The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THE TAKE -

MEL­BOURNE HER­ALD SUN NO one can say Kylie Minogue has not fully com­mit­ted to mak­ing a coun­try-tinged pop al­bum. And no one can say Golden is just your reg­u­lar Kylie Minogue al­bum. The first sin­gle Danc­ing may have been the lat­est vic­tim of stream­ing stran­gling the pop chart for artists from the CD era. But it was the ideal in­tro­duc­tion to Kylie’s Golden year — pop mu­sic tak­ing a Nashville de­tour and dipped in glit­ter and saw­dust. With coun­try in vogue Danc­ing got Minogue back on pop ra­dio, de­spite her last few al­bums fea­tur­ing pop sin­gles (Get Outta My Way, Into the Blue) far bet­ter than many re­cent ra­dio hits by Katy Perry, Rita Ora or Se­lena Gomez, but that’s none of our busi­ness. Af­ter 14 al­bums and 31 years, it’s the per­fect time for Minogue to change things up. And it’s not that dif­fer­ent — her take on coun­try is more disco Dolly Par­ton than Ali­son Krauss or Johnny Cash. Al­bum high­light A Life­time to Re­pair is the best ex­am­ple of cow­boy style Kylie — all banjo pluckin’, mother-duckin’ heart­break guid­ing y’all into a bang­ing fid­dle’n’beats hoe­down show­down cho­rus. Lyri­cally it’s peak Minogue — per­sonal but still with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

GUARDIAN Through­out the singer’s long ca­reer, fans have never needed to mine Kylie’s out­put be­yond the top­soil to find a vein of hu­mour, or a gem or two in­di­cat­ing that her best work is be­ing pro­duced to arch and know­ing stan­dards. For ev­ery Lo­co­mo­tion, there has been a Can’t Get You Out of My Head (club-pop ham­mer blow of ge­nius). This lat­est Minogue in­car­na­tion – shall we call her Dixie Minogue? Kylie Miner’s Daugh­ter? – is, thank­fully, no ex­cep­tion, as Kylie’s play­ful­ness wins out tonight over what could be a high-fruc­tose corn-fest. You may have picked up on Danc­ing, Kylie’s re­cent sin­gle, on its acous­tic gui­tar and its video, in which Kylie line-dances with death. Fans, friends, Kylie’s record com­pany and re­view­ers are gath­ered here in the plush sur­rounds of this fa­bled cabaret club for an in­ti­mate set that dou­bles as the launch of the singer’s 14th al­bum, a mas­sive pivot to coun­try mu­sic. It is at once un­ex­pected, eye-rollingly cheesy and per­fectly un­der­stand­able, given the cir­cum­stances. Any num­ber of artists would say that the safest place for a bro­ken heart is in the stu­dio. Oth­ers would at­test that heart­break’s nat­u­ral home is Nashville, the county seat of coun­try mu­sic.

METROUK Golden’s sound is sub­tle rather than try-hard or overblown, and, in con­trast to her mas­sive pop hits, there’s also an in­ti­mate au­then­tic­ity to its songs – she co-wrote ev­ery song here, some­thing she has not done since the 1997 al­bum Im­pos­si­ble Princess. Ti­tle track Golden mixes slinky spaghetti western with Balearic club pop, build­ing to­wards a mas­sive, melodic cho­rus. A Life­time To Re­pair, fea­tur­ing hon­est lyrics about be­ing ‘bro­ken-hearted way too soon’, rol­licks along with a fast-paced, bit­ter­sweet lick. Sin­cerely Yours is an ad­dic­tive sugar rush with a slick bel­ter of a pop cho­rus. Shelby ’68 mixes swoony Amer­i­cana pop and a dreamy nar­ra­tive about the ap­peal of bad boys in a way that re­calls mo­ments from Lana Del Rey and Tay­lor Swift. Live A Lit­tle isa snappy, happy ode to mov­ing on and mov­ing up, while Rain­ing Glit­ter isa disco-coun­try thumper about the glo­ri­ous, re­demp­tive power of the dance­floor. While Golden’s tracks are not likely to dom­i­nate the charts, there is plenty of cute, classy and un­usu­ally per­sonal pop for fans to love. Kylie Minogue in 2018 – less im­pos­si­ble princess, more in­domitable cow­girl.

IR­ISH TIMES Coun­try mu­sic is of­fi­cially hav­ing a pop culture mo­ment. These days ev­ery other star­let from Lady Gaga and Mi­ley Cyrus to Kacey Mus­graves and even Drag Race’s own Trixie Mat­tel are don­ning stet­sons and sad­dling up. The cyn­i­cal out there may judge the glitz and gui­tars of Minogue’s 14th al­bum as hitch­ing her wagon to this wink­ing star, but Kylie and coun­try are not such an odd fit. Her ob­ses­sion with the melan­choly ache of be­ing alone – that rich pop pathos that makes her so re­lat­able – is still in place but, since her last al­bum, Kiss Me Once, there has been a cau­tious shift in her song­writ­ing, a re­flec­tion on what life would be like mi­nus the bruis­ing rough and tum­ble of love. Now, on Golden, a new layer of tough­ness has formed with tracks such as Stop Me From Fall­ing, which acts as a whoop­ing warn­ing siren about the dan­gers of ide­al­is­ing re­la­tion­ships; and the heart­break­ing A Life­time to Re­pair, with its foot-stomp­ing beat and sky­lark­ing cho­rus, which mask the sear­ing pain of its raw lyrics – it’s the adult full stop of re­al­i­sa­tion to the girl­ish for­give­ness of Bet­ter the Devil You Know.

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