It is not unusual for certain actors to transition and try a music career, and vice versa. While these brief dalliances usually do not build lasting legacies, some reshape the music landscape. Showing that the singer is one of many talents. In 1988, riding on a successful part in an internationally syndicated soap opera, an Australian actress, teamed up with the rising behemoth of the Hit Factory to produce an outstanding debut album, that launched a stellar music career. That star’s name was Kylie.
Kylie Minogue dazzled audiences all over the globe as the girl-next-door mechanic, Charlene, on the then-popular show Neighbours. When she first came to London to pursue a music career, scepticism was present and the pressures of deadlines even more so, but better heads prevailed. The first track they produced is The Loco-Motion, which was a respectable cover, that earned a place among the many classic songs that Stock, Aitken, Waterman helped reintroduce to a new age. The result was a perfect mission statement and introduction to Kylie’s potential. With the success of their cover, they soon collaborated again, beginning a long and lasting career.
The eponymous debut boasts 10 songs. Like a lot of records at the time, the album starts strongly with the hits on the first half. But there are some great tracks buried in the B-side, such as I Miss You, due to its 60s/80s fusion that evokes Diana Ross’s Chain Reaction. The track I Should Feel So Lucky is the pick of the pack with its shimmering synth pads, recognisable drums, and electronic bass line. Combined with the youthful vocal delivery of Kylie gives the track a big boost.
Most of the songs retain that distinctive sound, whether they be the pumping dance tracks or slower ballads. However, it is I Should Be So Lucky that steals the show, in conjunction with its enjoyable music video of Kylie on the streets of sunny Sydney. Another symbol of the 80s, an era that certainly was not left wanting for iconic looks. The international artwork depicting Kylie with a leather jacket makes her look like other 80’s stars Like Tiffany, Kim Wilde, and Debbie Gibson. It is this image that is found in the lyrics and styles of the debut album. A surprisingly mature direction for the 20-year-old, with lyrics dealing with cheating, romance, and the like. This was not exactly a leisurely produced record what with Kylie’s continuing commitments to Neighbours, although listening to the album you could not tell that there was any pressure. Still, the results turned out rather well for all parties involved. Another hit album for The Hit Factory, and a launchpad for Kylie’s hit music journey.
Pop music is like building a house by a passing boat in a river; the constant pursuit of the bleeding edge is always going to seem quaint as the progress of the cultural and technological advance, combined with an inexperienced singer’s first attempt, might result in a dated cultural artefact. However, Kylie manages to avoid both shortcomings, Stock, Aitken, Waterman offering a major step in helping Kylie realise her potential. With mature themes and a great late 80s sound, that still makes for an enjoyable listen today. For introducing us to the musical side of Kylie, we should all be so lucky.
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