DISCO is a breezy, light album that revels in the familiar, sticky hooks that have made Kylie’s career.
Kylie Minogue, a trusted spokesperson of the dance floor, heard the disco call and answered it — again. After her divisive foray into country-pop with 2018’s Golden, Kylie has returned to working with the sounds that have defined her career in the emphatically-titled DISCO. The joyous album delivers in its modest promise, filled start-to-finish with dance pop tracks with demure strings and delicate grooves that nod to the genre. Recorded mostly at Minogue’s home studio amidst the pandemic, the throughline is obvious: every track on DISCO is upbeat, single-ready, and has that special maximalist, near-grating quality that’s part of the Kylie musical tradition. Nuance and reinvention are not a part of the process at this stage of Kylie’s career and — maybe it’s because of the epoque, maybe it’s her mastery of this sound — they’re not missed on this non-stop victory lap. Album opener “Magic,” sets the tone perfectly for this camp event that follows. From the trumpet’s staccato, the youthful, banal lyrics (“So, do you believe in magic? / Do you, do you, do you?”) and the airy, ad-libbed whispers of “magic,” Kylie is chasing an aesthetic, not digging for profundity.
Such theatrics are present throughout the record. The bass-heavy “Monday Blues” threatens to run away from itself as Kylie lists the days of the week on top of a propulsive drum beat and crescendoing horns. “Dance Floor Darling” starts moderately before an accelerando transports us to a breakneck speed, introducing electronically altered tracks of Kylie, reminiscent of Random Access Memories. She also dons her vocoder on “Real Groove,” a voyeuristic tale of sexual rivalry at the discotheque, which is likely to be the biggest moment of this album thanks to a remix with Dua Lipa and a premiere at her Studio 2054 performance. To close the record, Kylie takes a classic, straightforward disco approach on “Celebrate You,” a clever and cathartic finale and a joyous celebration of the dance floor everyperson, affectionately referred to here as “Mary.” Kylie squeaks out higher notes and spits sillier lyrics than ever before. It’s a perfect finale. On DISCO, Kylie pays homage to music she loves, but she’s also looking back at her career as a hitmaker, basking in the glory of a revival in the sound that brought her a second stateside peak during the Fever era. At this stage in Kylie’s career, it’s clear that this is the type of album she wants to make: breezy, light, cover-to-cover singalong bops. DISCO is about dancing and perfect, sticky hooks: it’s an assured album that’s exactly what it wants to be.
Published as part of Album Roundup: Oct. – Dec. 2020 | Part 3.