New Music Review Friday: “DISCO” by Kylie Minogue

Pop’s happiest camper is back and here to get you excited

America: what gives? How is Kylie Minogue not a much, much bigger deal down here?

It’s consistently flabbergasting how Minogue manages to fly under the radar as much as she does in the United States, especially given that she’s a consistently big seller in Europe and Oceania. It’s not like she hasn’t seen success Stateside; she had a top three hit with “The Loco-Motion” in 1988 (raise your hand if you knew that) and another top ten with 2002’s ubiquitous “Can’t Get You Out of My Head.” Since then, she hasn’t even cracked the top 40.

Disco will change that. And if it doesn’t, it should. 

No other artist can capture the pure excess of gloriously joyful and effervescent pop quite like Minogue does. And no other era embodies that quite like disco does either, that underground-then mainstream-then underground again- then “is it cool? is it not cool?” genre of music. So it seems pretty obvious that the two would come together to create musical babies that’d make all the others a little jealous of their boogie.

Which begs the question: do we care about Kylie Minogue consistently singing about hitting clubs right now? The electric slide isn’t necessarily on my “to-do list” of the day. It could be, but the constraints of an apartment don’t allow for it as much. 

But maybe hearing about this 52-year-old Australian diva living her fantastically romantic life beneath the flashing lights and glitter ball is the image and escapism we need to lift ourselves above a dreary and depressing era. Minogue isn’t tone-deaf, though, there’s a distinct urgency to each of the tracks that suggest she’s out dancing after her best heels have been enjoying a six month-long vacation. She doesn’t want the dance floor, she needs it.

The album blends a lot of the best of the past, present, and future of disco; Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder, meet Dua Lipa and Lady Gaga. Like Gaga’s 2020 release, Chromatica, however, Disco occasionally leads into tracks that don’t necessarily pop out. But there’s truly no bad song on the record, albeit slightly underwhelming ones. “Magic” is a strong highlight, though, as is the vocoder and synth-pop heavy “Dance Floor Darling,” which is the album’s Daft Punk-esque pinnacle. Album closer “Celebrate You” instantly stands out due to it being a third-person narrative of a woman named Mary, inspiring you to celebrate yourself. It’s the kind of vulnerability we don’t often see from present-era Minogue.

A time travelling trip back to the disco-fuelled era of sweat-inducing, up-tempo sugar rushes was all we really needed at this time. And your disco needs Kylie. You just don’t know it yet.

Best tracks: “Magic,” “Real Groove,” and “Celebrate You”(”Till You Love Somebody” from the deluxe version)
Weakest tracks: “Where Does the DJ Go?” and “Unstoppable” (“Spotlight” from the deluxe version)
The “How do I make this my soundtrack?” track: “Dance Floor Darling”

Just a side note: Disco is peak pop and…well, disco when you listen to the standard 12-track album. The four tracks in the deluxe version can be really mixed. And to be honest, “Celebrate You” is a much more wholesome ending than “Spotlight,” which is fine, it’s okay, it’s alright, it’s not bad.

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