It’s not the end of the world, it’s just the start of me and you

I expected a lot of things this year.  A new Kylie Minogue single was NOT one of them.

But as it turns out, we’re getting one anyway, to which I can only say YAY!  A thousand times YAY! And what’s even better is it’s the type of effortless pop music that I swear Kylie does in her sleep.

This is all a part of her year long celebration of 25 years in the music business – K25 as it’s known on Twitter and other such places.  It’s hard to believe that she’s really been doing this for 25 years.  But then again, like most things that are amazing, it seems like it should be so much longer as well because I can’t imagine a world without Kylie music in it.  Even though I didn’t follow Kylie’s career for most of the 90s, I was quick to buy up pretty much everything released during that time once she came roaring back with the Fever album and, more specifically “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head.”  With the exception of the album Body Language, which I still have a hard time with, it’s been nothing but a love affair since then.  She made the best pop album of her career (and maybe anyone else’s) with 2010’s Aphrodite, and I even had the privilege of seeing her live in May of 2011 – something I never thought would happen considering her low level of mainstream popularity in the U.S.

So what can I say about “Timebomb” that hasn’t been said on a million other blogs?  It’s a pretty perfect beginning-of-summer single.  Kylie sounds great – she’ll never sing at the Met, but her voice is perfect for the kind of pop music that she does.  Still, her live voice is pretty amazing, even though she does have a backing track like most artists of her ilk do when on tour.  It’s 2 minutes and 57 seconds of just the kind of stuff I want to listen to during the summer.  If you pair this song with Madonna’s “Turn Up The Radio” from MDNA, we have the beginning of a great summer soundtrack.  “Turn Up The Radio” is equally lightweight and fun and honestly, that’s what I’m in the mood for this summer.  I mean, lyrically, “Timebomb” is not going to win any songwriting awards especially with lyrics like this:

Tell me now, woo
Do you wanna, wanna, wanna, woo
I wanna, wanna dance like it was the last dance of my life
I wanna woo, wanna, wanna, wanna, wanna, woo
Do you wanna, wanna dance, like it was the last dance.

But here’s the thing – the pop blogosphere has exploded in joyous exuberance over the latest Kylie offering.  However, I’m trying to think of what the reaction would have been had this been a new Madonna single.  Here’s what I think would have happened.  Die hard Madonna fans everywhere would be decrying the simplistic lyrics and lack of deep subject matter.  They would call it “beneath her” and “not worthy of her legacy.”  Basically, they’d be pissing all over it.  Yet Kylie offers it up and we all have a collective orgasm over its awesomeness.  This all got me to thinking about whether or not we hold Madonna to an impossibly high standard.  Is it because she’s shown that she can produce brilliant work that is deep and meaningful like Like A Prayer and Ray of Light as well as going to the dance well and coming up with something amazing like Confessions on a Dance Floor?  Since we know she can do it, do we just end up expecting it every time and when she puts out something like “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (that we would have all jizzed over had it been a Kylie song), we turn up our noses and walk away?

I don’t know.  I do think that the Kylie does not have to meet the same standards that Madonna does – at least to the dedicated fans.  And it’s why I love Kylie as well as Madonna.  Sometimes, I just want to dance.

I hesitated before I posted this because sometimes I feel like every blog I read talks about the same things, especially when it comes to pop music.  But after a conversation with a friend yesterday, I realized that maybe not everybody reading my blog reads the same pop blogs that I do and, because I choose to write about this kind of stuff, it exposes those folks to a style of music that may be off their beaten track.  For some readers, this could be the only indication in their sphere that Kylie Minogue has a new single out.  Or that Kylie Minogue even exists.

So watch the “Timebomb” video.  Kylie looks AMAZING.  She always seems so engaged in whatever she’s doing and, as one of the commenters on the YouTube video says, she smiles, which is something I think Madonna could do a little bit more of (although she was all smiles at the Sticky & Sweet show I saw.)  Every now and then, when I’m listening to or watching Kylie, I fleetingly remember that she’s a breast cancer survivor.  To think that we might have missed out on all this.  It would have been a damn crying shame.


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8 Responses to It’s not the end of the world, it’s just the start of me and you

  1. Elliot says:

    Kylie was massive in the UK especially around the time of “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”. She is kind of adopted over there, especially after the cancer.

    • Dan says:

      The UK seems to have really sustained an interest in her. It’s almost like in the US, there’s room for a finite number of pop divas, and Madonna took up so much space that there wasn’t room for anyone else.

      • Elliot says:

        I think the UK had a soft spot for her when she first appeared at the end of the eighties in Australian soap drama “Neighbours” which was big amongst teens in those days. It just continued from there, especially after she turned into “sexy Kylie”.

  2. Dan, I definitely had a mildy more measured response to the new Kylie single. I definitely like it, but it’s also not her best-ever, which some of my fellow music bloggers were saying. Better than the pop hypnotism of “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”? The unbridled exuberance of “All The Lovers”? Not at all (and those are just two).

    I do think Kylie is held to a different (lower) standard than Madonna, but as I said on Twitter, let’s see where things are at a decade from now. Ten years separate the two pop artists, and Madonna faces some obvious ageism (and disdain for pop) when some folks weigh her new music, for sure. She’s rewriting the rules of what it means to be a pop star (sales figures aside), and if Kylie hits K35, she’ll absolutely benefit.

    Also, your point re: blogs posting the same things is an excellent one. I try to remind myself of the same on those (frequent) occasions when I’m wont to wonder, like Peggy Lee, “Is that all there is?”

    • Dan says:

      John, I almost mentioned your comment about K35 in the post but in the end, I left it off. I think that, while it’s true that there’s 10 years of chronological age between the two, they really are more or less contemporaries – with maybe only 5 years difference between the two. Still, I think you raise a valid point that Kylie is obviously going to not suffer the ageism of being a female pop artist in her 50s, plus I also think that most people in the US couldn’t give a shit about what she does so therefore, she doesn’t suffer the intense media scrutiny that Madonna does. So a little bit apples and oranges I suppose, but the comparisons are hard to ignore.

      I don’t know that “Timebomb” is better than the songs you mentioned, or any number of Kylie classics (I have a major soft spot for “Wouldn’t Change A Thing”) but for me, it was that it came out of nowhere with no real promo or anticipation save a couple days heads up on the part of Kylie’s team. Being surprised by pop in this day and age is a pretty rare thing indeed, so perhaps that has fed into my response to the song.

      Kylie just seems to be having so much more fun than Madonna these days. Maybe it was the whole “brush with death” thing, but she seems to be living each day to the fullest. So many times when I see Madonna interviewed, she just doesn’t seem very happy and, while I think the tour will be great, her heart is just not really in it any longer.

      And, of course, this could all be complete bullshit!

  3. John Hill says:

    I think you kind of grazed the issue with Madonna in the last comment, but honestly the US has gotten to the point where they don’t care about Madonna until she puts herself out there (the general public, anyway). To me, the difference is that Madonna ACTS like she cares what the public thinks, while Kylie somehow comes over as nonchalant. Whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter…the perception is damning enough.

    And I loved this song INSTANTLY. It was the soundtrack in my head for Chicago this weekend.

    • Dan says:

      When I saw Kylie live last year, I remember commenting to Robbie that while she is a diva, she doesn’t act like one (or maybe he said that to me, I can’t remember.) Anyway, Kylie is still very much of the “oh! I can’t believe you like it!” camp whereas Madonna is “give up your handbag to come to my show.” While both are attractive on a certain level, Kylie’s is much more likely to draw in fans, at least in my opinion.

      I loved the song right away too. I didn’t get to hear it properly until the last night in Chicago and it was pretty amazing.

  4. Jude Quinn says:

    Don’t forget Kylie gave birth to a fantastic album with powerful, deep and dark lyrics in the 1997’s overlooked “Impossible Princess”.

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