2020: An ‘unstoppable’ year for Kylie!
2020 has been dominated by just one thing for Kylie, the completion and release of her fifteenth studio album, “Disco“, that came two and a half years after her last, “Golden”. Kylie had started writing and recording in 2019 but following global lockdown in the Spring of 2020, Kylie deferred recording to her own home studio where she also engineered her own vocals for the very first time. As excitement mounted for a possible release date, would it be 2020 or 2021, Kylie launched her next era, with some surprise, in July with the announcement of the lead single from the project – lights – lips – sssay something…
Kylie’s return to pop came with the help of Richard Stannard and Ash Howes, two collaborators from her early Parlophone years who along with Kylie, fashioned something very different to anything heard before. Sounding out of this world, the song met with rave reviews and a welcome return by her fans. Having established itself for four weeks on radio and digital airways, Kylie released the equally galactic video, half real action and half CGI images and with at least a billion stars shooting all over the screen, Kylie – horse mounted for some and wrapped in baking foil for the rest – bangs her message home “can we all be as one again?” with Star Wars style laser beams. The video is reminiscent of “The One” in look and it’s clear to see this was a video shot in extreme and unusual circumstances. The song would eventually make No.4 on the UK sales chart and No.56 on the top 100, while reaching No.18 on the US dance club songs chart, her first appearance on that chart since “Dancing” back in 2018.
“Say Something” is both a visual and dramatic song to hear, with choirs providing the backing vocals to the chorus line and particularly over the end choruses of the song as Kylie proclaims “this IS love” on more than one occasion! Perhaps doing her own voice and the song more justice was the later released acoustic version of “Say Something”, in which Kylie really stretches her vocal chords as an eye opening to how a full album may sound…and speaking of album’s, it was around this time she announced the title of album number fifteen. While some websites claimed this was to be called “Kylie”, clearly not a goer as this was the title of her debut album, your author pretty much got it right when asked what he thought a potential title would be, he replied, “KylieDisco”(!) As simple as it may sound, “Disco” was indeed unveiled as the title of this next chapter!
“Say Something” played constantly throughout the Summer, a time when many were still ‘imprisoned’ by lockdown restrictions and was a welcome escape to the dramas of real life. It wasn’t long before we got a second slice of the new album as September brought the completely magnificent “Magic“. Now THAT’S disco! The song really stepped back in time to Kylie’s early years but also further back to the great disco-pop songs of the end of the 1970’s and early 1980’s with any number of references and nods to classic song titles and sounds. Just a few hours separated the release of the track and the video, which saw Kylie back on the dancefloor, in a club with a wash of colour effects, enthroned in gold chainmail as she commands the stage and questions us all. “do you, believe in magic?”. YES we do. “Magic” has got to be one of her greatest recordings ever and judging by the reaction received by fans and critics, the song has quickly placed itself high on lists of the very best Kylie tunes of all time as well as the best songs of 2020, around the world.
“Magic” cemented itself so well, it went to No.2 in the UK single sales chart, Kylie’s highest placing since “I Believe In You” in 2004, as well as making No.53 on the top 100 and No.17 in the US on the dance club play songs chart. Kylie performed “Magic” on both UK and US television with a multi-coloured visual backdrop to lift the song out of her fanbase and into the mainstream, and it certainly worked wonders! With “Disco’s” release coming on November 6th, Kylie wetted appetites further with the release of album track “I Love It” in October, only one month after “Magic” and this slipped further into the disco stream, if only with a very large dose of Gloria Estefan Latin sounding vibes. More superb and crystal clear vocals abound as it became ever more apparent that Kylie really was on top of this era on both production and sound.
And so to November 6th. Midnight strikes and the world gets its ‘hands’ on “Disco” for real. As reviewed the moment it came out, the album was just a non stop riot of outstanding disco tunes, like “Miss A Thing”, “Unstoppable” and “Supernova” to name just a few. Deeper in and you discover some quite magnificent tunes the likes of which Kylie has never delivered to date. “Dance Floor Darling” and “Celebrate You” ranking high in this category. “Disco” was a surefire smash upon release and lead the sales in many countries from day one. Her number one entry in both ‘home’ territories, Australia and the UK, was hardly surprising, especially as the prospect of a n eighth UK chart topper would mean she would be the only female artist to achieve number one albums in five consecutive decades. Kylie’s fan duly rose to this and delivered sales far in excess of “Golden” two and a half years later. Internationally, “Disco” charted top ten in multiple countries not scaled for some years. Over in the US, “Disco” entered at No.26, her third highest entry and only seven places lower than “Aphrodite”, ten years earlier.
“Disco” has yet to ignite properly. Hopefully as the world settles back into some form of normality during 2021, Kylie will be able to tour properly, although judging from the Intimate Disco online performance the day following the album’s release, this could be the most visual effected tour yet with multi-coloured dance floors and disco balls of all shapes and sizes to boot. With Gold and Silver discs already credited to the album after just a month on release, “Disco” will, hopefully, remain a constant into 2021 and beyond. And there’s a “Real Groove” to end the old year and kick the new one to start with…
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