Kylie Minogue: Disco review – Sung as if every song sparks joy
Darenote - BMG
In a year where everyone is at it, Kylie Minogue shows the other girls that disco isn’t just a passing fad but a lifelong commitment. While Jessie Ware’s sensual What’s Your Pleasure? serves disco with a side of smokey house music and Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia sliced it through a frenetic 2020 shredder, Minogue celebrates the past - past nostalgia, if you will - because you can only reinvent disco-pop so many times in a career.
Sung as if every song sparks joy, Minogue’s natural charm carries songs that would sound flat coming out of anybody else’s mouth. Opening number Magic is almost blinded by its romantic optimism, with Minogue asking “do you believe in magic?” over funk-driven horns. And for a second we do.
However, there’s a familiarity here that triggers whispers of other songs; the snappy Last Chance has hauntings of Abba’s Voulez-Vous, the vocoder in the otherwise very sweet Dance Floor Darling will take you back to the repetitive horror that is Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and Monday Blues sounds like it fell off the back of the truck that brought Barry Manilow’s Copacabana to the vinyl factory.
Mostly recorded in her London home studio, Minogue used lockdown to learn new skills and engineered her own vocals using Logic Pro, adding another string to her bow as lead songwriter on every song.
For obvious reasons, escapism is the beating heart of this album, so a dreamlike euphoria sets in at the mention of night clubs and after parties on the wistful Where Does the DJ Go? but the album’s shiniest number is Say Something. With subtle nods to Queen’s Radio Gaga, it’s a knowingly uplifting song that applies to the crazy times we’re currently living in. “We’re a million miles apart in a thousand ways. Baby, you can light up the dark like a solar scape,” she sings as the synths swirl and transcend into a kaleidoscope of purity, hope and glitter.
Ever since the Aussie legend made her comeback in those golden hot pants with 2000’s Spinning Around, her music marries feelgood disco with progressive pop; the kind that spurs on the all-grinding club hijinx that are glaringly absent from this year.
Unfortunately, there’s a distinct lack of edge on Disco, which is a wasted opportunity for someone who usually lives there. If this protective shroud of quilted comfort feels too safe, treat it as the Sunday morning comedown cure for the Saturday night fury she has so kindly gifted us for the most part of her career. This is the mellow Disco brunch that follows the hectic all-nighter.