FEATURE: Step Back in Time: Kylie Minogue’s Five Finest Albums




Step Back in Time


IMAGE CREDIT: Kylie Minogue 

Kylie Minogue’s Five Finest Albums


AS the legendary Kylie Minogue


 PHOTO CREDIT: Kylie Minogue 

readies herself for a slot on the appropriately-named ‘legends’ stage at Glastonbury this year, it has got me thinking about her impressive back catalogue and the fact that, with each album, there is evolution. Minogue releases her definitive collection, Step Back in Time, on 28th June and it will give fans existing and new the chance to revel in the multiple sides of the Melbourne-born icon. This year is a big one for her because, not only does Minogue have that Glastonbury slot and is releasing her greatest hits; there will be many wondering what comes next; how she will follow 2018’s Country-tinged album, Golden. I think, as she is in her sixth decade of life, we will actually see more of a return to her Pop roots rather than a repeat of what she gave us last year. In any case, there are a lot of people excited by what is coming. Even though her definitive collection spans her entire career, if you want to narrow down to the finest Kylie Minogue albums, I have been investigating further. Here, in my view, are the five Kylie Minogue album every fan needs…


 PHOTO CREDIT: Audoin Desforges

IN their collections…

ALBUM COVERS: Getty Images/Kylie Minogue


Rhythm of Love

Release Date: 12th November, 1990

Labels: Mushroom/PWL

Producers: Stock, Aitken, Waterman/Keith Cohen/Stephen Bray/Michael Jay/Rick James

Standout Cuts: Better the Devil You Know/What Do I Have to Do/Shocked

Key Cut: Step Back in Time


Yes, it's still simple Stock-Aitken-Waterman dance-pop, but Rhythm of Love is leaps and bounds more mature than Kylie's first two releases. The songwriting is stronger, the production dynamic, and Kylie seems more confident vocally. And while Kylie and Enjoy Yourself were collections of songs to back up singles, this is a more complete album, with many of the tracks -- "Things Can Only Get Better" a prime example -- single worthy. Definitely her best work from the Stock-Aitken-Waterman era” - AllMusic

Kylie Minogue


Release Date: 19th September, 1994

Labels: Mushroom/Destruction

Producers: Steve Anderson/Dave Seaman/M People/Pete Heller/Terry Farley/Jimmy Harry

Standout Cuts: Surrender/Pure Yourself in My Place/Falling

Key Cut: Confide in Me


Meant as a statement of her new direction, Kylie Minogue's fifth album no longer featured the Stock-Aitken-Waterman production gloss and found the diminutive singer working with hip dance producers like David Seaman. From the first notes of the opener "Confide in Me," you know this is not the teen pop queen of old. Kylie Minogue (also note the use of her last name on the cover) wanted to sound grown up, and she pulls it off with ease. While it is still dance-pop, there's atmosphere and style in the songs that wasn't there on Let's Get to It. Definitely the start of the second phase of her career” – AllMusic

Impossible Princess


Release Date: 22nd October, 1997

Labels: Mushroom/Destruction/BMG

Producers: Kylie Minogue (uncredited)/Dave BallJames/Dean Bradfield/Brothers in Rhythm/Jay Burnett/Rob Dougan/Dave Eringa/Ingo Vauk

Standout Cuts: Cowboy Style/Some Kind of Bliss/Did It Again

Key Cut: Breathe


Impossible Princess runs the gamut of styles, but manages to remain cohesive and fresh, even six years later. The sleek trip-hop of “Jump” and the deliriously spacey “Say Hey” fit like puzzle pieces next to the Chemical Brothers-style techno/rock hybrid “Limbo” and the frenetic “I Don’t Need Anyone.” Minogue fiercely declares her independence, but admits to her innate vulnerability: “I don’t need anyone/Except for someone I’ve not found.” Co-produced by former Soft Cell synth-master Dave Ball, “Through the Years” evokes Björk’s “Venus As a Boy,” but creates its own smoky atmosphere with muted horns, experimental vocal tracks and elegiac lyrics: “Too many a twisted word was said/My body was porous/I savored every drop of you” – SLANT

Light Years

Release Date: 25th September, 2000

Label: Parlophone

Producers: Steve Anderson/Guy Chambers/Johnny Douglas/Julian Gallagher/Mark Picchiotti/Steve Power/Mike Spencer/Graham Stack/Richard Stannard/Mark Taylor

Standout Cuts: On a Night Like This/Your Disco Needs You/Kids (with Robbie Williams)

Key Cut: Spinning Around


On a Night Like This and So Now Goodbye keep up the tempo and disco antics - you can feel the heat from the swirling multi-coloured lights as you listen to them - adding empowering notions of grabbing the best looking man in the club, then ditching him when you feel like it. But Minogue knows better than to think she can do it all alone. It was the less than subtle tweakings of Stock-Aitken- Waterman that gave her success and now she has turned to some more male musical heavyweights to get her back on track. Spice Girls collaborator Richard Stannard adds some polish to the flamenco flavoured Please Stay, while the songs co-written by Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers give Minogue the best lines.

There's the fantastic Kids, a duet with Williams also featured on his new album, and Loveboat, a homage to the 1970s TV show of the same name. The latter is a female response to Williams's Millennium - it sounds very similar but has a less cynical approach to love. The familiar references to martinis, bikinis and 007 are all there - Williams really should try joining a new video club - but so too are the verbal come-ons that'll either make you squirm or laugh out loud. "Rub on some lotion," Minogue pleads breathily, "the places I can't reach." More amusing still is Your Disco Needs You, a call to arms that the Village People would be proud of. Minogue has her tongue firmly in her cheek for this camp slice of epic disco that will doubtless become the obligatory soundtrack to every Christmas office party.

It's only when Minogue deviates from the fun that the album falters. Bittersweet Goodbye is an overblown ode to love that seems like an excuse for a video featuring satin sheets, while the title track is suitably spacey, though it still left me singing Brotherhood of Man's Angelo at the end. Ultimately, Minogue shines brightest in the blinding lights of a club and Light Years is an album that should be played as you force your boob-tube into place and drain the remnants of that can of hairspray before you go out. This time round Kylie's got it right” – The Guardian


Release Date: 1st October, 2001  

Label: Parlophone

Producers: Steve Anderson/Rob Davis/Cathy Dennis/Greg Fitzgerald/Pascal Gabriel/Julian Gallagher/Tom Nichols/Mark Picchiotti/Richard Stannard/Paul Statham/TommyD

Standout Cuts: Love at First Sight/Come Into My World/In Your Eyes

Key Cut: Can’t Get You Out of My Head


By 1997, she moved on to working with writers outside the genre. While this may have translated into poor record sales, her motives were in the right place. With 2001's Fever, Minogue combines the disco-diva comeback of the previous year's Light Years with the trend of simple dance rhythms which was prevalent in the teen dance-pop craze of the years surrounding the album's release. While on the surface that might seem like an old dog trying to learn new tricks, Minogue pulls it off with surprising ease. The first single, "Cant Get You Out of My Head," is a sparse, mid-tempo dance number that pulses and grooves like no other she's recorded, and nothing on Light Years was as funky as the pure disco closer of "Burning Up."

And while it's hard not to notice her tipping her hat to the teen pop sound (in fact, on this record she works with Cathy Dennis, former dance-pop star and writer/producer for Brit-teen pop group S Club 7) on songs like "Give It to Me" and "Love at First Sight," her maturity helps transcend this limiting tag, making this a very stylish Euro-flavored dance-pop record that will appeal to all ages. Not one weak track, not one misplaced syrupy ballad to ruin the groove. The winning streak continues. (The U.S. version, released in early March of 2002, included the hidden tracks "Boy" and "Butterfly" -- a B-side and Light Years album track, respectively)” – AllMusic