KYLIE. The Abbey Road Sessions.
Oh, so arch. After twenty five years of peddling superior – often amazing – pop. Kylie, comes with an sombre reinterpretation of her greatest hits that turns her world inside out. Whilst the thought of an actual, new, Kylie record is becoming rare, this is perhaps that rarest of things in the mid-life-career reinvention, a genuinely good record. Re-recording hits carries such a mundane and dull angle, you have to wonder what is the point? Why? But here, what this shows is that Kylie is has one of the finest back catalogues in pop. Anyone who thinks otherwise is simply a cloth-eared fool. Recasting these songs as string-drenched, sometimes minimal, epic tales instead of stuttering, monochrome, shiny pop, I experience what was previously somewhat bland, obvious pop music, as a brand new experience.
These songs. They've been right under my nose all my life, and I've never quite known them like this ; before, the songs were all pop disco Storm-Und-Drung, smoke & mirrors & thunderclaps, chugging along towards the inevitable 3.12 fade/climax of a broken, hopeful heart. Here though, you get the songs – not the packaging. In this light, the songs live and breathe. “Better The Devil You Know”, for example, is simply one of the best pop songs ever written. Anyone who thinks Stock / Aitken / Waterman weren't better than Motown knows nothing of music. These songs were always there ; they were always hiding. Wrapped in contemporary pop. “Finer Feelings” is one of the great unsung classic pop songs of all time. In the hands of Prince it would be hailed as one of his undisputed classics. These songs are absolute bloody gold. So much more than what you may have considered. These diamonds, hidden in a chunky, syndrum, 120bpm rough. Here, these songs are set for what they are – sincerity wrapped in artifice and camp distance. And then, you get to the heart of it, and the alternative – shallow, unthinking artifice wrapped in trickery and lies – is a horrific prospect that endangers far too much of recent modern music.
Aside from the barely tolerable, empty and joyless rutting of “The Locomotion”, it's all essential. And, with a common theme – that props up all the best music – of unrequited, or briefly-tasted-and-lost, love and romance, “Can't Get You Out Of My Head” is the song that expresses perhaps, the wanton desire of washing up ; 'set me free', she croons, 'stay forever. And ever. And ever.', with some kind of terrifying, supernatural obsession, echoing “The Shining”, and also that moment when, tidying up the childrens toys, the loafing oaf you married resembles, in our memory, if only for a second the Adonis that made the child with you. And in this all, the girl and the boy that we once were is there, and for a second here, you can see them again. It's in your ears. In your world.
This is the best record Kylie has ever made. EVER. Adore it. Love it. Live it. Enjoy yourself.