Repulsive. A severe disappointment. Offensive. A complete and utter bore. These are words which best describe Kylie Minogue's eleventh studio album from Parlophone/EMI. Just kidding, Peaches! tee-hee Aphrodite is so the opposite, being the most cohesive collection from her since classics Fever and Light Years, filling that inexplicable void heard on her last couple efforts. To achieve results, she pulls out the Big Guns and utilizes the AK-47 of Producers, Stuart Price on nine of Aphrodite's twelve tracks. This proves to be the best creative decision she has made since donning those short-shorts in her Spinning Around video.
First single All the Lovers we all know, is gorgeous in its perpetual state of Euphoria, but as we progress further into this electric journey, it becomes clear that the heavyweights are still in the wings including Stuart Price/Starsmith co-production Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love). The track does exactly what Whitney Houston was trying to do with Million Dollar Bill last summer, but fell short of accomplishing ultimately. Sonically perfect second single Get Outta My Way has Minogue at her catty best, telling that pesky ex (read Olivier Martinez) to do exactly what its title suggests, and seductive Cupid Boy, driven with a bit of guitar like Stars from 2008’s X is also one to keep a tab on. The album's title track is undeniable with its Marching Band beat rhythm not unlike Heart Beat Rock from that same album. Nerina Pallot-penned Better Than Today, debuted on Minogue's last World Tour, is a welcome addition to the album’s already optimistic vibe. Can’t Beat This Feeling sports proudly its House Music pedigree, giving us back a bit of that magic Spinning Around and Love at First Sight had. The true star of this track though is its abundance of Cowbell. Sorry, Kylie!
Tracks like Everything is Beautiful (penned by Keane's Tim Rice-Oxley), Looking for an Angel and Too Much (co-written by Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears) don't really contribute much to the overall listening experience. Peter Robinson at PopJustice has much heralded track Closer as “a bit of a pass-the-poppers moment”, but the result is a bit of a misfire for those of us who don’t rely on sexual enhancers. Clocking in at 43 minutes, perhaps the collection could have been condensed further in this era of shortened attention spans. I suppose this is what iTunes Playlists are for, yes? It is my firm belief that anything in excess of nine tracks these days is just too much.
Aphrodite isn’t Minogue’s finest, but it’s up there with her best and fans will have much to celebrate. Is it the album she will conquer North America with? Not really, but who the ____ cares? Aphrodite is in stores July 6, 2010. Grade: A