Ought to executives at Mattel comply with by way of with their plans for a full-blown, thousand-year Barbie film franchise, they may take a web page from one other enduring icon and star of the summer season: Kylie Minogue. The similarities between the Australian pop diva and the American trend doll have been remarked upon (and performed into) for the higher half of Minogue’s four-decade profession, however other than the unfailingly sunny demeanor, flamboyant costume modifications, and elemental, virtually psychedelic blondeness, Minogue has at all times foregrounded a humanity that no company property—by no means thoughts most pop stars—may hope to the touch. “Self-knowledge is a very lovely factor and Kylie is aware of herself inside out,” Rufus Wainwright as soon as exclaimed to The Guardian, “she is what she is and there’s no try and make quasi-intellectual statements to substantiate it.” Minogue’s artwork is floor—fabulously so. All through the Nineties and early 2000s, the singer made pop stardom as compelling a web site of projection as Kate Moss was for modeling, collaborating with artists and filmmakers to depict her magnificence and blondness by way of a darkly romantic lens or in campy, theatrical neon. In contrast to Janet Jackson or Madonna, who sought to disclose recent points of their psychology with every new launch, the fiercely personal Minogue has usually opted to current herself at face worth, at the same time as she’s navigated intense private upheaval.
To learn too deeply into the lyrics of a megahit like “Padam Padam” could be an insult, so contemplate its allure: The one, which defied trade expectations, turned an formally sanctioned Delight anthem, sparked dialogue about ageism on UK radio, and dominated the summer season off the again of 1,000,000 TikToks, is a testomony to how invigorating and multifaceted the impact of the singer’s music can nonetheless be. Additionally it is, taken for components, a profoundly bizarre track: the uncommon hookup banger that manages to shout out Édith Piaf, hold time together with your heartbeat, and elicit Pavlovian screams from homosexual bars in a mere two syllables. “Padam Padam” embodies a looseness of idea that barely conflicts with the title of Minogue’s sixteenth album, Stress. It’s the most relaxed of her latest LPs and by far the very best, a return to type that privileges the emotional immediacy and kinetic sensation that’s outlined the very best of her music for years.
Minogue forayed into idea albums with 2018’s countrified Golden and 2020’s DISCO, which yielded a number of plain gems however failed total for the straightforward cause that they didn’t sound fairly like Kylie. Within the strategy of accommodating mirrorballs and cowboy hats, the singer sacrificed a level of spontaneity, leading to a self-conscious sound at odds along with her self-possessed spirit. After drafting after which ditching plans for an ’80s-inspired album, Minogue and her collaborators—producers Biff Stannard, Duck Blackwell, and Jon Inexperienced—deserted overarching themes in favor of a extra informal course of, recording with a transportable mic setup in Airbnbs and resort rooms at any time when inspiration struck. The ultimate product is a compendium of all of the sounds Minogue is finest recognized for: confectionary synth-pop, breezy Euro home, and propulsive EDM.