The launch of Australian singer Kylie Minogue’s 16th studio album “Tension” last week was one of the most anticipated this year if the memes that popped up after the release of the first single “Padam Padam” were anything to go by. The catchy single released in mid-May became the unofficial song for the many Pride events held worldwide the following month.
On YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, fans filmed themselves mimicking the dance moves from the video that has since been viewed 18 million times in the past four months. Even Kylie was surprised by how big “Padam Padam” got in the span of a few months. In interviews with the preternaturally youthful 55-year-old, she said it could mean anything like—hello or goodbye.
“You dare to dream of something like that … that’s going to hit immediately and just keep growing. I feel like it’s not mine anymore, its become the people’s song,” she said in an interview with TV host Andy Cohen.
Earlier this month, the second single and the album’s title track were released. “Tension” has an infectious beat and was cowritten with British songwriter Kamille, who also shared writing duties on the track, “Things We Do for Love.”
Since the album dropped on Sept. 22, I’ve listened to it on loop the entire weekend and noticed a few things. Unlike her last studio album, “Disco,” that was released at the height of the pandemic in November 2020, “Tension” is a bit uneven. Her 15th album “Disco” featured one danceable hit after another beginning with “Magic” and “Miss A Thing,” all the way to “Where Does the DJ Go?,” “Celebrate You” and “Real Groove.”
Stand out tracks
In the new album, the tracks that stand out for their ear worm-like qualities are the two singles, followed by “One More Time,” “Green Light” and “Love Train.” Don’t expect deep, moving lyrics. Kylie does what she does best—light and fizzy soda pop tracks that you just “can’t get out of your head.”
For example, in “Love Train,” she sings: All aboard my love train/ I can take you to the moon in the fast lane/ I need a passenger, baby, don’t wait/ Yeah you better buckle up, it’s a beautiful view.
The title track has this jewel: I’m a star ba-ba-babe/ Do this all all day-day-day/ Cool like sorbet-bet-bet/ Bet you can’t wait-wait-wait.
Despite her bubblegum lyrics, Kylie knows exactly what she’s doing. Aside from releasing singles that immediately go viral, she helped build up the, uh, tension by holding a three-day pop-up on Regent Street in London from Sept. 22 to 24. On sale were individually numbered and signed lithographs and vinyls. It was such a hit that after it ended, she announced that the sale would continue online until Sept. 29.
Vogue cover and Vegas residency
Last week, Vogue Australia announced Kylie as the cover star of their October 2023 issue wearing a Louis Vuitton top and mini. It’s a fact that magazine covers and content are planned months in advance, so her people were already in contact with the Vogue people maybe a year ago.
Beginning November, Kylie will start her seven-month residency at the new Voltaire performance venue at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, United States. To mark this milestone, she included a song “Vegas High” in the album.
Kylie described her latest album as “a blend of personal reflection, club abandon and melancholic highs.” “Tension” might take some getting used to, but that’s OK. A girl’s got to eat, and Kylie is serving.
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