K E Y P O I N T S
- ‘Golden’ is Kylie’s first album for new label BMG
- She had already recorded a more traditional pop album, but ditched the recordings after a ‘life-changing’ trip to Nashville saw her embrace a country sound
- Co-writers on the album include Amy Wadge (Ed Sheeran), Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift) and Richard ‘Biff’ Stannard, who was responsible for some of her biggest previous hits including ‘Love At First Sight’ and ‘In Your Eyes’
S N A P V E R D I C T
Kylie promised fans she’d be putting her “heart and soul” into her 14th studio album before writing and recording sessions started last year. Still recoiling from her split from fiancé Joshua Sasse after a whirlwind - and uncharacteristically public - relationship, Kylie threw herself into writing the follow-up to 2014’s underperforming ‘Kiss Me Once’. ‘Golden’ couldn’t be further from that album’s dial-a-producer, Kylie-by-numbers approach.
First of all, she’s co-written every song here, something that hasn’t happened across an entire album since 1997’s fan-favourite, ‘Impossible Princess’. Despite that album’s critical success, it was also her least commercially successful - something her new label BMG have no intention of repeating with ‘Golden’, which the label’s UK President of A&R recently declared would be a “defining moment” for the label. No pressure then.
So does ‘Golden’ live up to its title? Well, that will really depend on your tastes. Specifically the C word. Yep, Kylie’s gone country. Or as she puts it, “Dolly Parton standing on the dancefloor”. First single ‘Dancing’ is a good indicator of what to expect. Yes there are twangy guitars, but there is lyrical depth too (her own mortality) wrapped around and sewn into Kylie’s more familiar pop sound. The title track starts off like a spaghetti western before the solid pop chorus kicks in, whilst ‘A Lifetime To Repair’, complete with (whisper it) fiddles and banjos, sees Kylie counting down into the chorus ‘6, 5, 4, 3, too many times/wish I never cared/If I get hurt again/I’d need a lifetime to repair’.
Her voice shines throughout and has a raw, ‘live’ feel to it, which perfectly complements the personal, storytelling quality of the lyrics. The country theme also gives the album a cohesive sound - something that’s been missing from a number of Kylie’s previous releases.
Highlights include ‘Sincerely Yours’, a love letter to her fans that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on one of Taylor Swift’s earlier albums, which is ironic, seeing as the US star is treading Kylie’s old stomping ground of pure pop these days.
Other standouts include an ode to her dad’s beloved ‘Shelby ’68’ (‘know you’re gonna break my heart/when I get in your car’) and the country/disco hybrid ‘Raining Glitter’, which is sure to close future live shows, complete with obligatory glitter cannons.
Not everything works. ‘Music’s Too Sad Without You’, her duet with Jack Savoretti, is a plodding misstep that closes the standard edition of the album. Which is a shame because some of the best tracks - and dare I say it? - more traditional Kylie numbers are the four extra songs featured on the deluxe edition. ‘Lost Without You’ sounds like a future Kylie classic, while ‘Every Part Of Me’ is ‘Dancing’ on roids.
B E S T T R A C K S
‘Stop Me From Falling’
‘Live A Little’
‘Lost Without You’
‘Every Little Part Of Me’
T A K E H O M E M E S S A G E
Kylie celebrates 50 years on the planet next month, 30 of which she’s dedicated to providing us with more joyful pop moments than we probably deserve. In ‘Golden’ she’s reinvented herself - and the genre - one more time. See you at the hoedown.