Kylie Minogue – “Step Back In Time: The Definitive Collection”

Reviewed by Christopher Smith

It’s hardly surprising that with over thirty years in the business, an artist can have numerous hits collections and anthologies in their discography. Kylie is no exception. Her 1992 and 2004 best of’s were well spaced and came at the right time. There have been other minors of course. “Hits +” in 2002 a kind-of ‘greatest hits’ from her deConstruction years and the almost forgettable “Very Best Of” in 2012, the same year as her ‘reimagined’ greatest hits “The Abbey Road Sessions“.

So perhaps fifteen years on from “Ultimate Kylie” this new collection is overdue. A lot has happened since then. “Wow”. “All The Lovers”. Various one-off recordings. “Golden“. Erm…arn’t we forgetting “Kiss Me Once“? So where is “Into The Blue” I hear you cry? Strange that the lead single and for many a Kylie great should be omitted from this album. The tracklisting is a mixed bag. The collection is ‘definitive’ NOT ‘complete’ so with nearly eighty singles released so far, only forty two have made it on to this compilation. As I said, nothing from “Kiss Me Once” yet all of the “Rhythm Of Love” singles are here. “The One” which was a minor digital release in 2008 is here, perhaps as the two videos for the track have a YouTube count of (to date) of over ten million views?

Fan favourite “What Kind Of Fool?” makes its first appearance since the original 1992 “Greatest Hits” and it’s very welcome having almost become a lost child. Only “Give Me Just A Little More Time” makes it from “Let’s Get To It“, no “If You Were With Me Now” a UK No.4 hit from 1991. The two epics from “Kylie Minogue” (1994), “Confide In Me” and “Put Yourself In My Place”, are here, as is “Breathe” from “Impossible Princess“, although I’m pretty sure “Did It Again” outsold the former in both the UK and Australia. All four “Fever” hits are here, naturally, and it’s great to see the wildly popular “Timebomb” making its first appearance on a Kylie long player (who has the CD single?!).

But “Step Back In Time: The Definitive Collection” feels like a lost opportunity in some ways. All those oddball tracks that have been recorded over the past ten years could of been brought together for the first time on disc/LP/tape for Kylie fans to have and cherish in one format. Tracks like the amazing “Right Here Right Now”, Kylie’s version of “Bette Davis Eyes”, “Crystallize”, the Garibay EP/recordings, the Sigala tune “What You Waiting For?” and “The Other Boys” (a US dance hot play chart No.1) all immediately spring to mind. Oh, and what about “Skirt”…?!

Nevertheless, highlights from every year are well represented. From Kylie’s 1987 debut “The Locomotion”, 1988 – “I Should Be So Lucky”, 1989 – “Hand On Your Heart”, 1990 – “Better The Devil You Know”, 1991 – “What Do I Have To Do?”, 1992 – “Give Me Just A Little More Time”, 1994 – “Confide In Me”, 1995 – “Where The Wild Roses Grow”, 2000 – “Spinning Around”, 2001 – “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”, 2002 – “Love At First Sight”, 2003 – “Slow”, 2004 – “I Believe In You”, 2007 – “2 Hearts”, 2008 – “Wow”, 2010 – “All The Lovers”, 2012 – “Timebomb” and 2018 – “Dancing”. Quite a gap between the last two isn’t there!

It is unforgivable that “Into The Blue” is absent from this list, however, “New York City”, recorded for “Golden” and unused, is thankfully present and now available. There is also nothing, strangely, from the Christmas albums. “Only You” would of been a good inclusion and possibly, maybe also “Every Day’s Like Christmas”…? Of course, Kylie’s recent success with the “Golden” album (UK sales alone of 149,000 copies) means that “Dancing” and “Stop Me From Falling” are present, although it may of been more exciting to of used the Gente De Zona version with over fifteen million YouTube views currently on it.

Her 1990 classic “Step Back In Time” (UK No.4, Aus No.5), now nearly thirty years old itself, is perhaps the best title that could be used for this mammoth two hour plus ‘pilgrimage’ through four decades of non-stop hits, image changes, record label changes and name changes from ‘Kylie Minogue’ to ‘Kylie’ and back again twice over. As Kylie’s legs serve as the hands of the giant clock that adorns the cover artwork of this ‘definitive’ discography, we are all transported back to a time in our youth when all that mattered was music and for many, the only music that mattered was that which was being pumped regularly and prolifically from The Hit Factory studios in London. But we have all aged with Kylie herself through the deconstruction years, the Parlophone decades and now with renewed confidence, with BMG Rights Management, who already have one big success (“Golden“) under their belt.

“Definitive” means hits and the many Kylie songs I have mentioned were just that. There are twelve chart toppers (count them!), many number two’s and other gems like Kylie call-to-arms anthem “Your Disco Needs You” and the ‘cult’ Nick Cave duet “Where The Wild Roses Grow”. Niggles and personal observations aside, “Step Back In Time: The Definitive Collection” should do well with multiple formats and bundles available and with Kylie performing a number of shows and festivals this Summer, it will be lapped up and embraced by Kylie fans and the wider public who have all been on this thirty year plus journey into ‘pop precision’!

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Written by aylshamchris

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