A light in the dark­ness

Kylie Minogue, SSE Hy­dro, Glas­gow, Septem­ber 30

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - CULTURE - By Nadine McBay

There’s some­thing of an irony that the first gazil­lion hits when search­ing on­line for “Kylie” are not for diminu­tive pop le­gend Kylie Minogue but for Kylie Jen­ner, star of Keep­ing Up With The Kar­dashi­ans and of her own spin-off se­ries Life Of Kylie. A bil­lion­aire “so­cial me­dia per­son­al­ity” listed by Time mag­a­zine as one of the most in­flu­en­tial young peo­ple in the world, you’d be for­given for peg­ging Jen­ner as the epit­ome of some­one fa­mous for be­ing fa­mous; of be­ing about In­sta­gram ar­ti­fice, un­com­fort­able la­tex dresses and lit­tle else. Some had not dis­sim­i­lar thoughts about Minogue 30 years ago when she went from span­ner-wield­ing fe­male me­chanic on Neigh­bours to sign­ing record deals with Aus­tralia’s Mush­room Records and the UK bub­blegum pop hit­mak­ers Stock, Aitken and Water­man. And while Jen­ner still has plenty of time to show she can do more than smoul­der and take self­ies, Minogue’s long ten­ure as a star (there’s sim­ply no other term for her, bar “Princess of Pop”) is tes­ta­ment to her tenac­ity, adapt­abil­ity, warm per­son­al­ity and, yes, ta­lent.

She’s fre­quently been com­pared with Madonna, with hang­dog tenor Ru­fus Wain­wright once writ­ing of the two: “Madonna sub­verts ev­ery­thing for her own gain ... she sur­passes even Joan Craw­ford in terms of mega­lo­ma­nia.

gay icon, breast cancer aware­ness ad­vo­cate and danc­ing queen sur­vivor, Minogue is a light in the dark, es­pe­cially to her ar­mies of life­long devo­tees. New al­bum Golden – re­leased a month be­fore her 50th birth­day in May this year – is a case in point.

The fol­low-up to 2015’s daft Christ­mas al­bum (which fea­tures a take on The Wait­resses’ Christ­mas Wrap­ping with Iggy Pop), its cen­tral lyri­cal themes are heart­break, loss and the search to find the strength to pull the pieces of your­self back to­gether when a sig­nif­i­cant re­la­tion­ship has you feel­ing all over the place.

Now dat­ing GQ cre­ative direc­tor Paul Solomon, she co-wrote each of Golden’s ten tracks in the wake of her break-up with ex-fi­ance Joshua Sasse, and you won­der if Kylie’s then per­sonal sit­u­a­tion was a fac­tor in her new la­bel BMG sug­gest­ing she go to Nashville and record a coun­try al­bum. In any case, it suits her, with the mu­sic more of­ten than not find­ing the right bal­ance be­tween twang and the dance­floor. De­spite the heavy per­sonal themes, tonally Golden is op­ti­mistic and up­beat, with the likes of lead sin­gle Danc­ing see­ing her chan­nel a dol­lop of Dolly Par­ton’s sweet grit.

When she’s singing, “if I get hurt again, I’d need a life­time to re­pair,” on banjo barn­stormer Life­time To Re­pair, you know she’ll be OK in the end. An­other stand-out is Live A Lit­tle, a song that de­fies anx­i­ety about “run­ning out of time” and those who tell her “it’s too late” with ir­re­sistible beats and a voice trick where Kylie al­most sounds like a slide gui­tar.

In glit­tery cow­boy boots (and a va­ri­ety of out­fits), she re­cently kicked off the UK leg of this tour as Sasse was get­ting mar­ried to fel­low Aussie Louisa Ainsworth. Ac­cord­ing to those who’ve seen them, these shows, while still the­atri­cal, don’t smother the songs in spec­tac­u­lar an­tics. In­stead, the songs – in­clud­ing a take on Fleet­wood Mac’s The Chain and the Hu­man League’s de­but sin­gle Be­ing Boiled, are carry their own light.

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