Kylie Minogue – “Fever”
Reviewed by Christopher Smith
With the success of “Light Years”, Kylie wasted no time in writing and recording for its follow up. Even with the release of “Your Disco Needs You” in Australia and parts of Europe in early 2001, production was already underway for her eighth studio release. “Light Years” was all about the joys of pop music, its successor would be a refined, more polished offering. The songwriting partnership she had established on “Light Years” with Richard Stannard and Julian Gallagher played a major part in its production, as well as newcomers Pascal Gabriel, Greg Fitzgerald and even 90’s pop sensation Cathy Dennis!
Kylie had already ‘received’ one new song the previous year, thanks to Dennis and former Mud singer Rob Davis. This would serve as the first single and a taste of the album itself. But how soon after “Light Years” would people be ready for something else?(!) Come, let’s feel the fever…
1. More, More, More
“Fever” begins with this breathy, cool-as-ice dance number penned by Liz Winstanley. Kylie’s outstandingly high vocals dominate throughout and its clear from the first few seconds, this is very different territory to the previous album. Could of been a single, with a sexy video to match too!
2. Love At First Sight
Kylie’s debut album in 1988 featured a track called “Love At First Sight”, well here’s LAFS2, the only difference being is this one is much more classy and effortlessly cooler that its namesake. Co-written by Kylie with messrs Stannard and Gallagher, this is superb twenty-first century pop/dance that is perfect for a sunny day and oozes feel-goodness. It was released as the third single from “Fever” in June 2002, peaking at No.2 in the UK, No.3 in Australia and No.23 in the US, as well as topping the US dance hot play chart. The song quickly established itself as a firm fan favourite as is played at all of Kylie’s live shows to rapturous applause.
3. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
The precursor to the album came in September 2001 with this electric track that had been previewed during the On A Night Like This Tour. Cathy Dennis provided the lyrics and Rob Davis the music. Add Kylie into the mix and a killer video, and the world was about to be taken by storm! Originally to be called “Outta My Head”, both song and video were launched to a tidal wave of media interest and radio play. Critics praised the futuristic style of this new Kylie as well as her sheer amazing looks and vocal ability, something that many had previously derided her for. The song set charts across the globe on fire, reaching the top in a staggering twenty four countries! It topped the US dance chart and made No.7 on the singles chart, her highest placing since “The Locomotion” back in 1988. To date it has sold over five million copies globally, by far her biggest seller, as well as receiving dozens of awards and accolades. And who still can’t get “la la la, la la la la la…” out of their head?!
The title track comes next and Kylie has got it real bad, “I’ve been bitten by the bug and I am coming down with oh, something that can’t be cured”! Who else has come down with “oh”?! It’s sexy and certainly suggestive. Kylie has really fallen this time!
5. Give It To Me
The hip, dance style of “Fever” continues with this short, sharp number, even though Kylie tells us “not to fast, make it last for the longest time”. At under three minutes in length, this is by far the shortest track on the album and in some ways, feels slightly alien to its neighbours and surrounding brothers and sisters.
More classy, sophisticated pop/dance now with this gorgeously layered number that perfectly follows on from “More, More, More”. Written and produced by Rob Davis, Kylie voice exudes passion and feeling, whilst at the same allowing a bit of vulnerability in, evidenced in words like “shake and sweat, wipe my brow, scared of what’s to come”. This is chillout pop as it should be and definitely one to play again and again.
7. Come Into My World
The second track written and produced by Cathy Dennis and Rob Davis substitutes “la la la” for “na na na” and is almost identical in every aspect of its composition. This was the fourth and final single released in November 2002 and gave Kylie her fourth consecutive top ten hit in both the UK and Australia. The song also charted in the US on both the Billboard singles chart and the Dance hot play chart and went to to receive a Grammy Award the following year. The clever video sees multiple Kylie’s walking about the streets of Paris with her shopping bags.
8. In Your Eyes
The thumping beat and the plinky-plonky ‘boards of “In Your Eyes” whip you up into a frenzy from the very first second and make you wanna dance, dance, dance. Yet another brilliant anthem that you just cannot get out of your head(!), this is another perfectly crafted number from Kylie, Stannard and Gallagher. Kylie asks “is the world still spinning around?” the answer is yes to the former and yes to this cracking tune. It was released as the second single, a full five months after “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” in early 2002 and topped the chart in Australia. It was also a big top ten hit in fourteen other countries worldwide, including the UK where it reached No.3.
The pop-y “Dancefloor” feels slightly out of place on “Fever”. Almost a hangover from the previous album. It’s a jolly affair and bounces along joyously and will certainly keep you on your toes! Kylie’s had enough of her man and seeks solace on the ‘floor’ “I’m sick and tired of pleasing you, have I had your love, is that the best you can do?” she snaps before shaking her booty and ‘using her body’. She got it!
10. Love Affair
The fantastic electro-pop of “Love Affair” will have you in a frenzy from start to finish. It perfectly compliments tracks like “In Your Eyes” and it’s not surprising, as it’s another cracking offering from Kylie, Stannard and Gallagher. “I am only here for a little while, would you like to take me out to night” yes Kylie, YES! Another one that could of been a potential single…?!
11. Your Love
“Your Love” is a great, lazy, laid-back tune that allows you to chill out from all this dancing. Kylie’s back in love with this number, it’s got her “going around and around” and “tumbling upside down”, and she just wants “you, you, you”…ooh…!
12. Burning Up
“Fever” closes with this awesome stop/start anthem, that’s full of funk, class and disco panache. More high-pitched notes reached by Kylie on the choruses and jerk-motion tracking that makes you want to move your head violently from side to side! Yet another potential, maybe single. Can you feel it burning?
“Fever” was released in October 2001, a little over twelve months on from “Light Years”. With “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” being such a strong lead single, great interest in an album was bound to be immense. But the scale of “Fever”’s success was perhaps beyond even Parlophone or Kylie’s expectations. Topping the chart in six countries and making the top ten in 18 others, this would be her biggest seller since her 1988 debut. “Fever” became her first album to top both the UK and Australian chart. And what really took everyone by surprise was the album entering the US Billboard 200 at number 3 in 2002!
Kylie would take to the road that year with her largest scale tour yet, playing to over half a million people across the world, and to overwhelming critical applause. This was Kylie on top. And it was about time! That year she also did the double at the Brit Awards, collecting the Best International Female Artist and Best International Album statues. She also won ARIA Awards, MTV Awards, a Grammy nomination for “Love At First Sight” and a Grammy Award for “Come Into My World”. The world sat up and listened in 2001-02 and finally even the most hardened of critic’s were silenced. Just what would the ‘red blooded woman’ do next?(!)