Living with…Kylie Minogue…for a week
What with the intensity of Les Misérables last week and the fact that this week contained Blue Monday I needed something a little lighter and cheerier as musical companion this week?
I need to explain.
My last week with music was my induction to the emotional fest that is Les Mis and I need serious recovery time. Blue Monday, which this year fell on 21st January is the most depressing day of the year. Not that there’s any science or substance to this assertation beyond the fact that it feels right. A month after the excesses of Christmas, long nights, short days and flipping cold and wet normally. The fact that we had a tonne of snow dumped on us Sunday night, and P therefore got a day off school probably lifted the spirits and was the best anecdote going really.
So, what better way to lift the spirits than the little Aussie bundle of joy, Kylie Minogue. Kylie shared with me my one substantial excursion in to the world of soaps back in the late 80s. Obviously, she was on the screen and I was watching but I’d like to think it was a shared experience. For about two years I regularly watched Neighbours (well, what else does a student do?) and I count myself one of the 20 million that watched Scott and Charlene get married. She was, after all, your typical girl next door although admittedly very very cute with a shock of blonde permed hair and a fashion sense based on dungarees .
I’m not sure I felt quite as warm about her excursion in to music as U2, The Cure and The Smiths were my flavour at the time bot looking back I Should Be So Lucky is a great pop song but her version of The Locomotion can remain stalled in the sidings as far as I’m concerned.
Moving through two and a half decades of music in and out of the chart since then Kylie and I have had our moments. She left behind candy pop (I really never ever need to hear Better The Devil You Know again) and came up with some real danceroom classics. 1994’s Confide in Me is probably my favourite followed by Spinning Around. Which brings us nicely on to Kylie’s contribution to the return of the hot pants through the video for Spinning Around. Her male fans, both hetero and gay, have been very grateful ever since.
Then there is THE song. I Can’t Get You Out of My Head, of which no truer words have been said. It is of course pure hypnotic pop combined with the most puzzling of videos, but is for me always laced with tragedy. We travelled to Turkey on 13th September 2001, two days after the horrific 9/11 events and that summer ICGYOOMH was the anthem for every bar and every restaurant that we visited and every coach that we travelled on in Turkey. So somewhere in my memory bank tied in with the weird video and La La La… is that strange sense of dislocation that we all went through in those weeks in 2001.
Finally, there is the look – I’m forever grateful to my brother for the occasional Kylie calendars at Christmas over the years – she is after all more about image as music and I know some of my readers would be disappointed if I didn’t include a wider range of pictures than usual this week. So I have. Besides, it would be a shame to waste the research.
Kylie Goes to Abbey Road
Music this week was provided from two albums – a 2012 Hits collection but mainly Kylie’s unplugged/ orchestral reworking of her material called The Abbey Road Sessions.
And The Abbey Road Sessions stuck through the week! Her songs generally work well when they’re reworked with an orchestra or stripped down to their barest sound – underneath the sheen are some great melodies and dare I say it half-decent lyrics.
And I have to change my earlier comment – I even like Better the Devil You Know as a jazz number. No, let me correct that. I love it! It’s music for chilling around the house, not a boogie on the dancefloor but it works.
Some are less fortunate – The Locomotion, even when she takes it back to the 60’s – should remain in the sidings. I Should Be So Lucky works as candy pop not as a slow ballad.
But others are worth the re-working – Confide in Me benefits from a bit more grunge; Slow is so smooth as a jazz number; while ICGYOOMH is a firm favourite in the house now as a staccato orchestral string number. Only the reworking of her classic duet with Nick Cave Where the Wild Roses Grow remains a puzzle – it’s not really a reworking is it?
So, I got through the official most depressing week of the year with a lot of help from Kylie – a bit of candy, a bit of strings. If you’re a closet Kylie music fan but afraid to admit it, The Abbey Road Studios, may be an acceptable way in to her catalogue. Settle down in to an armchair spread some vegemite on your toast and draw yourself a glass of Fosters.
Summer will soon be here.
A slightly obscure video clip – Kylie from Italy’s X Factor performing an orchestral version of I Can’t Get You Out of My Head. It’s worth it for the hyped 20 second X Factor intro in Italian! And of course the hyped conversation in the end, half-Italian half-English.
The song is pretty good though as well.