2020 has been a year marked by shadow, shrouded in darkness, and coloured in black. Shards of light have been few and far between, which is perhaps why it’s becoming absolutely imperative for Kylie Minogue to grace us once again with a new album.
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‘DISCO’ wears her influences on its sleeve. Hell, it’s there in the title – this is sheer, unashamed, upbeat disco, a fusion of vintage and modern flavours, one that would feel equally at home with the glitz and the glam of Studio 54 and South London dress-to-sweat dugout Horse Meat Disco.
‘Magic’ is an effervescent opener, its gentle pulse peeling you away from the raw pessimism of 2020’s ongoing dystopia. ‘Miss A Thing’ moves the tempo up a notch, adding a dash of Daft Punk’s retro-fetishism for good measure. ‘Real Groove’ more than delivers on its title, with Kylie channelling house abandon against those lush keys. – ‘Monday Blues’ dials back the disco elements in favour of summery pop, its slight Mediterranean flavour providing the perfect dose of escapism. ‘Supernova’ meanwhile is an absolute Giorgio Moroder style onslaught, its slinky Euro-centric perversions adding a dose of strings to her lyrical double entendres.
‘Say Something’ leans once more on those bubbling electronics, recalling Robyn’s ‘Honey’ is its cutting edge digi-pop. The catalogue of Nile Rodgers permeates the Chic-style beat that drives ‘Last Chance’, something that ‘I Love It’ amplifies in its symphonic, orchestral glamour.
‘Where Does The DJ Go?’ is perhaps a prescient question with lockdown part deux now upon us, while stylistically its a homage to the twilight reinvention that frames ‘Saturday Night Fever’. ‘Dance Floor Darling’ offers up raw 80s chart sonics with its buzzsaw guitar chords, a slo-mo transition piece that knocks at the door of club bumper ‘Unstoppable’.
Closing with the unashamed pop of ‘Celebrate You’, ‘DISCO’ is the sound of Kylie Minogue re-connecting with her roots. 2018’s ‘Golden’ was a country-pop crossover marked by matters personal, the lyrics delving into highly personal areas of her life. ‘DISCO’ by way of contrast is sheer escapism from start to finish, an exit point from the darkness that has fallen over 2020.
It’s not subtle – at some points the references may as well be put up in fluorescent lights – but that’s OK, since the aim is to be direct, to move people, and to entertain. As an ode to the pleasures of the dancefloor, Kylie has delivered her most unashamedly fun record in almost a decade.
Words: Robin Murray
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