Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
One of her overall best - beginning to end!
on February 11, 2011
Kylie's eleventh studio album changed directions from the previous three (`Fever', `Body Language' and `X'), which had (on several of their tracks) adopted a harder edge as compared with albums 1-7. `Aphrodite' gets back to being smooth; for instance, the power synths on `X' have given way to atmospheric, strongly reverberant, and at times breathy patches, such that at times the lyrics are difficult to decipher. The emotions expressed, and the melodies and harmonies tend towards more intense sorts than many on some of the songs on `Light Years' (album #7, the last of her CD's that can be characterized as `smooth' all the way through), though here, there is plenty of playfulness as well.
The storytelling, formal structure and progressions, the melodic expressiveness, etc. hearken back to quality tunes from Sixties groups as diverse as Jefferson Airplane, (the) Four Tops, and the Supremes. Quite frankly, much of the songwriting, arrangements and performances are baffling, stunning, exemplary, and so on. Surely I wouldn't quite put it on the level of `Surrealistic Pillow', but the comparison is instructive.
I'm not convinced that the overall quality, variety, and flow of the tracks quite matches Minogue's other two best overall efforts, those being `Let's Get to It' (album #4) and `Fever' (album #7). But more careful and long-term listening may change my opinion about it.
THE INDIVIDUAL SONGS:
"All the Lovers" [5++ stars]
The song set begins with this marvelous exhortation to dance. The video, which can be found on both You-Tube and on the CD single, is not to be missed - you'll know the version to which I'm referring when you see the growing pyramid of dancers with Kylie at the apex - the song is extraordinarily uplifting, in consonance with the visual metaphor.
"Get Outta My Way" [5 +++ stars]
Emotional anthem not unlike "Spinning Around" (from `Light Years') in terms of lyrical theme; jacks up the emotional intensity to an even more feverish pitch; continues the exhortation to dance begun with the previous track.
"Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love Tonight)" [5++ stars]
Great `audience-participation' and dance track. Took awhile for me to warm up to this one, but it really does work well - a true "feel good" song
"Closer" [5++++++ stars]
Blistering dance track - one of her best ever - breathy synthesizer sounds and intensely moving melodic lines make for an immersion experience. Kylie goes out of her mind on this one (in a good way of course)!
"Everything is Beautiful" [5 +++++++ stars]
This medium-tempo stunner took awhile for me to get used to - now I'm convinced it's one of the finest songs I've ever heard/experienced.
"Aphrodite" [5+++ stars]
By terms boastful and blistering - great contrasts in terms of levels of intensity, and the humorous vocal hook "can you feel me in stereo?" (shades of "Speakerphone" from `X') drive this back and forth, in and out, all around.
"Illusion" [5+++++++++ stars]
Reminds me, not in terms of style, but of emotional intensity, story-telling, melodic inventiveness, imaginative formal structure/progression (etc.) of the best of the Supremes from the mid-sixties, especially "Reflections", but also "Love is Here - Now You're Gone", "Love is Like an Itching in My Heart", and so. The comparison with Motown song-writing, arranging and all-star backing tracks can be found all over this CD and many other Kylie tracks in terms of quality, even though the styles are very different, and from different eras.
"Better than Today" [5 stars]
Another medium-tempo gem! Please locate and view the video, which very much helps tell the story via great choreography, shifting camera angles, costumes, and so on.
"Too Much" [4½ stars]
A blistering dance track (not so much a listening track) - this does some of the things "Aphrodite" does, though not quite as well. I wouldn't ever kick it off the dance floor, though; and I'd not be surprised if while dancing to it, at various junctures, my head suddenly would fly off - metaphorically, of course!
"Cupid Boy" [5++++ stars]
Kylie lets loose even more than on "Aphrodite". Though the levels of intensity don't vary quite as much; overall it's at least as strong, churning out more interesting melodic contours, and with greater suppleness.
"Looking For an Angel" [5+++ stars]
The varying emotional signatures in the different sections make this one a stunner after enough times listening to it. And you can't argue against a song that uses the word "seraphim" in it.
"Can't Beat the Feeling" [4½ stars]
A fine up-tempo love song. Though the melody is rather on the boring side, the way it's decorated via harmony, changing textures and intensity makes for an emotionally appealing listening and dance experience.