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Kylie - Disco (Album Review)

Thursday, 12 November 2020 Written by Jacob Brookman

In the 1990s, the hit Australian soap Neighbours created numerous pop star household names. Who can forget Jason Donovan, Natalie Imbruliga…or Bruce Samazan?

But the only true icon of the bunch is Kylie (surname not required) and her 15th studio album demonstrates why. This is a recording artist of distinction whose faith in the healing power of pop feels as relevant as ever during a wretched year that is only just perhaps turning a corner.

As the title suggests, she’s not messing around. ‘Disco’ is 12 tracks of swaggering, camp disco-pop with Chic guitar licks, string stabs and a mixture of processed and live-sounding four-to-the-floor rhythms.

It’s glossy and polished and though there are noteworthy individual tracks, it just works really well as an album. 

It has a consistent sound, a push and pull, and a clear vision of what it is doing—from the blow-dried hairdo of the artwork to the chunky, vacillating bassline of the fabulous Say Something, which could easily be a Chvrches song. Lyrically it deals with the slings and arrows of love, and through Kylie’s delivery there is always a genuine emotional connection despite the lightness of touch and train sleeper beats.

In the streaming age many ‘legacy’ acts (shudder) like Kylie benefit from the lower distribution costs of their records. Previously, one might feel tangible guilt at not spending £14 (£12 with an MVC card) on the new Paul McCartney or Elvis Costello album, because…y’know…who cares?

Though the bottom has fallen out of vast swathes of the recording industry, with streaming services shouldering part of the blame, they do mean that casual fans can check out the new Kylie album at no added cost. Hopefully that means a genuine broadening of scope and longer careers for artists who still have a great deal to give.

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