Album Review: Kylie Minogue’s Sublime ‘DISCO’
With the world slowly sliding into darkness and despair, Kylie Minogue stepped up like a superhero to spread a little happiness and light with DISCO. The title says it all. The pop icon’s 15th studio album is dedicated to nights under the mirrorball. It’s a love letter to the ’70s dance genre that somehow manages to be both intensely reverent and forward-thinking. Kylie isn’t inserting herself into the past. She’s simply reviving the best parts of it — the razzle-dazzle, silliness and overwhelming sense of inclusion.
When it comes to cohesive party albums, DISCO is impossible to beat. With 16, serotonin-raising bangers (on the deluxe edition), this is one of those rare records that provides the perfect soundtrack for an hour or so of dancing. That doesn’t mean that some cuts don’t shine a little brighter than others. Lead single “Say Something” remains a monumental achievement both for the loveliness of its production and the bittersweet lyrics that express a longing for togetherness — a feeling that resonates so strongly in 2020.
“Say Something” set the bar for DISCO way up in the stratosphere, but the album’s subsequent singles somehow reached similar, dizzying heights. “Magic” ranks as one of Kylie’s best singles of the 21st century, while “I Love It” is a dreamy, romantic bop for the ages. As for the rest of the opus, a handful of songs really stand out on the first listen. “Dance Floor Darling” is a tongue-in-cheek floorfiller that takes me straight back to the high-camp of Light Years. Falling somewhere between “Koocachoo” and “Disco Down,” this is three minutes of dance-pop perfection.
“Where Does The DJ Go?” also towers with its piano intro and Gloria Gaynor-channeling chorus. Yes, it’s another song about twirling the night away, but there’s a faint trace of melancholy that elevates it. “Celebrate You” pulls a similar trick. The loved-up banger begins as a pep talk, before examining the way that love can make you kinder and more forgiving to yourself. It’s a deceptively adult pop song shaped by life lessons. Other highlights include the slinky “Miss A Thing” and funky “Real Groove,” which is definitely single-worthy.
It wouldn’t be a Kylie album unless some of the best songs were relegated to bonus tracks and “Hey Lonely” continues the tradition. This adorable bop reminds me of UK duo Dollar (anyone remember them?) with its bouncy chorus and innate sweetness. “Till You Love Somebody” is another delightful tune, while “Spotlight” ends the album in exactly the way that it started. Namely, with a retro dance anthem that evokes disco greats of old like Kool & The Gang and Earth, Wind & Fire. You owe it to yourself to buy the deluxe edition.
There isn’t a dud to be found on DISCO, but songs like “Monday Blues,” “Last Chance” and “Unstoppable” can probably be described as (very) enjoyable filler. And then there are cuts like “Supernova” and “Fine Wine,” which are complete nonsense, but instantly iconic and utterly lovable. If you need a break from the heaviness of 2020, this is your ticket to another dimension where romance fills the (non-toxic) air and the dance floor is always heaving. Few albums in the history of pop have been as desperately needed as this.