In the three years prior to the release of Confide In Me, Kylie’s chart domination had come off a fraction, she still scored credible hits here and in the UK in 1990-91 with such songs as Better the Devil You Know, Step Back In Time, What Do I have To Do, and Shocked but the period from 1992 – mid-1994 was a career low. In Australia Give Me Just A little More Time (#30) Finer Feelings (#63) and Celebration (#28) were disappointing, and she missed the UK top 10 with Let’s Get To It (#15), Keep On Pumpin’ It (#49), Finer Feelings (#11), What Kind of Fool (#14), and Celebration (#20), which all failed to hit the top ten in either the UK or Australia.
It was only Give Me Just a Little More Time which temporarily restored her chart fortunes in the UK when it climbed to #2 there in in January 1992.
Minogue had moved on from SAW and was now recording with independent contemporary dance label De Construction/Imago Records internationally and Mushroom in Australia, she was deconstructing her sound and her image, looking for a new groove, a more mature, sophisticated, less formulaic indie pop sound and she appeared to have the songwriting and production team necessary to craft such a hit record.
They were producer Steve Anderson (below left) and DJ Dave Seaman (below right), better known as the Rhythm Brothers, whose previous songwriting and production credits included Britney Spears, Holly Valance, Alannis Morrisette, Michael and Janet Jackson, George Michael, Garbage, Pet Shop Boys, and Atomic Kitten. Owain (aka Edward) Barton who had previously worked with Tears for Fears, Happy Mondays and Lost Witness, ultimately shared songwriting credits with Anderson and Seaman on this song after he claimed that the strings in their composition mirrored the melody of his It’s A Fine Day by indie group Jane. Collectively the cross-genre creativity that Kylie felt she would need to create her new post-SAW sound – indie, dance-pop, house, and techno – had now been assembled.
The Rhythm Brothers went into the Real World, Sma West & DMC studios and developed the demo track very quickly and Minogue put down the vocals in one take, the song reflects a polished production effort, lush strings, keyboard, guitars which owe a debt to the Doors The End, and programmed percussion, which merged in a swirling confection of middle eastern rhythms, techno edges and dance-pop grooves. It was slow-burning, moody and at nearly 6 minutes a dramatic and convincing re-invention of Kylie’s music, she re-established herself in her home market occupying the #1 position for 5 weeks and winning ARIA awards for Best Single and Best Video of the year. Her vocals were restrained yet seductive as Kylie invites all to confide in her and discuss their problems “We all get hurt by love/ And we all have one cross to bear/ But in the name of understanding now/ Our problems should be shared.” There is a long orchestral intro which features a piano insert by Anderson and a violin solo by Gavyn Wright, this violin solo is repeated at the bridge, it was a giant step up in style for Minogue, no longer the simplistic, somewhat repetitious dance pop of the SAW days but a much slicker, fuller, more stylish sound which possessed a rumbling groove.
Confide In Me was a #1 hit in Australia and Finland, #2 in the UK, #10 in France, #12 in Ireland and NZ and #39 on the US Billboard Dance charts, this was Minogue’s only charting single in the US during the decade of the 90’s, but she would have no less than ten US #1 Dance Chart hits in the new millennium to confirm her appeal as an international artist of considerable endurance. The promo video features Kylie as a pop art kaleidoscope of females all playing “Agony Aunt” characters, multi-screen images abound, primary colors flash in and out and viewers are invited to call 1-500 -CONFIDE for advice and direction. Local artists Missy Higgins and Tame Impala have covered the song and Confide in Me may well have been the only Kylie song played on Triple J to that time
In December 1994 Kylie’s second movie was released, Street Fighter was based on a video game of the same name and starred Jean-Claude “The Muscles From Brussels” van Damme, in an overheated action flick in which our heroine played Lt. Cammy, an expert assassin. It was a critical flop, Kylie copped severe criticism for her acting, and despite having terminal cancer, Raul Julia stole all the scenes as the villain, but sadly passed away during the latter stages of filming.
Kylie had long been a favorite of the LGBTQI community, as early as 1988 she had been the focus of drag shows at “The Kylie Night” at the Albury Hotel, Oxford St (Syd), so she felt comfortable with the gay community at a time when the tabloid media were deriding her as the “singing budgie” who merely parroted the assembly line pop of SAW. In 1994 Kylie made her first appearance at Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras when she performed What Do I Have To Do from her Rhythm of Love album at the Royal Hall of Industry, it made quite an impression, as described by Andrew Milliken (Weekend Australian November 2020) “Amid a din of thumping bass, a bouncing keyboard chord progression and airless drum hits, her dancers stripped to their pink underwear and onstage pyro detonated, as an extended version of her 1991 single wound its way to a euphoric conclusion.” Kylie would return to perform at the Mardi Gras in future years and she would establish a deep and mutually affectionate relationship with the LGBTQI community, throughout her career. Kylie below with other “Kylies” at the 2020 Mardi Gras.