Album reviews: Kylie Minogue's 'Aphrodite' and Kelis' 'Fleshtone'
Dance queens on a mixed beat
On her 11th studio album, Australian dance-pop queen Kylie Minogue sings in her candy-coated coo, "What's the point of living if you don't want to dance?" It's the kind of sentiment that rings true when packed on the floor, writhing, sweating, not thinking about the job, the kids, the car payment.
Minogue, who's been whipping up synth-based escapism on a global scale for nigh 20 years now, provides as reliable a tunnel out of reality as she ever has on "Aphrodite," a chipper record that aims to sweep up the entire dance floor in a big, drippy hug. Over sugar-crusted pulsations, the singer dives into euphoria, her voice flitting around like a glittery hummingbird on "Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)."
Our midnight bird has been in the club for a long time, however, and it shows. There aren't many new ideas here, just more of the old reliable — which, from such a believer, is still finely executed. But Kelis really does sound like a DJ saved her life tonight. She made her name in R&B with off-kilter Neptunes collaborations and the hypnotizing chant of "Milkshake" but with "Flesh Tone," her fifth album but first dance-pop entree, she finds her spirit.
Weathering a sea-change year that included separation from her partner Nas, the birth of their son Knight and a public spat with PETA, Kelis, working with will.i.am for his Interscope label, calls on German fidget producer Boys Noize, French house legend David Guetta and Italian electro-house purveyors Benny and Alle Benassi to make a spirited but disciplined set of classic Euro-club bangers. Sometimes they're darkly contemplative, slipping into trance; other times they nearly rip at the seams.
With titles like "Emancipate," "Brave" and "4th of July (Fireworks)," it's clear that Kelis has carved out a new niche for herself, dancing in front of the turntables till the lights come on, if they dare.
— Margaret Wappler
Two and a half stars
Will.i.am Music Group / Interscope
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