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.