Wednesday, April 1

Album review: ‘Golden’

(Courtesy of Liberator Music)


Kylie Minogue

Liberator Music

Released Friday

Lady Gaga and Kesha aren’t the only pop singers adding a little country-influenced twang to their tunes.

Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue’s latest studio album “Golden” came out Friday and features the synth-pop sound that brought Minogue to fame back in the ’90s, while also throwing in some folksy instrumentals. While the aforementioned Lady Gaga and Kesha completely crossed over in terms of genre on their most recent studio releases, Minogue attempts to blend her signature electro-pop sound with country-folk influences.

The most apt description of the album came from Minogue herself – in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Minogue said the album feels like “Dolly Parton standing on a dance floor.” Ultimately, however, the album just doesn’t quite match the high level of musical value on her previous albums.

The intro to the album’s opening song, “Dancing,” immediately marks Minogue’s departure from her typical synth-dance sound, with arpeggiated acoustic guitar chords emblematic of the country-folk genre. However, as Minogue dives into the chorus, the song takes on a more electro-pop timbre, with a booming bass and Minogue’s repetition of the phrase “When I go out, I want to go dancing.”

Most of the other songs follow a very similar pattern: country-influenced verses and electronic refrains. While the two influences tend to balance each other out, they have a heavily formulaic feel, and at times it can feel a bit overwhelming simply because all of the tracks sound the same. It’s almost like listening to one 54-minute song.

However, the rigid structure does work well some of the time – the album’s titular song “Golden” skillfully blends country music and dance music. Minogue’s upbeat repetition of the phrase “We’re golden” gives the song a danceable feel, while the somewhat eerie background vocals add a layer of musical intrigue to the track.

For the most part, though, the formulaic blending of country and dance doesn’t work – the album seems to be targeting two very different demographics: country fans and electro-pop fans.

For example, the song “A Lifetime to Repair,” starts out as a cute and bubbly country tune with upbeat guitar chords and Minogue’s slight imitation of the Southern dialect as she sings “Cupid don’t love me like he used to do.” However, as Minogue counts down from six and dives into the chorus, the song introduces loud and jarring percussive elements and an oddly out-of-place bass drop.

The song would be far stronger if she stuck to the country elements throughout the whole track, as the chorus falls extremely flat and doesn’t match the authenticity of the verses.

However, there are a few notable exceptions. “Radio On” is a heartfelt country ballad that doesn’t really feature any strong electronic influence. Though the chorus’ percussive elements do evoke dance beats, the song ultimately feels quite sincere and genuine as Minogue sings about garnering strength through music.

“Raining Glitter” also succeeds in blending country and pop elements, meshing synthetic percussion sounds with a quick-paced, looping acoustic guitar early on and setting the “Dolly Parton standing on a dance floor” tone perfectly.

The album is by no means a bad one – but it certainly is not going to go down as Minogue’s magnum opus. While the few songs that diverge from the boring and droll structure that Minogue sticks to throughout most of the album make it somewhat worth listening to, the overall product doesn’t match the caliber of Minogue’s earlier work. At the end of the day, Minogue really ought to stick to what she’s best at – fun and danceable pop songs.

Daily Bruin senior staff

Andrew Warner is a Daily Bruin senior staff reporter. Warner was the editor of The Quad during the 2018-2019 school year and an assistant editor for the Music | Arts beat of Arts during the 2017-2018 school year. Before that, he was an Arts reporter during the 2016-2017 school year.

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.

  • jjswin

    Well goodness me. This is probably one of the poorest attempts at a review I’ve seen for this album.

    First: “all the tracks sounds the same.” Do they? Do they REALLY? *eye roll*

    “it certainly is not going to go down as Minogue’s magnum opus” — that one made me laugh; so misjudged; so many fans are hailing it as her best album, even after loads of them were terrified of the ‘country’ sound.

    A Lifetime to Repair is genius in the naivety of its verses, giving the surprise of the powerful chorus (it falls flat?! there’s something wrong with your ears?! It was a live highlight and the album version is even more powerful.).

    She also wrote every track on the album, again not done since 1997. Kind of an important point to make if you’re reviewing a Kylie album. You’re also missing out on the very personal nature of the album as well, about her recent, horrendous break up.

    This album is hardly targeting electro-pop fans! Every bit of promo has been about its country-influence. There has been NO mention of electro-pop in any promo I’ve seen. You’re just making things up.

    I could go on, but it’s currently number 1 in the iTunes download chart. Maybe people just love a 54 minute song.

    • TankLad

      James, you have become so immersed that you are increasingly coming across as someone who is incredibly deluded and possibly certifiably insane. I mean, trolling Joshua Sasse on his Facebook page? Really?! Get a grip for goodness sake. You’re an embarrassment to Kylie fans.

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with Andrew’s review. He’s clearly familiar with Kylie’s work and he makes many valid points. Just because you don’t agree, it does not make him wrong.
      The chorus of Lifetime To Repair is jarring -not least of all because of the screeching vocal- and “genius … naivety” seems a bit of an oxymoron.

      The tracks, on the whole, are rather samey – and, no, that doesn’t equate with “cohesive”.

      By its very nature, a Kylie album is going to attract electro-pop fans as that is what they expect from her. Although she’s been clear that this is a departure for her, she has still retained electro-pop elements so as not to completely alienate fans. If you can’t pick up on that, then it’s just as well you’re not a music journalist.

      Many fans were hailing Kiss Me Once her best album for the first few weeks of release, but look how that panned out. Only time will tell if Golden becomes a true favourite with fans and general public alike. And we’ll see how she fares on the real chart next week before boasting about chart positions, shall we?

  • TankLad

    It’s hardly an “attack” – Merely an observation. Oh, and don’t flatter yourself… Glancing at the Facebook page and seeing what goes on hardly makes me a stalker.

  • jjswin