The unlikely partnership of Kylie Minogue and a Brother In Rhythm – 30 years of “Finer Feelings”
Kylie Minogue has spent much of her career fostering strong and long-lasting relationships with a number of key individuals. One such occurred thirty years ago and it’s been proven time and time again in order to keep Kylie on top and at the top.
In 1991, British producers and DJ’s Brothers In Rhythm (Steve Anderson and Dave Seaman) broke out commercially and had a big hit with “Such A Good Feeling”. In 1992, the ‘good feeling’ continued when they remixed the otherwise dull album track, “Finer Feelings”, for Kylie and gave her not only a successful chart hit but some badly needed credibility.
“Finer Feelings” was the fourth song on Kylie’s fourth album, “Let’s Get To It“. While the album had won a few new critics for its brave and more mature sound than previous releases, the era had been noticeable for declining sales and chart positions. Things had not got off to a good start with lead single “Word Is Out” becoming the first to miss the UK top ten at the end of August 1991. Much better received was her duet with American soul singer Keith Washington, “If You Were With Me Now”, while her cover of Chairmen of The Board’s 1970 hit “Give Me Just A Little More Time” helped put things back on an even and more expectant track.
“Let’s Get To It” itself suffered in these conditions as well as with a changing music scene, one in which the style and sound of PWL and the now reduced Stock/Waterman production duo struggled to enjoy the success they had done only two years earlier. While “Too Much Of A Good Thing” and “I Guess I Like It Like That” were highlighted as standouts, “Let’s Get To It” couldn’t near or even match the chart placings or volumes sold of its three predecessors. In the early months of 1992, with the tour to support the album winding down, attention began to focus on Kylie’s future. Would it be with the label that had launched her five years earlier or would she seek opportunities elsewhere. Before any announcements and plans were made, the LGTI era enjoyed a surprise and very welcome Indian summer.
“It’s just sex, without the sexual healing”
“Finer Feelings” could not be described as a standout of the album. A low-key, down-tempo almost a Soul ballad that could very easily have been replaced with something else, but ‘with love’, Brothers In Rhythm, at Kylie’s request, set about completely restructuring the tune with an edgy beat, classy keys and some great shuffling sounds. In doing so, they turned a track written by Mike (Stock) and Pete (Waterman) into something very different, something very cool and something very daring for Kylie to unleash upon her fanbase and the music industry. Released on 13th April 1992, reaction to “Finer Feelings” was one of almost universal praise and support. Praise for the risk taken to remix and release the song with a credible production team and support for her vocal maturity and handling of the sensual video that accompanied the song, directed by David Hogan and filmed in Paris. In a year that saw Madonna release the “Erotica” album, Kylie’s “Finer Feelings” was a walk in the park compared to more promiscuous invitations that would be offered.
“Finer Feelings” entered the UK chart at No.14 and climbed to No.11 the follow week, higher than the era’s lead single had achieved, although success in her native home country was less forthcoming, the song peaking at No.60, her lowest ever at that point. Not only was the single and the reproduction helped with the epic, extended BIR remix, running in at nearly seven minutes in length, but was also blessed with a new, previously unheard song, “Closer”, co-written by Kylie. As with “Do You Dare?”, “Closer” was a faster-paced techno-dance tune with repetitive lyrics and a hypnotic rhythm running through it. Two for the price of one?
Although not one of her more talked about releases, “Finer Feelings” drew and end to an indifferent era in Kylie’s career and, as it would turn out, the last era pre-greatest hits with PWL Records. The song has an affection, however, with Kylie fans and has been reborn on several occasions to much delight. It featured in the ballads section on her Fever2002 world tour, accompanied by “The Crying Game”, “Put Yourself In My Place” and “Dangerous Game” against a backdrop of Latin guitars and sung as acappella. More prominent, “Finer Feelings” was one of the yesteryear recordings ‘reinvented’ by Kylie for her orchestral greatest hits album, “The Abbey Road Sessions” in 2012. Kylie also played this new version at the BBC Proms in Hyde Park that same year, once again showing how her vocal is so ideally suited to this often demanding and dramatic song.
They did it again
Kylie would forge a strong bond with Brothers In Rhythm from this collaboration that would become pivotal when she moved to deConstruction Records in early 1993. Together, they would turn out a number of songs, not all of them making the final ten that would make up the “Kylie Minogue” album in 1994, but chiefly, Anderson and Seaman would create a new and more confident sound for Kylie with tracks like “Surrender”, “Dangerous Game” and the all important lead single, “Confide In Me”. Brothers In Rhythm were back in 1996-97 for her next project that would see DanceKylie morph into IndieKylie. The team would produce many of Kylie’s self-written journeys into the dark including the opening ‘shocker’ “Too Far” and the single “Did It Again”. Beyond deConstruction, Kylie and Steve Anderson would work to create a new stage for her music as he would become the musical director for all her tours in the 21st century.
Kylie and Steve would pen and record any number of outstanding songs together, too many to list, but highlights include “Ocean Blue” and “Bittersweet Goodbye“, as well as being the central producer for the “Abbey Road Sessions” album, which, of course, featured the song that brought them together, “Finer Feelings”, proving that passions do not die. Kylie sang of having a good heart, a free mind, a good life and a good time. The first has always been true. The second would come true at the end of 1992. The third became the title of a later recording the pair would write. The fourth has continued to be true beyond 1992 and still is to this very day. It ain’t love, without the “Finer Feelings”!
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