My question is, if Aphrodite didn’t have Kylie’s name on the cover, how many people would even give it a second listen ?
In her second major release since her cancer treatment, the Australian superstar has given us an upbeat collection of electropop dance tunes. It’s competently enough produced by Stuart Price, but there’s nothing on it that shouts out “great pop diva !”. There’s nothing remarkable or even very interesting about it musically – except for Kylie’s presence, and even that is marked out only by her distinctive breathy vocals and the sense of joy that she imparts to the songs.
Initially it seems that the record company had hoped that the new album would reflect a more mature side to the 42 year old singer. UK songwriter Nerina Pallot was taken on as a major collaborator. But recording sessions didn’t go so well, and finally it was decided to bring in Price, fresh from making the new Scissor Sisters album. Price’s approach was basically to give all the tracks a funked up electronic sound – he bragged that there would be no ballads on Aphrodite.
The end result is an album that’s cohesive, but rather dull, and which gives very little insight into Kylie the person. (When asked the question “what would we find out about you from Aphrodite?” all Kylie could say was that “this album is more about being in a pretty happy in my moment in my life.”) Aphrodite is the name of the Greek goddess of beauty and love, but this isn’t an album with any big themes, nor is it particularly sexual. The songs have light, playful, throwaway lyrics aimed at 9 year old girls just as much as their 29 year old mums. If they’re meant as a celebration of being alive, it would be easier to join in if both music and lyrics didn’t feel so recycled. Choruses such as “Put your hands up if you feel love tonight” and “What’s the point of living if you don’t want to dance?” feel less than inspiring. Recommended tracks here are Closer and All The Lovers; but there are too many bland synth beats on this album and not enough melody or soul.