“I feel like anything could happen”. That’s the line that opens up Kylie Minogue’s fifteenth studio album, DISCO. On paper, it’s a loaded lyric, isn’t it? Humanity’s inability to predict the future, try as we might, has consistently drawn us back. It keeps us paranoid, on edge, afraid. The only true constant in our lives is change, and when you’re not sure when change will happen and how it will manifest, we can be filled with worry. But, with a twinkle in her eye and her hand outstretched to you, Kylie Minogue sings that opening line before delivering an album that teaches us not to worry at all.
There’s no secret in what the sound of DISCO is like. Taking cues from newer artists who have recently offered their own interpretation of the genre, like Dua Lipa, Doja Cat and Daft Punk, Minogue dives headfirst into the mirrorball. It feels like the entire album takes place over the course of one night, Minogue ready to show you her version of Neverland. Punchy, brass-sprinkled opener ‘Magic’ sees her ask whether you believe in magic, but it’s a question she doesn’t really care to hear an answer for – skeptic or not, she’s going to show it to you.
She lures you in with the understated and sensual ‘Miss A Thing’, dares you to keep up with her rollercoaster melodies on ‘Real Groove’ and already sets her sights on the next dance with the rapid-fire guitar notes on ‘Monday Blues’. Album standout ‘Supernova’ kicks things up a sparkling notch, offering a hyperactive, string-drenched track that leaves you breathless yet still clinging on for more.
And then comes ‘Say Something’ – the album’s centrepiece and definitive highlight. If Kylie Minogue wasn’t deified before, she certainly is now. The track feels like a spiritual awakening, with a dreamy Minogue assuring you that everything’s going to be OK. And that’s what the world needs right now, in a time where all of us are as physically disconnected as we’ll likely ever be. The song doesn’t have the infectious hooks of some of Minogue’s biggest hits, but it doesn’t need to. It’s a complete ascension to another level of her decades-long career. The chorus is painfully brief, but powerfully evocative all the same. As she asks “can we all be as one again?”, you get the feeling that she’ll be the one to unite us.
Minogue doubles down on it throughout the remainder of the album. ‘Last Chance’ struts effortlessly from start to finish, ‘I Love It’ keeps you spinning and ‘Unstoppable’ offers a relatively muted, slap-bass tinged moment on an album of wall-to-wall dance floor anthems. She strikes lightning twice with the double whammy of ‘Where Does The DJ Go?’ and ‘Dance Floor Darling’, as you can practically see her flanked with dancers delivering strong and swift legwork on stage in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future. While the former is drenched in bulleting guitars and electrifying strings, the latter explodes in colour and glitter. Akin to something Carly Rae Jepsen might do, ‘Dance Floor Darling’ refracts every beam of light upon Minogue, offering a hypnotising technicolour display as this magic carpet ride, sadly, is about to end.
DISCO comes to its close with ‘Celebrate You’, a self-empowerment anthem worth screaming and hugging to, similar to that of Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’. “Everything I like about myself is better with you/Scream it to the world like what the hell” is as loaded of a lyric as the one DISCO opened with. 2020 has seen us all scream “what the hell” at the universe, pleading with whatever deity may exist to give us a break. Finally answering our calls, Kylie Minogue – an undisputed global pop goddess – has descended from the heavens with big hair and bigger dreams. She grabs you by the hand as you soar through 40 minutes of delicious and irresistible disco-infused pop, before planting your feet firmly in the clouds and dancing among all that is celestial.
DISCO is Kylie Minogue’s best album in at least a decade, and it’s an album that will go down as a Kylie classic as well as one of modern pop. If you didn’t believe in magic before, DISCO has 12 different ways to prove you wrong.