If there’s one thing audiences have learned from Kylie Minogue’s 32-year career, it’s that she hardly remains sedentary in the pop genre for long.
From her hallmark bubblegum pop, to electronic dance pop, and even a brief venture into country pop for her last album, Golden (2018), the prolific Australian musician embodies the peculiar dichotomy of maintaining a foundation in classical pop and constantly stretching the bounds of the genre.
Minogue’s fifteenth studio album, DISCO, is yet another feather in her cap, or perhaps for a more apt metaphor, another glittering jewel in her crown of pop princesshood. As one could gather from the name, this new project is fueled by synthy ’80s disco and infectiously upbeat rhythms. Tracks like “Supernova” and “I Love It” feel like a twinkly night on the town at Studio 54, with violin swells and techno beats galore. Minogue invites you to channel any quarantine angst onto the dancefloor, declaring on opener “Magic,” “Dancing together/Ain’t nothing that could be better/Tomorrow don’t matter.”
Her saccharine soprano vocals repeatedly encourage fans to let loose and have a good time, painting a clear picture of the album’s intended essence. After a decidedly lackluster year, Minogue urges her listeners to find the silver lining through some good old-fashioned fun under the disco ball. If you’re looking for meaningful and complex lyricism, DISCO isn’t the project for you. But for a veteran pop star like Minogue there’s little pressure to fulfill this role in the first place. One of DISCO’s greatest strengths lies in its consistency, an element noticeably absent on her previous project, the off-kilter country fusion album Golden. Each track on DISCO toys with similar ideas about finding solace from day-to-day stress through music and good company, repetitive at some points, but mostly a welcome escape from the chaos of our current world. The album’s comfortable and bubbly sweetness act as the main appeal to listeners searching for a bit of escapism.
DISCO’s production stands equally as steadfast as Minogue’s lighthearted message. Producers Teemu Brunila and Sky Adams claim recurring co-writing credits on standout tracks like “Say Something” and “Miss a Thing,” enhancing the project’s cohesiveness even further. While the most compelling songs on DISCO aren’t quite as memorable as earlier hits like “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” (2001), it’s clear that Minogue has long since mastered the craft of catchiness.
The artist’s reliability in churning out pop crowd-pleasers has gained her a particularly expansive fandom. The LGBTQ+ community specifically has bestowed Minogue with the title of “gay icon,” a label she said has always felt natural to her in a 2018 New York Post interview.
It’s not hard to see the widespread appeal of Minogue’s brand. Her words, in their broadness, speak to a vast range of audiences, indiscriminately beckoning the listener to leave their troubles on the dancefloor whether they be a middle-aged suburban mom or a gay bar patron.
Perhaps it is this same ambiguity that helps make Minogue’s music feel so timeless. Her lyrics on DISCO are general yet perfectly tailored for the present moment. In an interview with Apple Music, the artist confides that, “some of the best disco songs are mission statements of strength. Even though I started recording before the dramas of 2020, there is a correlation.” To many, her latest work provides a kind of catharsis from these aforementioned “dramas of 2020,” optimistically alluding to a time in the future when fans can enjoy her dance-worthy ballads at the club and not just their living rooms.
DISCO never outwardly touches on the isolation and calamity of the past year, but instead provides a diamond-encrusted distraction from it. Simultaneously removed from the present and also undeniably felicitous, Minogue has once again provided a sparkling respite from the hum-drum of daily life, an ability which has earned the artist her famed “Princess of Pop” moniker and won over millions of fans across the last three decades. Here’s to a sixteenth Kylie Minogue album.
Daily Arts Contributor Nora Lewis can be reached at email@example.com.