…in which Kylie accepts her place in the world and Niall learns his.
My life rarely runs in tandem with that of a pint-sized pop goddess, but by happy coincidence this week sees both Kylie and myself embarking on new projects which see us jointly making peace with our places in the world.
Kylie, lest we forget, has now been making records for twenty-two (count ’em) years – some of them outstanding, some brave but misguided, some utter cack. I think it’s fair to say that when All the Lovers hit the airwaves a few days ago, expectations weren’t running all that high – after all, this is the woman who returned from fighting breast cancer with the what-the-hell-was-that tunelessness of Two Hearts. This has frequently been Kylie’s problem – whenever she embraces the fact that she’s purely pop she feels the need to offset it with something a little more cutting edge next time round, resulting in a hopeless lack of whatever “cool” caché she might have expected to gain. This time round, it appears she’s realised that when she does really excellent pop she’s as cool as she can ever aspire to be. Which is very. In its dreamy, slightly elegiac in a late-period-Abba kind of way, All the Lovers is far and away one of the best things she’s ever done. Ironically, it’s written by the very same tunesmiths responsible for Two Hearts, proof that everyone has at least one decent song in them, if you ask me.
Everything about this latest project – and we’re now on to Kylie V.11.0 if my sums are correct – suggests that our expressionless first lady of Antipodean pop has accepted her place in the world. In choosing Stuart Price (the man responsible for what we can, I think, safely call the Last Great Madonna Album) to oversee the production of Aphrodite, she’s placed herself in the hands of a man who understands what made her great in the first place, and what makes great pop music. There’s really only one word for it, and that word is hooray. Or possibly swingorilliant.
What, though, does any of this have to do with me? Well, if we’re being picky, precisely nothing. But, as I endlessly played All the Lovers after its debut last week and danced around my living room with a few tears of pop-induced joy rolling down my cheek and a gleeful disco-shiver down my spine, I came to realise that these are the moments I (more or less) live for. I’ve tried to be a grown-up. I tried to get excited about the election, and I even researched my local candidates before making a voting decision. But still I found myself involved in conversations I had very little interest in and little hope of understanding. Remember the noise the teacher used to make in Peanuts, when Peppermint Patty was slumped over the desk? It was like that, to the point where I just said “yes ma’am” every time I observed a rising inflection coming my way.
However, I could talk about the Kylie single for hours. I could write 1500 words on how Amanda Holden’s dogged fight to win over the hearts and minds of the nation is one of the greatest accomplishments in showbiz history*. And I could theorise about what’s going on in Doctor Who for the rest of time. These are the things I like to talk about, and I think they’re brilliant. So that’s what I’m going to do. Hooray!
*In fact, 44 words: It’s all down to the way she opens her mouth when she’s impressed by someone on BGT. This is the sole reason for my fascination with her, and I’m fairly sure why she’s so huge these days. Go on, watch for it – it’s AMAZING.