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After watching what was a pretty underwhelming Royal Variety show this week (give or take a dancing dog and Bill Bailey), it suddenly dawned on me that a change had taken place in one of my fellow gays’ favourite pop princesses. Now at 44 years old and with an estimated 70 million record sales under her tiny belt, Kylie Minogue has decided that it’s time to hang up the gold hotpants (perhaps I’ll join her one of these days) and to age gracefully.
Looking every bit a lady, Kylie treated us to a performance of a brand new version of her classic dance hit ‘On A Night Like This’. It’s taken from her most recent album, The Abbey Road Sessions, which is a unique take on a Greatest Hits release to celebrate 25 years in the business. Kylie has narrowed the album down to 15 of her favourites singles, from over 50 tracks spanning her lengthy career (as well as one new track, ‘Flower’). She has completely re-recorded and re-arranged them with a much more orchestral and glamorous feel, creating what sounds like something completely new. Unlike Madonna, desperately pulling in Nicki Minaj and LMFAO for her latest album, apparently thinking her music still appeals to a teen audience, Kylie has cleverly tapped into the Adult Contemporary Pop market, producing an album suited to a more mature, Radio 2 audience, who possibly remember some of the songs the first time around and who still buy CD’s, listen to music in the car and have a spare tenner to spend.
My first real memory of Kylie would be having photos of her and Jason Donovan on my wall around the age of 5 and probably dancing to the Locomotion at some pub disco. Looking back at that era it seems that Kylie Minogue was a little bit of a novelty act with little credibility as a recording artist, not helped by her fame-hungry sister, Dannii cashing in on things with her terrible version of ‘This Is It’. It all looked like a bit of a flash-in-the-pan gimmick that would be over as quickly as it began. Roll forward into the 90’s and other than the fan favourite, ‘Confide In Me’, things took a turn for the worst with her poor attempt at jumping on the Britpop wagon, leading to slumping sales and being dropped by her record label. It was all over. So we may have thought.
Now I have never claimed to be a Kylie fan particularly, though I do find her quite likeable when interviewed and I can concur that her early 00’s comeback was quite remarkable. A cheeky little bottom in those gold pants and one of the catchiest song of the 00’s (‘Spinning Around’), followed a year later by the white outfit with the tit-tape and an even catchier song (‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’) was genius. But as her record sales started to steadily drop again with a few duff single choices that the critics didn’t go for (‘Slow’, ‘2 Hearts’, ‘Timebomb’), made worse since somehow her untalented sister was suddenly in the public eye even more thanks to The X Factor, I was left wondering where Kylie could go from here? Clearly she was no longer appealing to the teen-female market, nor the boys, and was the pink pound strong enough to ever score her another chart topper?
Major props to the brains behind The Abbey Road Sessions though, as it’s the perfect way to continue Kylie’s success and guarantee maximum Christmas exposure. It will almost certainly see her with a place on most talk shows singing in front of a big Christmas tree in some glitzy sequinned number. I had never imagined that in 2012, it would be possible to hear such a credible, inspired and almost beautiful version of ‘I Should Be So Lucky’, but what a wonderful way to celebrate a quarter of a century as the pint-sized princess of pop – Long live Kylie!