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    Got the sound of you ringin’ in my ears

    Been busy of late. Lots of news, though. The best is that Virginia Postrel seems to be doing well with her cancer treatment and is posting again. Best wishes to her.

    Speaking of recovered cancer patients…KYLIE! Of course. Some people seem to be bewildered that her new album doesn’t address all the profound, life-changing experiences she’s had in the last few years, which only makes you wonder whether they’ve ever heard her music before. Kylie is not Madonna, who apparently regards every thought that floats through her head and everything that happens to her as deeply meaningful and worthy of picking over in song. Kylie is an entertainer, and (bless her heart) seems to feel no need to sing about elements of her personal life if she can’t do so in a way that pleases her fans.

    The new album is good, of course. With the glut of super-skilled writer/producers for hire and all the technology at their disposal, no dance diva with a recording budget will ever make a truly bad album again, I suspect. “The One” is a terrific-sounding rip-off of Madonna’s terrific-sounding rip-off of Kylie’s previous terrific-sounding rip-off of Madonna’s previous terrific-sounding rip-off of “I Feel Love.” And so on.

    The thing is, about half the songs on X would, frankly, have better served the strengths of her sister. Dannii Minogue has a deadpan, husky voice that’s emotionally blank but stays immediately recognizable even when processed to death–perfect for imprinting a brand on club songs on which the beat is the point. She goes with the mechanical flow…kind of like an antipodean Britney without the skank factor.

    But Kylie’s gift is for humanizing dance-pop. Fans want to hear her coo, sigh, burble, pout, and wail, and there’s little room for that in the kinds of brittle, boxed-in tracks everyone’s making these days. Stuck, like Madonna’s “Jump,” two thirds of the way through is the most affecting song on the album: “No More Rain.” Looking forward to the remixes, especially if someone actually comes up with a bassline that hasn’t been done to death.

    And please, can we consign “Nu-di-ty” to outer darkness while there’s still time? No Kylie album is complete without one track that totally sucks, but really! These things do have their limits.

    6 Responses to “Got the sound of you ringin’ in my ears”

    1. jason says:

      hmmm….”Body Language” was such a disaster (“Chocolate” being the only interesting track) that I’m not immediately inclined to check this out. Your review isn’t exactly changing my mind!

      I agree wholeheartedly with your Kylie-vs-Madonna comparison, and also agree with the notion that Kylie is a bad fit for the “boxed-in tracks everyone’s making these days”….but “everyone” has ALWAYS made boxed-in tracks, that’s what makes the special artists special.

      “Light Years” and “Fever” are full of enthusiasm and musicianship and life, yet the standard of radio (or dancefloor) music in those years was “boxed-in” just as it is now.

      So yeah I’ll pass on the new album.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      I probably should have said something like “claustrophobic”–I wasn’t referring to the way artists get boxed in by their individual sound. I meant the way a lot of dance tracks nowadays fill every bit of space with noise so that the voice ends up just kind of wedged in there somewhere. Personally, I liked most of Body Language. “Chocolate” was okay, though I liked the video better than the song. But that fake-Justin Timberlake song…”Red-Blooded Woman”…was a flat-out annoyance.

      To me, the new album is worth it for six or so great songs. And the rest, with one or two exceptions, is good stuff; it’s just that it’s good could-be-anyone stuff, not good Kylie stuff. We’ll see what she does with it live and how it’s remixed.

      BTW, who let Celine f’ing Dion out of house arrest in Vegas and let her record another album?! Every time I think we’re rid of her for good….

    3. John says:


      BTW, who let Celine f’ing Dion out of house arrest in Vegas

      Heh. My wife almost dragged me to one of her last concerts in Vegas. Fortunately, we were already there to see one of her other favorite singers, Feng Fei Fei.

      She also knew that payback would be a bitch. She dragged my ass to see a Yani concert when we were dating, and then I dragged her to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert in West By God Virginia.

    4. Alice says:

      Yes, I thought Celine was dead, and then she popped up in the middle of some random TV show. Frightening.

    5. Sean Kinsell says:

      John:

      “My wife almost dragged me to one of her last concerts in Vegas.”

      Wow. Dodged a bullet there! I suspect, though, that she may be more engaging live; she seems like an enthusiastic enough entertainer when you see her interviewed.

      Alice, yes, modern life requires constant vigilance, huh?

    6. debby says:

      Dannii Minogue is a better singer thank Kylie.

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