Today marks the 46th (!) birthday of Princess (Goddess) of Pop, Kylie Minogue. Her divine powers include defying the ageing process and bringing beautiful music and her heaven-sent cooing to the masses. Like Madonna, the success of her career lies in evolution; from Neighbours loco-motive to disco diva through to The Voice UK legend who knows my hometown of Merthyr Tydfil. Unlike Madonna, Kylie embodies all that is light and pure, despite a few brushes with edgier sounds and lyrics, her songs are little shots that pick you up on any cloudy day. To celebrate this blessed day, I’m going through Kylie Minogue’s 46 best songs. They are in alphabetical order since narrowing them down was hard enough, let alone ranking them. So without further ado, strap on your hotpants and start spinning around (ironically that song isn’t on this list, as great as it was for her career, I don’t like it that much).
1 All the Lovers
The Aphrodite album was Kylie at the top of her game. Catchy choruses with beautiful electronica providing the blanket for the warmth of her voice. ‘All The Lovers’ started the campaign in excellent fashion, with a dazzling video that was all over the TV and made everyone go ‘isn’t that clever?’
Best bit: The middle 8 where everything drops except for the piano and vocals.
Most people would argue the highlight of Kylie’s 2010 Stuart Price produced masterpiece is the title track itself. With its militant drums and uplifting arrangement, its a real toe tapper. As the opening to the spectacular Les Folies tour, when she announces “I was gone and now I’m back”, you know she’s telling the truth.
Best bit: “I’m gonna feel your heart stop in my hand”
3 Better the Devil You Know
The track that shed Kylie’s squeaky clean teen pop image. Kylie amusingly remembers Pete Waterman asking her what songs she liked, to which she replied Cathy Dennis’ current single, the hook of which Pete then ‘borrowed’ for this track. That was the extent of Kylie’s artistic input in her Stock Aitken Waterman days, she noted. Still, a great song is a great song, and the fact G-A-Y play this one as the clock hits 12:30 is a testament to its classic status. Just avoid the Steps version.
Best bit: “Better the devil you know, better the devil you know”
4 Burning Up
The closing track on 2001’s Fever is a tune that’s catchier and most summery than hayfever (see what I did there?). Lyrically, its pretty repetitive but that works in its favour as the perfect wind-down track after the dance-your-pants-off rush of most of the album.
Best bit: “Hey summer madness, totally cool”
Sadly, only a promo single for ‘the clubs’, this would’ve been a much better choice for Light Years‘ fourth single proper over ‘Please Stay’. A dancy affair with vocals spanning from seductive low notes to uplifting highs , this one instantly gets in your brain.
Best bit: “And it mightn’t last more than a day but I’ll take my chances anyway”
6 Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
You know this one. It was one of the decade’s best selling songs. It’s amazing. If you want to hear a different spin on it, go listen to ‘Can’t Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head‘, a mashup of this and New Order’s 80’s classic.
The most effective R&B Kylie song on 2002’s Body Language, ‘Chocolate’ is a slinky, sexy slow number that’s hard to resist. The vocals ooze lust, but in a classy, restrained way. The album version is even better, longer and with a less… aggressive production. That male rapper you hear going ‘check it out check it out’ in the background is actually Ludacris, who recorded a verse that was ultimately cut, but leaked online anyway.
Best bit: the chorus
8 Come Into My World
Basically ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head 2.0′ but with more lyrics. The best thing about the official single version is the inventive yet underrated video directed by Michel Gondry. The true strength of this song is how malleable it is: the Fischerspooner remix is the softcore porn version whilst the Abbey Road version is a stunningly beautiful piano piece. Who says pop songs are throwaway?
Best: The last minute of the Fischerspooner remix
9 Confide In Me
Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Indie Kylie. Miss Minogue’s first release after leaving the PWL label is dark, combining beats with eastern influences. Kylie’s voice soars along the top of it all, going to places she had never gone before. The “stick or twist, the choice is yours” bit comes from nowhere, before a slower bridge building up into a final crazy minute. A fan favourite for good reason, this song is so layered you could listen to it multiple times and focus on something new.
Best bit: All of it.
Kylie’s latest song (released only yesterday!) came with an interesting quirk, to explain more I’m handing this entry over to Mr. 5 Things About Pop Himself:
“Sparkling with pulsing synths and pretty piano work, ‘Crystallize’ was denied its place as the jewel in the crown of Kiss Me Once and was instead released as a charity single. In a unique take on a charity auction, each note of the song was auctioned off for fans to ‘own’ while raising money for One Note Against Cancer (when you hear Note #2499, that one’s all mine). Winning bidders were then presented with certificates of their ownership and are listed in the track’s accompanying video.”
Best bit: And when you’re swimming through a sea of broken promises
You can find me shining like a laser beam
11 Cupid Boy
I really had to limit how many songs from Aphrodite I put on this list, it really is such a good album. ‘Cupid Boy’ stands out though, with its harder dance production provided by one of EDM’s men of the moment Sebastian Ingrosso. Kylie’s vocals on the chorus go into full on sexual pleasure mode, ala ‘Love to Love You Baby’ with a faster beat. One to writhe around to, for sure,
Best bit: “So why don’t you thrill me, like you did before?”
The closest thing to a title track on the largely ignored but endlessly thrilling Impossible Princess album from 97. Continuing with the experimental and eastern themes of ‘Confide’, this song gives me all sorts of dark fairytale vibes. The production is big, the lyrics powerful and the indie girls of today would die to have something as good as this.
Best bit: “To feel the touch of a man, a woman’s caress, to know the limits of touch and tenderness”
13 Especially For You
I’ll admit, I really dislike this song, so here is Ade Bradley to give us his thoughts:
“Especially for You was the first single I ever bought – there used to be an 0898 number you could call and listen to it, and I always got in trouble with my parents for the phone bill. She has been with me nearly 27 years now – I’ve seen her countless times and I’ll never miss an opportunity to see a Kylie gig. She’s unashamedly camp, witty, hard working and, importantly, fun.”
Best bit: When it ends.
The production kind of sounds like a telephone slowed down, and while that sounds like a bad thing, it helps this track stand out on the ‘Fever’ album. I guess being the title track would help it stand out anyway, but I digress. A perfect of example of Kylie’s level of sexuality in most of her songs; more cheeky wink-wink than prowling for the D.
Best bit: “Heart beating faster and work is a disaster”
The one fans had to wait 4 years for. First performed in 2008 on the KylieX2008 tour, it wasn’t released as a studio recording until 2012 for the Abbey Road album. A heartbreaking song where Kylie ponders if she will ever have children, we get to see a human side behind the popstar construct. Kylie wrote the song and directed the video herself, so accusations that she has no artistic talent can get thrown right out of the window.
Best bit: MAH FLAW-AWAW-AWER
16 G.B.I. (German Bold Italic)
HELLO! This is easily the weirdest thing Kylie has done. So strange and avant-garde that it’d be weird to try to describe it. Just watch the whole thing all the way through and revel in the oddness. FYI, Towa Tei was part of Dee-Lite, who you’ll know for ‘Groove Is In The Heart’.
Best bit: I fit, like, a…. glove?
17 Get Outta My Way
I don’t know why the official video has disappeared off of YouTube but there you go 😦
After the slower but uplifting ‘All The Lovers’, Kylie stormed right back onto the dancefloor with the second Aphrodite single. I love the cheeky lyrics and general attitude of flirting with every hot guy in the club. Thankfully side-stepping the EDM trend that was getting annoying in 2010, this is an uncomplicated italo-disco stomper and I’m all the more thankful for it.
Best bit: “See me with him and its turning you on”
OK, so this is a pretty average song. But of all the many guest stars Taio Cruz has had on the song in different versions, Kylie stands above them all. Her vocals soar on the track, putting Taio, Travie and whichever one of the Pussycat Dolls and the Sugababes did the live versions to shame.
Best: “I feel like I can touch the skyyyyyyyyyyy”
19 I Believe In You
Kylie joins forces with the Scissor Sisters! Far more subdued than what anyone was expecting of this collboration, and all the better for it. As the lead single to her mid noughties greatest hits album, this doesn’t really break any new ground, but nor does it need to. It does exactly what Kylie is best at: lifting your spirits. The KylieX2008 Tour ballad version is even better.
Best bit: “I believe in you I believe in I believe in you I believe in”
20 I Don’t Need Anyone
Another collab, this time with the Manic Street Preachers. This is Indie Kylie rocking it out with all the guitars and strained vocals to boot. Pretty breezy, with a catchy chorus: the perfect antidote to the darker moments on Impossible Princess.
Best bit: the chorus
21 I Should Be So Lucky
Pure eighties guilty pleasure. This is one of Kylie’s most well-known songs, despite a lot of songs being better than it, something the pop princess has herself admitted. The Abbey Road version is why this song makes the list, being another lush orchestral piece with a tender vocal.
Best bit: all of the orchestral version
22 If You Don’t Love Me
The B-side to ‘Confide In Me’ first came to my attention when Kylie performed it on her Aphrodite Les Folies tour. She sat down on the stairs and just belted her heart out. It was a beautiful moment and once I tracked this rarity down, its become a firm favourite. It’s a short and simple ballad, but is perfect for summing up those feelings when your heart is all over the place.
Best bit: the vocals on the chorus
23 In My Arms
It’s not one of Kylie’s most memorable singles, but its good fun nonetheless. Calvin Harris produced this one, though you might not be able to tell since he isn’t recycling ‘I’m Not Alone’ or ‘We Found Love’.
Best bit: “How do you describe the feeling?”
24 In Your Eyes
Following ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ was also going to be a tough thing to do, and as such, this song went pretty much under the radar. Which is a shame because it’s a sleek, polished dancefloor jam. The video is also one of my favourites: the colours, the cinematography and dance movements all come together perfectly. Also, the auto-tune/vocoder effects on the ad-libs near the end are wonderfully tacky.
Best bit: “Is the world still spinning around? I don’t feel like coming down (beat drops) It’s in your eyes, I can tell what you’re thinking, my heart is sinking too”
Pretty similar to ‘Dreams’ in that its an Impossible Princess dark, slow song with plenty of atmosphere. The use of “if I’m x let me y” in the verses is very effective too. The song is better off speaking for itself, do give it a listen.
Best bit: “I’m eager and ready, it only hurts sometimes”
The kind of song that could only be released by two popstars at the height of their powers, if this Kylie and Robbie song can’t get you singing along, nothing will.
Best bit: “So come on, jump on boooooooooooard”
27 Light Years
Imagine Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ with an extra dash of camp and an airplane theme. That’s pretty much what ‘Light Years’ is. Both the parent album (also called ‘Light Years’) and Fever have really strong closing tracks that wind you down but still keeping your face raised into a smile.
Best bit: “Take us to the popstars on the moon”
This Impossible Princess song cranks up the BPM and hits you in the face right away, standing out amongst the slower, more atmospheric tracks. The high pitched hook is fantastic, and Kylie sings this one like she’s losing her sanity. I can imagine it would work so well in a live setting. This or ‘Drunk’ should’ve been a single from that album instead of the terribly named ‘Cowboy Style’.
Best bit: It’s all really, really good
29 Love Affair
Fever isn’t short of disco-house bangers and whilst it sounds similar to ‘In Your Eyes’, it keeps the album going at a zippy pace. The naff vocoder makes a welcome return here for probably the best chorus on the album.
Best: “I am only here for a minute, why would you like to take me out tonight?”
30 Love at First Sight
This was my favourite Kylie single for a long time until ‘The One’ stole that crown. I adored the way the production dipped as if you were diving underwater and the lyrics, whilst simple, were so unflinchingly joyous. Like, life really is pretty good actually. Then I became hypnotised by ‘The One’ and its hypnotic sound and ‘LAFS‘ slipped into second place. But then… on the Aphrodite tour, Kylie sung one of the lines to me. The Goddess of Pop actually acknowledged my existence! Instant and immovable first place.
Best bit: “Didn’t know what do-ohh, then there was you-ooh” (Kylie sings as she points to and winks at me)
31 Loving You
My all-time favourite non-single. ‘Loving You’ isn’t an album track, or B-side, or charity song, it’s a demo. An unfinished piece of work that will likely never be finished and for fans, exists only in this form that somehow slithered its way onto the internet. The production, courtesy of my favourites Xenomania, is utterly hypnotising. The synth lines are strange and otherwordly, and I’ve listened to this song on repeat for hours on end. The lyrics are a mish-mash of Mirana Cooper-isms that don’t always make sense but sound wonderful, like the line about “breakfast in bed don’t mean I’ll get in the mood”. I’m kind of glad this song was actually finished, it’s oddly perfect as it.
Best bit: the whole thing, but if I HAD to choose it’d be “It doesn’t matter what the movies say, I like it better when you walk away”
32 Made of Glass
The second out of three Xenomania songs in a row, it’s almost like they chose to name their songs the way they did incase some indecisive fan did an alphabetical list like this. The B-side to ‘Giving You Up’ (a rare Xeno song that’s actually rubbish) that the vast majority of fans consider the superior song. The lyrics are typically obtuse yet brilliant, with a fast whispered bit that sounds like total gibberish until you look up the lyrics to uncover more nonsensical genius! Rachel Stevens Of Amazing Second Album Fame was apparently meant to record this one.
Best bit: “Bohemian boys and Brazillian girls, a familiar noise in unfamiliar worlds, its like a million beats in a Parisian heart. From the boy in the west to the girl in the east, they been working a sweat in the name of the beast, it’s where oblivion stops and oblivion starts”
33 Mighty Rivers
A bit more straightforward, this. Xenomania produced two bonus tracks for Aphrodite; the bouncy yet understated ‘Heartstrings’ and this oriental tinged tune. ‘Mighty Rivers’ deserves to be a single, let alone on the album properly, but alas: the best gems are meant to be hidden. The hook is catchy, the chorus is big and the production washes around in the background like the sea (or a really mighty river) so basically: all A grade pop music. The only weak part is the unnecessary auto-tune on the middle 8, but in this post-Gaga landscape, what can you do?
Best bit: “Mighty rivers run right through me, I’ll find them if I dive in too deep”
34 On A Night Like This
The follow-up to ‘Spinning Around’ and a much better song in my opinion. ‘On A Night Likes This’ mixes very early 2000’s dance-pop, Latin influences and strings for a classic Kylie single. The video is a homage to Martin Scorsesee’s crime film Casino and Blade Runner‘s Roy Batty is brought in too, for an all round Hollywood affair. The Abbey Road version slows down the pace and transforms it into a big-band number you just want to slow dance to.
Best bit: “Now I’m, getting closer to you, hold me, I just can’t be without you”
35 Red Blooded Woman
There are many better Kylie songs that could’ve gone on this list, but its worth mentioning for the music video: it’s sure to get the red blooded men at attention. Even more so than ‘Chocolate’, this was Kylie trying R&B to break into the American market after the success of ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’. It didn’t totally work and neither does the song, but its fun to bop along to and do your best sexy dancing to when no-one else is around.
Best bit: “You’ll never get to heaven if you’re scared of getting high”
Right up there with me favourite Kylie singles, the Mighty Aphrodite once claimed this was her favourite song too! It’s not hard to see (or hear) why; the bleepy-bloopy synthpop works its way into your ear whilst Kylie’s voice caresses it. The iconic music video matches the minimalism of the song; as Kylie and some toned pool-goers writhe around in very little in time to the song. You should really try the Chemical Brothers rem- Hey! Are you still paying attention? Stop watching the video and carry on reading. Oh, I guess I can wait…
Best bit: all of the vocals.
37 Some Kind of Bliss
Another Brit-Pop sounding single for Kylie provided by the Manics during the ‘indie phase’. The ‘do-do-do-doo-doo’ hook and the trumpets add some pop flair to the rockier production and it all goes down very well. It’s the perfect soundtrack the music video, which sees a ginger (!) Kylie and Dexter Fletcher on the run after a heist.
Best bit: “Some kind of bliss (TRUMPETS)”
Glitchy. Robotic. Annoying. Amazing. Madonna thinks its the best song from X. Track repeat go on and on.
Best bit: the opening.
Not a Janelle Monae cover, but nearly as good. Relegated to B-side status during the ‘Fever’ era, this is another perfect single that wasn’t. A wistful song with production that chugs along with a subtle synth blanket in the background, letting Kylie’s excellent vocals do the work here. Captures the feeling of being in love and not knowing what the hell to do so so well.
Best bit: “There’s so much I want to share, for so long I’ve been too scared”
40 The One
The song that (temporarily) replaced ‘Love at First Sight’ as my favourite Kylie single. When I say I completely adore this song, I’m referring to the album version: the version in the music video is the Freemasons Radio Edit, and whilst it keeps the hypnotic beeps of the original, the subtlety is totally lost. The vocals here are exceptional: simultaneously seductive and desperate as Kylie demands/begs you to love her, love her, love her, love her. People usually associate Miss Minogue with big disco bangers or eighties cheese, but her forte is really classy, minimalist electronic ballads that aren’t ballads.
Best bit: “Can you hear me, I’m connecting with you. Can you feel me, I’ll do anything to have you near me”
41 Too Far
Rapping Kylie! Unlike her Body Language songs, this isn’t R&B at all. It’s back in the realms of hyper experimental indie. The lyrics about going “too far” combined with all the wild background noise in the chorus make this one of Kylie’s most dramatic songs. After all the praise I’ve heaped on Impossible Princess, you had better be downloading it if its not in your library already.
42 What Do I Have To Do
One the Stock Aitken Waterman songs that falls into the realms of Pop Classic, as opposed to dated rubbish (there is no inbetween). Nothing really to special to say about this, it’s pretty straightforward and hits all the sweet spots. If you hear it on a night out in a retro and/or gay bar, you’ll be singing along by the chorus even if you’ve never heard it before.
Best bit: the ‘wah wah wah’ sounds before the choruses.
43 Where The Wild Roses Grow
And now for something completely different: a murder ballad duet with Nick Cave, the master of depressing songs and music critics’ favourite. Its a testament to Kylie and her skills as a musical chameleon that she pulls this song off perfectly: her innocent and naive, yet strong vocal delivery perfectly compliment Cave’s sinister tones. Oh, and she looks stunning in the video too.
44 White Diamond
Another ballad penned by Kylie and longtime collaborator Steve Anderson, during the recovery from breast cancer and the build-up to the album X. Sadly, the album itself lacked this song, or anything really hinting at the struggles she went through during that period. ‘White Diamond’ did, however, become the signature song to documentary film of the same name. Not Kylie’s best ballad, but a touching one, reminding us (and possibly herself) that through the hardships, she will shine on and on and on.
Best bit: “Understand, I will be there for you. I’m a diamond for you”
Exactly the kind of song people who aren’t Kylie fans think is all she does. Whilst this is a catchy, piano-led disco banger with a killer chorus and those underwater drops from ‘Love At First Sight’, true fans know this is far from her best work. Over 5 years after release, this song still packs dancefloors and soundtracks adverts for expensive products we don’t need. Lesser popstars would kill for a tune like ‘Wow’ but for Kylie, it’s just another day’s work.
Best bit: “Such a rush (RUSHHH)”
46 Your Disco Needs You
The definition of ‘subtle’ in the dictionary. Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers (who wrote all of Robbie’s best songs) penned this. The video cost £2.34. No Kylie list can be without it, for better or worse.
Have I missed anything out? Do you strongly agree or disagree? What’s your favourite Kylie song? Feel free to leave me a comment below and thank you very more for reading. I’ll leave you with the promo video Kylie’s team made for her Aphrodite tour date in Cardiff, in which you can see how I get to the Goddess herself. I’m the guy at 16 seconds in who looks like Matt Damon (apparently) wearing a blue and white striped t-shirt