Kylie Minogue Part 1 covered the period 1987-1998, and was posted to 4TR from Feb 23-March 11 this year.
Despite having several less than stunning singles – Some Kind of Bliss, Cowboy Style and GBI (German Bold Italic), Kylie still retained a credible chart presence in the UK and other parts of Asia and Europe during this period, but the gloss had come off her chart cred in Australia, and she scored only one #1 hit here in the period 1990 – 1998, and that was Confide in Me in 1994. Minogue was experimenting with image changes throughout the nineties as she sought to re-invent herself as a more substantial and sophisticated pop diva, she had signed with the dance label De Construction, issued a new album Kylie Minogue, and in 1994 released the haunting single Confide In Me which charted well in the UK (#2) and Australia (#1), the follow up Put Yourself In My Place was top ten here but flopped in the UK as did Where Is The Feeling which also charted poorly.
Kylie’s experimentation with image continued when in 1995 she accepted an invitation from Nick Cave to duet with him on the Gothic and distinctly foreboding Where the Wild Roses Grow, a track to be included on Cave’s Murder Ballads album, it was a surprise hit charting #2 here and #11 in the UK.
Cave was a loyal and supportive expat Aussie, and the opportunity to pair himself as the demonic Nick, with Kylie, the transformed suicide blonde from Neighbors, was irresistible, Elton John and Kiki Dee it was not, but Antipodean Goth it most surely was.
Minogue’s movie role choices continued to disappoint, her appearances in Street Fighter with Claude van Damme and the Hollywood comedy Bio Dome had been universally panned, and two sloppy, quickie exploitation flicks made in Australia – Sample People and Cut – were similarly derided. She copied Madonna’s book Sex by issuing Art, her own book of soft porn poses, and recorded a new album Impossible Princess, which clashed with the death of Princess Diana in 1997, causing its release to be deferred, and the title to be changed. The previously sure-footed Minogue seemed to be struggling outside the protective shield of the formulaic but predictably safe Stock, Aitken, Waterman (SAW) environment. She dissolved her relationship with De Construction in 1998 and naysayers were predicting her ultimate demise as a recording artist, following a rather turbulent indie experimentation phase in her career.
After negotiations with Mushroom Records and A&R Kylie signed with Parlophone and from 2000 -2008, she would move on from her indie phase to re-invent herself in a way unique in the music industry, a sexy, confident, adult-oriented performer emerged, who would record no less than fourteen top ten singles in Australia, including seven #1 hits and four #1 albums- Kylie Minogue would own the charts in Australia and the UK during this period.
It became ever clearer that Kylie was essentially put on this earth to make glitzy, euphoric, full-on pop bangers, and Spinning Around was the glitziest and most euphoric of the lot. A bold restatement of core values following her 90s dalliances with the left field; a perfect pop-disco nugget, a single only the terminally joyless could fail to like. Minogue would never be about deep and meaningful songs reflecting her inner personal doubts or anxieties, cloaked in clever metaphors and opaque lyrics. She epitomized uncomplicated dance music, what you saw and heard is what you got, and her fans responded.
Spinning Around debuted at #1 in Australia and the UK and was a global smash hit, sold over 1 million copies, and became her biggest hit for six years, since Confide in Me.There were no less than 42 #1 hits in the UK in 2000 indicating the ephemeral nature of popular music tastes as X Factor/Idol alumni invaded the charts for their 15 minutes of fame, Kylie held onto the top spot for one week with Spinning Around.
One of the co-composers of Spinning Around was 1990’s dance diva Paula Abdul who had written the song about her divorce from her second husband Brad Beckerman, it was a bona fide hit even when Kylie heard it in demo form at the Map recording studios in Vienna with producer Mike Spencer, a powerful feminist tirade about moving on from a failed relationship, so recalling the spirit of Gloria Gaynor’s 1979 disco classic I Will Survive.
It became the first single lifted off the Light Years album, and re-ignited Minogue’s career for the next decade, equating dance-floor rapture with the embrace of love, a theme to which Kylie would return consistently as she artfully segued from Indie Kylie, to Sexy Kylie, onto Robo Kylie.
The record cleverly combined the bouncy pop of Kylie’s SAW hits with a more pronounced disco sensibility, it was sexy, radio-friendly, and the now-famous video clip, which had a budget of $400,000, featured Kylie in a London club, wearing the iconic gold lame hot pants she had acquired second hand for 50p several years before at a Camden flea market. The perky Minogue derriere would hereafter assume an identity of its own, even though Kylie gleefully admitted that all her bum could do was wiggle.