real comeback track we were hoping for on “X” back in 2007.

If this track is not released in Europe as a single with proper promotion and a mind-blowing music video then Kylie needs to switch to a new label. Americans wouldn’t understand this song since they have no history with Kylie or her music career, but the rest of the world- put on your dancing shoes and prepare yourself for… “Aphrodite”. I guarantee you this is a defining track that will follow Kylie for the rest of her career. It’s that good.

Written by Kylie Minogue and Stuart Price (the album’s Executive Producer), is about doubting a lover's sincerity, with lines such as "Like the headlines of a magazine, are you what you seem?" it's powered by a ping pong keyboard melody over super moody synths. This isn’t a real “get out there and dance” track but Kylie’s vocals are strong and the track holds up well on its own with catchy lyrics and a hip beat. It deserves to be on the album for its creativity and originality than dance appeal.

When initial sessions for the album began in April 2009, Minogue was paired with U.K. singer/songwriter Nerina Pallot. Among the first fruits was "Better Than Today." Excited by the live instrumentation feel and all too aware that Minogue's previous album, 2007's "X" (Capitol), had suffered from a serious case of too many chefs, Parlophone decided natural and grown-up could be the way to go.

"Better than Today", was performed by Minogue on her North American “For You, For Me” concert tour prior to the completion of sessions for Aphrodite. The track received rave reviews from fans and Kylie even released a “Dance Tutorial” to compliment the song on her YouTube channel.

Originally written and recorded by singer-songwriter Nerina Pallot on her album “Buckminster Fuller” released in 2009, Kylie’s version of “Better Than Today” is a kitschy retro line-dancing number with walk-down-the-high-street-and-feel-empowered "use it/lose it" chorus.

First off, this is the ONE track I was most looking forward to hearing on “Aphrodite”. After hearing Kylie perform it live in Las Vegas last year, I instantly fell in love with it and its bad-ass incredible catchy intro, clever lyrics and chorus and mind-blowing instrumentation… the track’s sounds struck me as something Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters or Calvin Harris might have cooked up for Kylie. After hearing it I kept thinking to myself “now THIS is the track that could FINALLY get Kylie some attention in the US!”

Unfortunately, now that I’ve heard the version that made the final cut on Kylie’s album I’m a little disappointed. I’m happy Kylie’s version has finally seen the light of day, but Stuart Price totally jacked up this perfectly good song. Here’s how.

Kylie's microphoneThe new instrumentation that Stuart programmed in, especially the beginning section sounds duller, weaker and flat. It doesn’t sound as exciting as it used to. (The version performed live and the studio version Minogue dances to in her dance tutorial on YouTube also sound stronger.) Plus, by having Kylie re-record her vocals with a cheap microphone in “Dolly Parton fashion” (no offense Dolly- I still love you)... is the most noticeable on this track and further diminishes what made the song so darn attractive in the first place… at times it seems as if Kylie isn’t close enough to the microphone- her vocals on this new version are not as strong as the original studio version.

It’s not supposed to sound like a live recording… it’s a studio album, and that’s the sound I was hoping for. It's just not as tight sounding or hip as it was. The new “Dolly Parton” test isn’t near as apparent on the rest of “Aphrodite” and that’s the way it should have also been on “Better Than Today”. Although I’m sure it would still fair well as a single, it’s the one track on the album that Stuart should have left alone.

Co writer Jake Shears called “Too Much” a '90s track and called it the worst on the album, which does it a disservice. The beginning leading up to the chorus is just a little slow but once this song heats up 45 seconds in- it’s on fire. It’s a perfect representation of why we like Kylie’s music. It’s upbeat, predicable fun, catchy and pure pop magic. The bouncy disco-electric beats and sounds from the piano’s keyboard add an addictive groove. With lyrics such as “first you got me hot, next its cobra ice” anyone looking for a good upbeat song to dance to won’t be able to refuse “Too Much”. It holds its own as the only other track on the album lacking Stuart Price’s involvement. (Sorry, I’m still hacked off about “Better Than Today”.) I think this track would also make a great single in Europe.

This heavily layered song is a slave to more conventional pop dance sounds. No doubt it will be a massive hit with Kylie’s hardcore fan base and the gay community. This song is a fierce dance number with catchy lyrics and an amazing use of instruments. It’s also one of the longest running tracks on “Aphrodite”.

Another track written by Kylie and Stuart Price, it’s not bad but next to “Closer” it’s the only other track on the album that, if it has been left off, I wouldn’t have minded. It features those famously breathy vocals, and a climax of soaring, tangled synths and a predictable chorus. In subtle ways it reminds me of Madonna's “Ray Of Light” with it's airy, violin powered Euro dance.

A big “end of the night” anthem with a Daft Punk-style disco vibe. If you took a rest during “Looking For An Angel” this one will get you back on your feet. This song is definitely single material and if the “we’ve got an energy” parts were removed or re-edited, could make for a powerhouse track on US radio airwaves. The electro-organ adds a new dimension to the sound, the lyrics are fun, upbeat and irresistible. It’s definitely one of the stand-out tracks on the album. Generally you wouldn’t expect much from the last track on an album, but Kylie saved one of the best for last.

The problem with “Aphrodite” is that it contains so many tracks that have the potential to be used as radio-friendly singles… I’m amazed that “All the Lovers” was picked as the album’s lead single since its one of the more lackluster tracks on the album. My picks for singles would be “Get Outta My Way”, “Put Your Hands Up”, “Better Than Today”, “Can’t Beat The Feeling” and “Aphrodite”.

As a first, EMI is releasing “Aphrodite” in the United States during the same week-long worldwide release cycle. Normally, Kylie fans in America have to wait several months later for her albums to release in the States or import her album from other territories.

A direct, concise album that’s bothered about getting you on a dance floor, “Aphrodite” aims at making sure you have a good time and wants to keep you there for the next 12 tracks. The album’s producer, Stuart Price succeeded at creating a house party feel for the record- with each track building on the last, at which largely “Aphrodite” succeeds.

Aphrodite” is the true successor to Kylie’s “FEVER” album. It’s back-to-basics Kylie. It's a cohesive, precisely thought out record that slots in more as a progression from “Light Years” and “Fever” than “Body Language” and "X". The latter two - while having classic Kylie moments - suffered from a lack of direction or in X's case, too many.

“Aphrodite” Tracklisting

1. All The Lovers
2. Get Outta My Way
3. Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)
4. Closer
5. Everything Is Beautiful
6. Aphrodite
7. Illusion
8. Better Than Today
9. Too Much
10. Cupid Boy
11. Looking For An Angel
12. Can’t Beat The Feeling

Production Credits

Written by Jim Elliot & Mima Stilwell
Produced by Jim Eliot
Additional production and mix by Stuart Price

Written by Cutfather: Lucas Secon, Damon Sharpe, Peter Wallevik, Daniel Davidsen & Mitch Hansen
Produced by Cutfather, Peter Wallevik & Daniel Davidsen?. Co-produced by Damon Sharpe, Lucas Secon & Stuart Price

Written by Fin Dow-Smith, The Nervo Girls
Produced by Starsmith. Co-produced by Stuart Price. Additional vocal production by Nervo.
Mixed by Starsmith and Stuart Price

Written by Stuart Price & Beatrice Hatherley
Produced & mixed by Stuart Price

Written by Fraser T Smith & Tim Rice-Oxley (“Keane”)
Produced and mixed by Fraser T Smith

Written & produced by Nerina Pallot & Andy Chatterley
Additional production and mix by Stuart Price

Written by Kylie Minogue & Stuart Price
Produced & mixed by Stuart Price

Written & produced by Nerina Pallot & Andy Chatterley
Additional production and mix by Stuart Price

Written by Kylie Minogue, Calvin Harris & Jake Shears
Produced and mixed by Calvin Harris.

Written by Sebastian Ingrosso (“Swedish House Mafia”), Magnus Lidehall, Nick Clow & Luciana Caporaso
Produced & mixed by Stuart Price & Sebastian Ingrosso & Magnus

Written by Kylie Minogue & Stuart Price
Produced & mixed by Stuart Price

Written by Hannah Robinson, Pascal Gabriel, Borge Fjordheim, Matt Prime & Richard X
Produced by Stuart Price, Pascal Gabriel & Borge Fjordheim.
Mixed by Stuart Price


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