The issue with Kylie’s new album, ‘Kiss Me Once’, is that it’s not a bad album at all. It’s just not a great one either.
Problems start immediately with album opener and lead single Into The Blue. It’s a perfectly serviceable electro pop track, barely a step away from the polished pop of previous album ‘Aphrodite’. The chorus soars, the production is glossy and it’s all well suited to Kylie’s frothy output, but it’s hardly the killer comeback many have been anticipating. Since signing to Roc Nation, you might expect something a little more progressive, but Into The Blue is content with playing it safe.
That’s a criticism that can be levelled at the album as a whole. ‘Kiss Me Once’ is clearly designed to re-establish Kylie as an artist for the present, but not for the future. Kylie's never been a true innovator necessarily, but she's always been at the forefront of pop – from her ‘indie’ phase, to the gold hotpants and the ubiquitous Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. Now she’s simply playing catch up. The main culprit here is Sexercise: a dirty Rihanna-esque track and a cheap shock tactic that simply doesn’t suit Kylie’s ‘girl next door’ brand of sexy – she’s just too polite. And I’m quite concerned as to what “feel the burn” could mean.
Sexercise is made worse by the subsequent Feels So Good and If Only being the album’s two outstanding tracks. The former is a fizzing, shuffling track stolen from Tom Aspaul (originally entitled Indiana) and produced by MNEK; the latter features a thumping, impassioned earworm of a chorus. Both are excellent examples of slightly offbeat pop, but neither is likely to bring Kylie the sort of commanding success she’s enjoyed in the past.
Elsewhere there are some decent efforts, in particular the electro-funk of Sexy Love, the dance vibes and hand-claps of Fine, and the yearning robot ballad Beautiful (the album’s only slow track). Yet for each of these there’s a Million Miles, a Les Sex, or a Kiss Me Once – vacuous, glossy pop fluff that simply pads out the album. That these songs are from some top writers and producers (from Sia to Pharrell) is even more surprising, considering the album's lack of a distinct hit. It seems that Roc Nation are content with serving up a collection of inoffensive songs that will be enjoyed but soon forgotten. Kylie is capable of so much more.
* Sexy Love
* Feels So Good
* If Only
Listen: 'Kiss Me Once' is released on 17th March.