Kylie Minogue has been a grinning, gyrating, ever-classy princess of pop since she began her career as a recording artist in 1987. She’s always been more of a Madonna-level superstar overseas, but those of us in the U.S. who’ve collected her singles, albums, remixes, and movies (I’m still processing Holy Motors, by the way) know her dance floor majesty is as admirable as her effortless maturity. She is — and this is a word I use sparingly to maintain its prestige — fabulous.
Today is Ms. Minogue’s 45th birthday, and since last year we toasted her birth with a decadent countdown, here comes another: We’re ranking Kylie’s 50 best songs. Ready to step back in time?
We’ve limited our selections to album releases because there are literally dozens of available Kylie B-sides. I’ll suggest that my favorite Kylie non-release is the X cut “I Don’t Know What It Is,” but that’s a debate for another day. Today, let’s plumb her 11 albums (and occasional collaborations with other artists on their albums) for her 50 finest tunes.
One of the darker tracks on Aphrodite features a whispering Kylie and the twinkliest, yet spookiest synths of her later career.
49. “Give Me Just a Little More Time”
This Chairmen Of The Board cover is buoyant and corny, with Kylie’s vocal popping off that dorky keyboard like a toaster pastry. It’s Kylie’s lack of self-consciousness that makes this track a zesty, cheesy triumph. (Don’t forget its bonkers b-side “Do You Dare”!)
48. “Under the Influence of Love”
Ohhhhh I’m — I’M! – under the spell of this swooning, nighttime blast of leisure-suited sensuality.
47. “Red Blooded Woman”
Is it controversial that I consider Body Language the best Kylie album? Its R&B/pop swagger (as well as Kylie’s sudden penchant for rapping) conceals sensitivity and intimacy, and “Red Blooded Woman” is a blippy, sweaty dip in self-possession and sex appeal.
46. “Where is the Feeling”
Commercially it’s considered Kylie’s least successful single to date, but “Where is the Feeling” is a yearning, indigo-tinged car jam. It also helps that the video is basically a carnal remake of Madonna’s “Cherish.”
45. “So Now Goodbye”
It’s Light Years’ hyperkinetic kiss-off that explodes into a million disco ball smithereens. It’s-OH-SO-tired-of-excuses, y’all!
44. “Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi”
This lilting, yet danceable ballad is full of tween angst and exactly five words of French. That percussion leading into the chorus? Sweet, heartfelt, and lovely!
They’re often compared, but Kylie Minogue comes closest to entering Robyn’s world of dizzy dancefloor wonderment on “Illusion,” the Aphrodite non-single that loses itself in a hypnotic, beeping motif in every chorus. An underrated Kylie moment.
42. “Wouldn’t Change a Thing”
“Wouldn’t Change a Thing” is all about the sincerity of those confessional verses (“Maybe I’m not right every time / But I know I’m right about this heart of mine”), and the addictively hiccupy chirps (“I-I-I-I-wouldn’t change!”)
41. “Never Too Late”
And speaking of sweet sincerity: Why can’t you try to be a maaaan about this? It’s never too late to change your mind, boys.