Some Kind of Bliss (K Minogue/JD Bradfield/S Moore) and Did It Again (K Minogue/D Seaman/S Anderson) – Kylie Minogue 1997
Following Tears On My Pillow in 1991 Minogue continued to work out her contract with SAW and although there were no more UK or Aust. #1s in the period 1992- 1999, with one exception, she did chart some respectable top ten hits over the decade – Better The Devil You Know (#5 Aust and #2 UK in ’90), Step Back In Time (#5 Aust, #4 UK in ’90), What Do I Have To Do (#8 Aust and #6 UK in ’91), Shocked ft. DNA (#6 Aust and #6 UK in ’91), If You Were With Me Now (#4 UK in ’91), Give Me Just a Little More Time (#2 UK in ’92) and Confide in Me ( #1 Aust and #2 UK ’94).
In 1996 Kylie’s third film Bio-Dome was released to universal condemnation, she played the role of English scientist Dr. Petra von Kant (above) opposite the “star” of the film US comedian Pauly Shore, the plot revolved around two dim-witted slackers who, while on a road trip, make a toilet stop in what they believe is a shopping mall. The “mall” turns out to be a “bio-dome”, a form of closed ecological system, in which five scientists, and our two half-wits, are hermetically-sealed for a year, the “bio-dome” actually looked more like a Bunnings Garden Centre. The film’s themes were environmentalism, combined with drug use, sexual innuendo, and toilet humour, Leonard Klady of Variety said “…neither the script nor direction lives up to the concept …it becomes a bio-degradable hash…, while the New York Times simply described it as “inept in almost every respect.”
Kylie followed up with a guest appearance on a charity fund-raising special episode of the BBC1 series Men Behaving Badly and displayed a light comic touch that won approval, but by now she was heading back into the studio to record her sixth album, Impossible Princess, unaware of the way that history would unfold and derail this album and for a time the British monarchy.
The first song pre-released from the album was Some Kind of Bliss, a collaboration between Minogue, Manic Street Preachers lead singer James Dean Bradfield (below), and the Manics drummer Sean Moore, this was definitely sudsy pop meets anarchic alternarock, as Minogue continued to seek new musical directions and forms of expression in her professional life. She had also been influenced by her current squeeze, French photographer Stephane Sednaoui, and following her noirish duet with Nick Cave, she also enthused about the Gothic rocker “It was the coolest thing to work with Nick Cave. He opened my eyes to so many ways of being … and what integrity really means.”
But the British tabloids weren’t impressed, the song was criticized for moving too far towards gloomy indie rock and away from Kylie’s rusted-on dance-pop fanbase, even the record artwork was deplored as presenting Kylie looking like a heroin-addicted waif.
The record’s release coincided with the death of Princess Diana, and Elton John’s version of Candle in the Wind 1997 which was hoovering up record sales on its way to a global record in excess of 30 million copies, Some Kind of Bliss charted at #22 in the UK and #27 in Aust, but rapidly exited the charts, to become Kylie’s first genuine commercial disaster.
Two months later Did It Again became the second album track to be pre-released, as the album’s title and its planned release date were deemed to be insensitive given the accidental death of Princess Diana in Paris. Kylie was back collaborating with the more familiar Rhythm Brothers, Steve Anderson and Dave Seaman, and Did It Again was an up tempo, far-eastern-tinged pop song, with Kylie lambasting a vacuous airhead kind of girl, as her vocals twist around the distinctive sounds of a sitar, as electric guitars seamlessly glide in and out of the mix.
The video was cheeky, humorous, and autobiographical as Kylie appears as four separate personas fighting to take control of the diva – the snarling Sexy Kylie, the cheerful Cute Kylie, the super-cool Indie Kylie, and the frivolous Dance Kylie – as Kylie’s current incarnation attempts to referee the catfight, and comments “Little Miss Genius, you make it hard on yourself.” Did It Again took Kylie back to more familiar chart territory when it climbed to #13 in the UK and Australia, but she was devastated when she learnt of the death of Michael Hutchence on November 27th,1997, Nick Cave’s moving performance of Into My Arms was the euology that Kylie and others in attendance, would remember from that day.