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**Introduction** Released earlier this month (July) ''Aphrodite'' by Kylie Minogue is the singer's eleventh studio album release and has already achieved Gold selling status in the UK and has notched up another number one placing release in the album charts. It is a familiar showcase of pop/dance music tracks with the emphasis firmly on fun and light-heartedness and by bringing onboard such names as Stuart Price (who has heavily worked with Madonna in the past along with The Killers, Coldplay, No Doubt plus a host of other big names in the music industry) Calvin Harris and Jake Shears from the Scissor Sisters there are a few highlights in the 12 track CD collection. This review is for the 'Special Edition' release which contains the 12 tracks from the general CD plus a bonus second disc which I will mention more of later and rather than discuss every single track on the disc I will select a few of my own personal highs and just the one low. **Full Tracklisting** 1. All the Lovers 2. Get Outta My Way 3. Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love) 4. Closer 5. Everything Is Beautiful 6. Aphrodite 7. Illusion 8. Better Than Today 9. Too Much 10. Cupid Boy 11. Looking For an Angel 12. Can't Beat The Feeling **My Pick(s) of the Bunch** Track one; the lead single ''All the Lovers'' would be my first choice which unless you have been avoiding every radio station or television music channel you will have no doubt heard yourself at some point since it was released back in June. This is a 'grower' rather than an out-and-out obvious choice of single as it isn't as catchy as some of the other songs on the album on first listen but it does manage to firmly implant its chorus into your head. Rather than come out guns blazing with another "Spinning Around" or "Can't get you out my head" Kylies vocals are quite restrained and held back here as she builds up to the hook of the chorus's opening declaration of "All the lovers, that have gone before, they don't compare to you..." A great opening to the album and a relatively gentle way to start before the more energetic dance numbers that follow. My second choice would be the second track on the album and also the second song to be announced as a single ''Get Outta my Way''. A 'classic' Kylie track this is, full on, up-tempo and immediately recognisable and reminiscent of "Spinning Around" (to me anyway) The song will appeal for its simple verses and catchy chorus and whilst it could never be considered a lyrical masterpiece it is what it is; a fun dancefloor friendly tune that will get you moving. Stuart Prices' involvement is obvious here and has produced another belter of a track which picks up the pace from the opening song of the CD and sets the pace for what is to come. ''Aphrodite'' is my next choice, the title track and a sure-fire hit. Featuring plenty of "Alright's!" and seductive "Oh's" this is a hybrid of sounds which manages to blend elements of 80's pop ("Can you feel me in Stereo" warbles Kylie) with an up to date 'now' sound of drum beats and percussion. It's another typical Kylie 'strong, independent woman' song with the singer comparing herself with the Greek goddess of the same name and other 'Golden girls' The rhyming couplet of "I'm feeling Mighty, I'm an Aphrodite" is pure cheese of course but by now you are in the middle of the album and have been taken on Miss Minogue's latest pop journey so the lyrics do tend to be 'rhymey' rather than profound. ''Better than Today'' is my favourite track on the album and goes firmly into 'Scissor Sisters' territory which bears more than a passing resemblance to "I Don't feel like Dancin'", It is pure genius though with a pumping bass line and synths-a-plenty which suits Minogues vocals perfectly and definitely benefits from a repeat play simply for being a joyous piece of pop music that manages to uplift your spirits - it is, as I say, my favourite track on the whole album and I love it! Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters fame actually co wrote track 9; "Too Much" on the album along with Kylie and Calvin Harris although on first listen you would suspect it was actually this that he had a hand in creating. The only other Minogue co-written track on the album is ''Looking for an Angel'' and whereas the last 4 tracks I have mentioned have been highlights this has can only be described as a low point. It doesn't sit well with me for the simple reason that the chorus sounds almost identical to the 1985 Madonna song "Angel" (funnily enough) and as Kylie is often compared to Madonna it seems rather ironic that she is 'recycling' a long-forgotten Madonna track and co writing it with Stuart Price of all people. It's a damp-squib of a song anyway, too syrupy and sweet and its inclusion towards the end of the album feels out of place when compared to the other songs that precede it, it is a pure filler track and one that I now skip but as it is the only real duffer on the CD as a whole its presence can be forgiven. **My Thoughts** All in all the album provides no real surprises and capitalises on Kylie's familiar and recognisable sound. It is a pure pop and dance collection throughout the song list and fans will not be disappointed with the selection they are offered. I have been a casual follower of Kylie ever since she burst into the charts with "I Should be so Lucky" way back in the late 80's but to be honest I wouldn't consider myself to be an ardent fan of hers. I did actually prefer her during her 'Indie' phase of the mid-nineties and rank "Confide in Me" as being my favourite ever Kylie song but saying that though when she came back onto the pop scene with "Spinning Around" in 2000 she took the step back to her pop roots and did release some songs that I actually enjoyed and when I heard "All the Lovers" from this album release I decided that I would buy the CD. By bringing onboard some relevant and respected producers and writers Kylie has gone down the route that others have taken and similar to the Stuart Price-produced Madonna album 'Confessions on a Dance Floor' Kylie has utilised their obvious strengths and abilities and as a collaboration they have put together a strong album which shouldn't disappoint. This is an album that will appeal to fans and casual followers alike and there's nothing here which will offend, however if I was being particularly critical I would also say that there is also nothing here which could be considered groundbreaking or new. In all honesty the majority of songs are forgettable fluffy moments of pure pop and if I was writing a track-by-track review I would end up repeating myself throughout my comments as there only so many words I could use to describe upbeat, pop/dance songs with simple lyrics and a pounding bassline. I could only pick out 4 tracks of the 12 which are in any way memorable for me personally and those would be the ones that I will keep on my IPod while the others face an imminent deletion unless they grow on me after a few more plays. That doesn't mean that the other 8 tracks are _bad_ though but as there are no ballads or slower songs on the collection to inject some light and dark shading or a change in momentum the songs themselves do pretty much flow into one another meaning that the album feels like one long extended dance track with a few interesting moments along the way. The overall running time of around an hour feels short and its only when "All the Lovers" comes back around that you realise that they album has finished although to be fair the more dedicated of fans may well find a few more of the songs to be keepers. **General release vs. The Special Edition** I ended up with The Special Edition of this album quite by accident as I had pre-ordered the general release from Amazon but due to reasons unknown to me I ended up with the more expensive of the two versions (despite paying for the cheaper one) For £11.99 on Amazon the Special Edition comes with a bonus DVD disc which features the making of the "All the Lovers" video, unseen footage from a previous tour and some behind the scenes footage of the Aphrodite photo shoot. Whether or not it is worth paying the additional 3 or 4 pounds will of course be up to you, for fans this will no doubt be a required purchase but for anyone looking for just the music tracks on their own then the £8.95 price tag for the general release seems to be a fair price to pay and the one that I would recommend. **Conclusion and Rating** Overall then "Aphrodite" by Kylie Minogue is exactly what you would expect it to be and whilst that may sound dismissive credit should be given to the singer for providing another batch of catchy pop ditties which will more than satisfy the need for this type of song. Kylie is successful in what she does because she constantly delivers what her fans ask of her and whilst this album may not bring many new followers to the fold it will appeal to those who already know and love her. The canny release date of this album means that she has become the first female solo singer to have had a number one album in four different decades (even Madonna hasn't managed this - yet) and respect must be given to her managing to retain a loyal enough following to help her succeed this record breaking feat, "Aphrodite" seems like an appropriate payoff for her fans loyalty and definitely sits well amongst her previous releases. For me there is _just_ enough here to consider this a worthwhile buy and overall it would be an album that I would recommend although personally I would suggest going for the general release version rather than the Special Edition. As far as my rating goes, 4/5 dooyoo stars seems fair enough for the album itself despite the limited stand out tracks for me personally but for the sake of this review of the 'Special Edition' I would have to deduct a star as I don't think the additional content is perhaps worth the additional cost therefore a 3/5 star rating will be my overall score for this particular version of the album. "Aphrodite" is available from the usual places with Amazon selling both editions for £8.95 and £11.99 depending on which option you chose and ITunes are offering additional tracks that are not included in either of these releases. It's a 'perfectly packaged pop production' which is an ideal summer album for when the weather is hot and you are feeling in a good mood and gets the thumbs up from me. Thanks for reading, please note that this review originally appeared on ciao under my username.
It doesn't seem that long ago that we all heard the news that Kylie Minogue was the latest to fall prey of the futile wrath of cancer. In the last five years since, Minogue released her 10th studio album 'X', and this month the eagerly anticipated album 'Aphrodite'. Of all her previous albums, critics considered 'X' to be amongst her weakest releases, with a few mediocre songs and fewer hits. The anticipation of Minogue's latest offering was high - would 'Aphrodite' be able to bring her back to the dizzy heights of glory to match her most successful album to date, 'Fever'? Does she have anymore "Can't Get You Out of my Head" tracks up her sleeve? Answer: Possibly. Minogue is at her best when she delivers pure pop that infuses a healthy dose of electronica - to keep the divas singing and the clubbers dancing. As a fan, I was intrigued and can happily report, not disappointed by the latest offering from the Aussie princess. The first single release is always the hardest. To deliver a taster of what one can expect from the album, but also maintain enough credibility to make the album worthy of a purchase from the average listener. The flagship song from 'Aphrodite' is the euphoric 'All the Lovers'. It delivers melodic charm interweaved with a sense of jubilation and release, all wrapped up in a delicious pop shaped parcel. Essentially a love song, 'All the lovers' flirts beautifully with a sense of provocative philosophy: 'All the lovers that have been before, they don't compare to you'. Vocally strong, Minogue adds a sense of seductivity coupled with a vulnerability, that over all adds a tender, yet equally confident delivery. Other notable tracks on the album include the infectious and jubiliant 'Get Out Of My Way'. The type of song that comes on in a club and makes you want to dance as you sing along to the skippy lyric, and those hairbrush divas to perform a solo infront of the biggest mirror in the house. If your looking for pop perfection, a listen to the title track 'Aphrodite', should have you adequately salivating. Commanding drums and strong melody ensnare you into a voyage that bounces and licks its way around electro-paradise. 'Can you fit me on the stereo? I'm fierce and feeling mighty, I'm a golden girl, I'm an Aphrodite... Don't you mess with me you don't want to fight me'. There are elements that remind me of the 'girl power' attitude of Destiny Child's 'Soldier'. Minogue has an ability to hit extraordinarily high notes with ease, that help to give this track an almost flawless quality packaged into a great sounding track, that makes you want to listen, and listen again. Another of my favourites is the quasi-retro feel of 'Better Than Today' (which reminds me of 'Still Standing' from Minogue's album 'Body Language'). The catchy melody is a joy to sing along with. Perhaps one of the most electro and inticing album tracks is 'Cupid Boy' (although, makes me want to sing along as 'Stupid Boy'). Full of juicy high pitched delivery layered on a bed of synthy beats. This song not only showcases Minogue's vocal range, but offers a complete escape from the generic pop that today's charts seem to be full of. Not sure if it's strong enough to warrant a single release - but definitely a club-circuit floor filler. Songs that perhaps are worth skipping include the sci-fi-pseudo-harpsichord (and arguably overproduced) bland 'Closer'. 'Too Much' sounds like it should belong on a reject compilation CD like 'Clubland volume69' or something - the type of generic song you would hear in the background of a gym, full of prima-donnas who don't care what music is on, as long as they can flex and stretch suitably in their skintight vests. Whilst I'm skirting on the negative, give 'Looking for an Angel' a miss - bland, bland, bland and dare I say with a eurotrashy, boring and trashy melody. I'm not even sure Lidl would grace their radio waves with the awful reject-of-clubland sound from this pile of dross. A criticism I have of Minogue, is I find her diction somewhat lacking in places. I can often find it rather hard to understand what she's singing about. But her vocal quality and range makes up for any imperfection in delivery. Taking into consideration a few songs that shouldn't have made the album - all in all, a successful 'come back' for Minogue. The album delivers a quality that was found in 'Fever', and sadly lacked in her subsequent releases. If you're after a summer that can offer a delicious dose of pop/dance/electro sounds, give 'Aphrodite' a go. You can buy it on Amazon for £7 or iTunes for £5. There is also a 'special edition' release that includes a DVD (oo la la). Track listing: 1. All The Lovers 2. Get Outta My Way 3. Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love) 4. Closer 5. Everything Is Beautiful 6. Aphrodite 7. Illusion 8. Better Than Today 9. Too Much 10. Cupid Boy 11. Looking For An Angel 12. Can't Beat The Feeling To sample the highlights of the album visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrhPK1WuY7U To see the glorious (Calvin Klein-esque) video for 'All the Lovers' visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frv6FOt1BNI&feature=fvw Recommended Thanks for reading :) © MarcoG 2010
The first time I listened to APHRODITE I loved it, as I was happy to simply hum along to the lively, retro styled synths, but the disappointment started when I really listened to the lyrics and from that point on I found it good, but not like 'oh wow'. My main issue it that there's just not a lot of variety in the style of the lyrics shown here - the tone and content of the songs are all one of three themes from beginning to end. They really needed to mix the lyricial content and style up more since the pace of the 80s dancehall music is the same thoughout the album. Everything flows together too well at times; making a lot of individual tracks forgettable in the jumble of loud noise the album becomes. A track by track breakdown isn't needed for this review: The whole album is a musically monotone Kylie love letter. Basically Kylie's hot, her life is great and her boyfriend is the best ever. The end. I can't believe that it took the talents of Stuart Price, Calvin Harris, Jake Shears, Nerina Pallot, Lucas Secon, Tim Rice-Oxley and Kish Mauve to write this. Kylie herself has only co-wrote three of the tracks this time; Illusion, Too Much and Looking For An Angel (But then, this isn't a bad thing seeing as I think that two of her self-penned songs are the weakest links. I don't think we want another Impossible Princess on our hands). The other thing that bothered me; Kylie's vocals. She's famous for her sweet, innocent, almost childlike vocals, but at times this effect seems too forced and nasal. It doesn't bother me on her past albums, but it has now become very obvious. Don't get me wrong; When APHRODITE is at it's best we get what I think is the strongest material Kylie's released during her time with Parlophone Records [Closer and Too Much], and some well-above-the-Kylie-average tracks that can stand up against her Light Years material [All The Lovers, Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love), Aphrodite and Cupid Boy]. This is why the fillers [Get Outta My Way, Everything Is Beautiful, Illusion, Better Than Today, Looking For An Angel and Can't Beat That Feeling] are a huge let-down for me as there is a clear contrast between the quality of the material, that once you've noticed doesn't go away again. Overall: it seems as though they just became bored halfway through the making of the album, so just padded it out with any old tracks that were laying around, confident that her fanbase will buy it and love it regardless. This is sadly becoming increasingly common with Kylie albums. [I'm going to put this review on Amazon. I can't wait to read the comments there; The Kylie fanatics can get really nasty when you dare to disagree with them and rate anything below a 4] - - - - - - - - - - Track list - - - - - - - - - - 1. All The Lovers 2. Get Outta My Way 3. Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love) 4. Closer 5. Everything Is Beautiful 6. Aphrodite 7. Illusion 8. Better Than Today 9. Too Much 10. Cupid Boy 11. Looking For An Angel 12. Can't Beat The Feeling - - - - - - - - - - Bonus tracks - - - - - - - - - - Mighty Rivers (Itunes only bonus track) [Kylie's boyfriend really is great and she's determined that we all know. However the synths are lighter and very Erasure sounding. I think this track is miles better then half of the physical album's tracks] Heartstring (Japanese only bonus track) [While the lyrical content is once again dedicated to how fantastic her boyfriend is, the synths are again lighter (and very similar to Can't Get You Out Of My Head), showing a bit of variety. That said it's still forgettable] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Bonus DVD [Special edition album only] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Making of 'All The Lovers' music video (12 minutes) Behind the scenes of the Aphrodite photoshoot (2 minutes) Aphrodite photo gallery White Diamond Theme [Live in New York] White Diamond [Live in New York] Confide In Me [Live in New York] I Believe In Me [Live in New York] * The Special edition comes packaged as a 28 book, with plenty of pictures of Kylie looking stunning, but no song lyrics or extra album information, so while it's pretty it's also rather pointless. The CD is pocketed in the front cover and the DVD is in the back cover. There is also a sticker of Kylie in the cover pose. The back of the sticker has a website address and a unique code. You can use this to join a 'Aprodite experience' site. The site content is basically the same that is on the DVD, except for a 39 minute chat with Kylie and executive producer Stuart Price. The song lyrics are also on the site.
Aphrodite Review To say that Kylie Minogue's 11th studio album is flawless would be a gross overstatement. To say that it's her most solid album since 1997's Impossible Princess, isn't. I've heard various critisisms about Kylie recently, the same one's that rear their head whenever she has a new album to promote. She doesn't write her own songs? She does actually. She just isn't such a big ego that she insists on releasing them over quality songs. On her last tour she performed a few of her self-penned more personal tracks that her record company deemed too personal and reflective for her tenth album. She can't sing? Sure, she doesn't have an acrobatic voice, but her vocal's are more than ample for her frivolous brand of pop, and nobody works harder at making the best of a somewhat limited talent. The most grating one though is that all of her songs sound the same. Bar Madonna, I challenge you to find an artist with a more diverse back catalogue in pop music. Aphrodite is pure dance from start to finish, with the nearest thing to a ballad being a fairly insipid inclusion at the insistence of executive producer Stuart Price. He's the guy behind Madonna's most commercial album of late "Confessions On A Dancefloor". Like that album, this caters purely for the dance floor, and Kylie's intensely loyal fan base. Again, Kylie gains only 2 co-write credits. Few pop artists in her genre write their owns songs, and yet it seems to be the norm to slate Kylie openly for this crime against music. She did write an album once, even contributing her own musical compositions. The public weren't interested in that. They much prefer hot-body Kylie in a swimsuit cooing and frothing over current synth beats and trance-lite 3 minute ditty's. For those interested, this is as near perfection as you're likely to get from the tiny Aussie babe. 1. All The Lovers Album opener is the lead single, and currently spending its time dominating the pop charts. Complete with Kylie's whispers and a killer chorus, I'm sure the gay clubs all over Britain will be in euphoria as that middle 8 kicks in. The lyrics aren't anything special and could be replaced with a menu of Kylie's breakfast, but you'll still sing along, and it's a great lead off for the album, if not the best track on the collection. 2. Get Out Of My Way This is the follow up single, and is vaguely reminiscent of 2007's Wow. Better on every level, this one up's the ante, and throws in a bit of attitude. This is Kylie's club statement to a stale boyfriend who just doesn't seem to want to enjoy himself anymore. She refers to him as "boring" and a "zombie". Not exactly words you would expect from a Kylie pop song, but with its two chorus's hanging the song together, this is a real get up and dance moment. 3. Put Your Hands Up A somewhat clichéd message paves the way for this clubby number. Another killer chorus saves it from being generic dance fodder. Like her classic hit Cant Get You Out Of My Head, it encourages you to feel and do exactly what it says on the tin. Perhaps not destined for any longevity, the song will certainly hit the spot for the moment. 4. Closer The most club-friendly track on the album. The lyrics are banal, the verses sound like a robot instruction in a space craft, but when that chorus kicks in, you'll be waving your hands in the air. There's something slightly wrong with Kylie's voice in this song, and that's the biggest critisism of a few of the tracks on the album. It seem's somebody has bought a truck load of those helium vocals from her Body Language album, and exploded it all over this album. 5. Everything Is Beautiful Bizarrely, this track was written by Tim Oxley Rice from Keane. It's not somebody you would associate with Kylie. It's barely Kylie, and its barely Keane. The result is a somewhere in the middle track that has decent enough lyrics, and might just be the grower on the album. It's not as instant as everything else, but you sometimes find that these may be the tracks that will last the pace. 6. Aphrodite The title track is tremendous. A slightly RnB sound backs up this sassy number where Kylie states "I'm fierce and feeling mighty, I'm a golden girl, I'm an Aphrodite". A great melody throughout saves it from being bland, and the moment where Kylie alerts us to the fact that she was gone, and now she's back surely belonged to the last album. Still, it's better late than never, and this could probably be the most self-referential track on the album. 7. Illusion This is a grower. The first time I heard it, its weird broken up beats didn't quite gel with me. However, it does ingrain itself in your head, and the synth's are very pleasant. It could have done well to lose that silly harmony at the beginning of the song though, it sounds like a jamming session during the preparation for a Kylie tour. 8. Better Than Today The album's best track is this country flavoured electro number, complete with a hand clapping backdrop and Kylie enquiring "whats the point of living if you don't wanna dance". A real statement number, this was originally performed on her US tour last Autumn. The recorded version does have Kylie singing in that slightly annoying voice that I mentioned earlier, but the song itself is absolutely spectacular. 9. Too Much Jake Shear's contribution to the album is the weakest moment, surprisingly. A techno by-the-book song that may be fine when you're having an after-club party back at yours, but serves very little other purpose. It's been done a million times before, and just sounds a bit cheap and tacked on. In fairness, its not offensive or rubbish, just generic and ordinary. 10. Cupid Boy Rotten title for an otherwise belter of a song. This also boasts two chorus's. We're being spoiled here. An electro beat thuds throughout, as Kylie invites "why don't you thrill me, like you did before". Excellent stuff that certainly smacks of single material. It's also nice that it came so late into the album as well, it stops us from getting bored. 11. Looking For An Angel This is dire. Kylie's helium vocal is on display for a cheesy production from Price. The verse's did have potential but as she repeats over and over again that she is looking for an angel, you just want to strangle the bloody angel that decided this should be on the album. This is not one that will grow on you. 12. Cant Beat The Feeling A brilliant pop finish to the standard edition of the album, this will have a few dancer's on the floor. Its not as interesting as some of the other songs on the album, and certainly doesn't break any barriers. However, it is pure Kylie, harking back to her earlier material for inspiration. She say's its beautifully when she opens the song "There doesn't have to be a reason, there doesn't have to be a why". Very true. 13. Mighty Rivers This is quite generic. There is a huge synthesiser playing at the back of the chorus. The title of the song and the message that "mighty rivers run through me" had my imagination whooping with excitement. It had the potential to be so much better. Thankfully, it's a bonus track on the special editions of the album, and certainly worthy of it's inclusion for that reason. 14. Heartstrings Now, this I absolutely loved. I came across this after I had listened to the initial standard edition of the album. It's not often that the bonus track on an album is as good as most of the other material. Kylie's voice is put through the mincer, but with such a nice melody, it barely even matters. Unlike 2007's all over the place comeback album X, this is a cohesive sold album that brings Kylie screaming and whispering back to the dance floor. There are a couple of dodgy numbers, and she could really use that voice we heard on 1994's self titled Kylie Minogue album. The lyric's aren't incredible by any stretch of the imagination. However, the album does prove that Kylie does this brand of disco pop better than anybody else. It also proves that she doesn't have to write her own songs to make them hers, she can sing perfectly in her own little arena, and the song's don't all sound the same. In fact, there are such a collection of different sounding pop / dance songs on display here that it caters for nearly every mood. Getting ready to go out? Get Out Of My Way Feeling fiesty? Aphrodite Feeling loved up? All The Lovers Feeling fed up? Can't Beat The Feeling. I probably recommend every Kylie product in the market, but this is truly worthy of the recommendation. It hit's the shops on Monday, 5 July.
Disc #1 Tracklisting 1 All the Lovers 2 Get Outta My Way 3 Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)4 Closer 5 Everything Is Beautiful 6 Aphrodite 7 Illusion 8 Better than Today 9 Too Much 10 Cupid Boy 11 Looking for an Angel 12 Can't Beat the Feeling