Why have a Top Ten when you can have one more? We rank Kylie's finest ahead of her performance at BBC Radio 2 In The Park
Melbourne-native and critic-crowned Princess of Pop, Kylie Minogue has come a long way since fixing fan belts on Ramsay Street.
With a Grammy, three BRIT awards and countless other accolades under her belt, Kylie is the biggest Australian recording artist of all time having sold over 80 million records worldwide.
And, like many of the greats, she’s had to work hard to constantly reinvent herself in an industry that likes to write off female recording artists once they’re past their ‘prime’ – i.e. their thirties.
She’s beaten breast cancer. She smashed the legends slot at Glastonbury. She’s good mates with Nick Cave. The Queen loved her. She is an LGBTQ activist, style hero, and an absolute hun in the most glorious sense of the term (she has her own brand of rosé, ffs). Ultimately, Kylie is a woman of the people, and boy, does she keep giving.
With a headline slot at BBC Radio 2 In The Park coming up, here are Kylie’s top 11 tracks. Grab your gold hotpants and dig right in…
11. Where The Wild Roses Grow
(Murder Ballads, 1996)
The Australian collab no-one knew they needed (but now can’t live without). The unification of pixie pop princess Minogue with vampire king Nick Cave was nothing short of genius. True, this song is officially a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds tune (ft. our ‘wild rose’ Kylie), and yes, it is about bashing her teeth in with a rock, but still. Gloriously dark and evocative, there’s a reason this still makes it into any definitive Kylie playlist.
10. Padam Padam
The fresh blood in this round-up, summer club hit ‘Padam Padam’ (the first single from forthcoming album Tension) handed Kylie another belter of a comeback – proof that female artists so indelicately labelled as ‘past it’ can still deliver the goods on an epic scale. Beloved by her dedicated LGBTQ fanbase (it was an anthem for Pride parades including NYC and London), this track delivers a massive wallop of infectious Kylie electronica for the generation that never knew her as a trainee mechanic.
9. Love At First Sight
Wait, is that… Daft Punk? Nope. It’s Kylie again, jumping on a sound that the kids were going crazy for and giving it her own signature KM lick. French House was massive, and so was Kylie’s Fever album. As a track, it has everything that era demanded – a jangly, nu-disco belter about falling in love in the early noughties, when people snogged on sticky dancefloors, strapped heels on in packed taxis, and went home with glitter in their knickers. Sublime, just like Minogue herself.
8. All The Lovers
Opening with a breathy “dance, it’s all I want to do”, this synthy anthem has a sweet sadness underneath its many layers. It’s a song about coming to terms with the past, yet looking forward to what’s ahead; be that under a glitterball or the weight of a recent break-up. The tenderness of Kylie’s voice at the bridge is like a reassuring hand in yours, leading you into the moving throng of a packed club without any fear because she’s 100% with you. Ms Minogue makes everyone feel beautiful.
7. Better The Devil You Know
(Rhythm Of Love, 1990)
The most vintage addition to this Kylie list (disclaimer: ‘The Loco-Motion’, ‘I Should Be So Lucky’, and ‘Step Back In Time’ also deserve honorary mentions), this is alchemist songwriting trio Stock, Aitken and Waterman at their very finest. Actually, it could be argued that out of Kylie’s early pop career, this was the track that went on to really secure her sound. Two parts disco, one part kitsch, all muddled together with a whopping chorus that still gets fans dancing in fields thirty years later.
6. In Your Eyes
Another banging single from the stratospheric Fever, ‘In Your Eyes’ was something of a low-key favourite among fans that didn’t just stick to the obvious tracks on the album. It’s everything you want a Kylie single to be: disco beats with a Europop edge, a chorus that gets into your head like the most sparkly of earworms, and our girl adding a bit of brazen innuendo with the gloriously sexy: ‘I want to make it with you’. So slick. So Kylie Minogue.
(Light Years, 2000)
The second collab to make the list, ‘Kids’ features the cheeky boyband member turned solo superstar Robbie Williams – and what a joy this single is. There are only a few choruses out there in the history of music that actually make you want to ascend a staircase, any staircase, in such dramatic fashion. Plus, the track features a beat sample from 1973 classic soul banger ‘Give Me Your Love’ by Sisters Love. Played live (and yes, Kylie has performed this with Bono in the past), and very loud, expect the place to kick right off.
(Body Language, 2003)
Oof. When Kylie chooses to take a break from her usual disco-pop sound, she does it in style. Dark, so plinky synthy it’s borderline ludicrous, ‘Slow’ saw KM dabble in the world of (dare we say it without ruffling some feathers) minimal techno, with magnificent effect. Paired back yet fizzing with electronic undertones, ‘Slow’ places Kylie’s breathless and hypnotic vocal front and centre – is it any wonder it’s reportedly her favourite song from her own back catalogue?
3. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
Everyone remembers where they were when this song came out. The millennium had been and gone. People were suddenly giddy for a bunch of New York scruffs called The Strokes. And then, boom. Kylie Minogue releases ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ and the world loses its mind. That dance routine. That white jumpsuit. That chorus (written and produced by the incomparable Cathy Dennis and Rob Davis) that backdropped what felt like a thousand nights out. This single defies a lot of pop rules, the main one being that it starts with the “la, la, la” chorus – not unheard of, but certainly unusual – plus, the whole structure of the song feels fragmented, a bit like the club scene at that time. Needless to say, if it wasn’t for the fact it was so horrendously overplayed for what felt like three years, ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ would have taken top billing in this Kylie Plus One. But, it stands as a worthy bronze medallist for sure.
2. Confide in Me
(Kylie Minogue, 1994)
When Minogue went indie. ‘Confide In Me’ is the dark horse pipping second place in this illustrious Kylie playlist. Why? Because it’s probably the bravest track in her back catalogue and definitely the most bewitching. Violin overtures meet Middle Eastern instruments while KM’s vocals soar, imploring us to tell her our darkest secrets. Produced by British trio Brothers in Rhythm, ‘Confide In Me’ allowed Kylie to dig deeper. The video, featuring Kylie in various outfit kinks (club girl, baby doll, growling goth), suggested multiple personalities hiding beneath that polished pop exterior. All utterly beguiling. Nearly three decades later, this song – the timeless bridge delivered deadpan in KM’s delicious Australian lilt: ‘stick or twist, what’s mine is yours’ – still captures the strangeness and excess of that decade, the likes of which we’ll never know again.
1. Spinning Around
(Light Years, 2000)
All hail Kylie Minogue, undisputed queen of the disco bangers – of course ‘Spinning Around’ has to take top spot. The track that single-handedly reinvented gold hotpants, this single debuted at No.1 in the UK pop charts before going on to dominate dancefloors across the globe.
It was a return to form for Kylie since the lukewarm reception to previous album, Impossible Princess (1997), and what a comeback it was. The song (coincidently, co-written by Paula Abdul, who intended to record it for her own album) felt like a reinvention, with Kylie demanding us to not stand in her way. Did she have any clue that just a year later she would be on the cusp of world disco-pop domination? Later to be anointed as a beloved Australian-Anglo national treasure for legions of LGBTQ fans and the Royal Family?
Kylie, long may you reign.