It's unreal to think that Kylie Minogue has taken the UK, as well as native Australia and Europe by storm (with the U.S to follow later on in the 2000s) and her back catalogue goes as far back as the late 1980s to even this day, spanning 30 years and 4 decades. I Should Be So Lucky was played constantly on the radio as a young girl in 1988 and that was my first introduction to Kylie.
She has released 14 studio albums and - wait for it - 74 chart singles, which is staggering, since she disembarked on a solo pop career, after leaving the soap opera, Neighbours.
From her humble beginnings as Charlene to her debut in the shape of the cover version, The Locomotion to becoming a product of the Stock Aitken and Waterman factory assembly line, and one where they were labelled as 'The Hit Factory' to her post-PWL recordings, Kylie has evolved over the years and in doing so, she has established herself as one of the all-time bonafide pop queens. With each decade, she manages to reinvent herself and remain relevant in the music scene, and all despite a few blemishes along the way.
Often described as a rival to Madonna in the late 1980s to 1990s, when the two singers were pitted against each other by the press and media, Kylie went on a trailblaze of glory and did her own thing and Madonna did hers, and with that, they each became successful on their individual terms, career-wise. In an industry ruled and dominated by American and British acts, it makes Kylie's success even more remarkable. My favourite Kylie era is still the PWL/SAW period, whereby upon until 1992/93, the material she had churned out, ranged from very good to great, she did no wrong in my eyes. From a young teen pop princess to an adult pop queen, I see parallels with yet another then- young pop star who has over the years evolved, namely in Britney Spears.
Kylie Minogue has released and recorded so many songs, both singles and albums-wise to select 10 was no easy feat for me, yet in these offerings, these tracks represent my personal soundtrack to one of Melbourne music's finest:
1. Got To Be Certain (1988) - originally recorded by Mandy Smith, thankfully, PWL withdrew her rendition in favour of Kylie's as a single release. It's carefree, cheesy, poppy, and oh so unbelievably catchy, but it is also a cracking pop record. The second single after the hugely massive debut, I Should Be So Lucky, I could listen to this one so many times and not get bored of it at all.
''I've got to be, got to be certain, I've got to be so sure, I've had my share of hearts broken, and I don't wanna take that any more''
2. Wouldn't Change A Thing (1989) - this song is nothing short of a pop masterpiece and it still is brilliant, 30+ years on. Taken from the LP Enjoy Yourself, it debuted at #2 and remained on the UK chart for 9 weeks. Much like with her Stock Aitken & Waterman output, Wouldn't Change A Thing is a superb little pop number.
''If I had to do it all again, I wouldn't change a single thing, there's no questioning in my heart, when it comes to our love, I wouldn't change a thing''
3. Hand on Your Heart (1989) - disguised with an uplifting instrumental, the lyrics are rather sad and these are masked along with a signature dance routine. It was praised by many as being a strong single for Kylie, and it is with its sing-a-long & memorable lyrics. And it became and is one of her biggest pop hits, ever.
''Put your hand on your heart and tell me it's all over, I won't believe it 'til you, put your hand on your heart and tell me, that we're through, ooh''
4. Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi (I Still Love You) (1988) - a mid-tempo ballad -type song with contrasting lyrics & a French theme going for it as well. The song features a variety of instruments used that include a drum machine, a few guitar riffs and synthesizers. It sounds great and the melody that is produced by PWL is spot-on.
''I, I I'm wondering why, I still love you, Je ne sais pas pourquoi, I still want you, Je ne sais pas pourquoi''
5. I Should Be So Lucky (1988) - the one that started it off all for her pop career and a global smash for Kylie as it reached #1 in 4 countries, including the UK and her native Australia. I Should Be Lucky was recorded in less than an hour and interestingly features on the soundtrack of the 1989 film, 'Cookie'. Undeniably, this is Kylie's landmark record; the Bicentennial remix is my favourite version of the song. I realise a lot of people aren't fans of this song, but this still does it for me, 30+ years on.
''I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, I should be so lucky in love''
6. Better The Devil You Know (1990) - after two girl-next-door efforts, Kylie decided to switch things up by trading the girl next door innocent look for one that was bold, confident and sexy and to reinvent herself; that and she and also made a sexually- charged video to go with the record. The song was later covered by Steps, 9 years after its original release, but now, even 4 decades later, Better The Devil You Know still reigns as a classic signature Kylie pop anthem.
''I'll forgive and forget, if you say you'll never go, 'cos it's true, what they say, better the devil you know''
7. Nothing To Lose (1992) - a track off the Enjoy Yourself LP, and one that ought to have been released as a single. Whilst SAW were the producers and creators, songs such as Nothing To Lose required a singer in Kylie to help bring them to life, which she did. It also exudes a fun feel-good factor to go with it. This is and ought to have been the successor to Wouldn't Change A Thing.
''Gotta take a chance, gotta make a move, got everything to gain, and nothing to lose, ah, nothing to lose, everything to gain, and nothing to lose''
8. Fever (2002) - from the self-titled 7th album (and even better than the previous Light Years), this too should have been released as a single, whilst dance-wise, its electro -track beat and style are radically different to her PWL productions, there are still hints of their infectious melodies and chorus brimming through it. Lyrically, it's suggestive & saucy and musically, it's hip, it's danceable and unquestionably catchy.
''Fever sure has got me good, what you do when fever takes hold, I can't help but need this drug, don't you feel the fever like I do, feel the fever''
9. Obsession (2005) - Yet another terrific non-single record, it's a song about wanting or be it needing love for the wrong reasons. Taken from Body Language, that album wasn't as well-received as Fever and Light Years but it still had some good gems lurking in that one. Obsession is heavily influenced by R&B; it's bouncy, slick and stylish too. When it comes to her non-PWL stuff, Body Language is, for me anyway, her most overlooked and understated effort that, with great tracks in the likes of Obsession, deserves more than a few listens.
''You don't need love, it's a question of obsession, so drawn to your own reflection, you want someone, like a personal possession, to shine, light on, your perfection''
10. Love At First Sight (2002) - Kylie co-wrote this song that was released as a third single off the Fever LP, this is one of several great tracks from it. Whilst More More More is the opener, Love At First Sight is when things start to kick in with a funky '70s-ish beat. A song that could easily rival Better The Devil You Know. This is a disco - type song given a 2000s flavour, and it's bloody brill!
''and everything went from wrong to right, and the stars came out and filled the sky, the music you were playing really blew my mind, it was love at first sight''
*Honourable Mentions: Sexy Love, Dancing, Stop Me From Falling, Golden, Please Stay, I'm Over Dreaming (Over You), All I Wanna Do Is Make You Mine feat. Jason Donovan, Secrets, Put Yourself In My Place, Spinning Around, Never Too Late, Keep on Pumpin' It, Some Kind of Bliss, Always Find The Time, What Do I Have To Do?, What Kind of Fool? (Heard All That Before), One Boy Girl, Spinning Around, Red Blooded Woman, Rhythm of Love, Burning Up, Secret (Take You Home), Celebration (Have A Party Mix), Still Standing, Sweet Music, All I See feat. Mims, Wow, Put Your Hands Up (Pete Hammond Remix), On A Night Like This, Let's Get To It, Live & Learn, Right Here Right Now, Word Is Out, Too Much of a Good Thing, Just Wanna Love You