I think it is safe to say that underneath her campy pop persona, Kylie Minogue really wants to make sophisticated pop music. Body Language is such a far cry from the campy Light Years that started her career resurgence three years ago, I won’t blame her loyal fans for feeling used. After all, once she’s tasted success again, it doesn’t take long for her to dump the kitsch for the brand of Starbucks music she is now selling on Body Language.
Not that I am saying she is wrong in any way in going back to doing what she loves to do best – if anything, some of Ms Minogue’s more zealous fans are the unreasonable ones here as they will reject anything from her that doesn’t scream pink feather boa or manufactured camp that these fans mistake for queer music. Don’t they get it? She is never going back to the days of Stock, Aitken and Waterman. However, it is very easy to be cynical as Ms Minogue only has writing credits on four out of the twelve tracks here. Body Language is essentially a well-produced album designed to penetrate the US market via Starbucks and other jazzy coffee bean lounges and bistros everywhere.
Because that’s what the music on this CD is: faux-cool laidback songs with only just enough hook to make one remember that something is playing the background while one sips expensive coffee purportedly imported from some third-world South America country. I must give her and her music makers credit though: the twelve tracks here are diverse as much as they share the same trait of being pleasant but often unmemorable music.
Slow, the lead single, is a laid back piece of electronica-funk that has a pleasant chorus, but it takes several listens before it registers on me. In short, it’s an unobtrusive music best played at bistros. Still Standing and Someday sound like rejects from Prince’s Paisley Park days, only this time Ms Minogue’s delivery, masked by an irritating double-layer vocal effect, is insincere and ineffectual to do the song any justice. Ms Minogue raps in the otherwise bland Secret (Take You Home), one of the most American mainstream R&B sounding tracks here. One can easily imagine a sexy music video for this one, involving fast cars and very little clothes, perhaps, but Ms Minogue’s Left-Eye-style rapping in a noticeable Australian accent takes some getting used to. Many of her fans that reject American stylistics in music are violently against this track, but I think it’s one of Body Language‘s more memorable tracks, even if it feels all wrong for Kylie Minogue.
Red Blooded Woman, the other American mainstream R&B sounding track, fares less well than Secret (Take You Home) because it becomes more evident than ever on this track that Ms Minogue’s vocals are not suited for this kind of music. Her voice is not the type to convey the soulful effect that is needed to pull off this track. Chocolate is a song that’s meant to be sexy, but at the same time, this track is also muted and it lacks any distinctive hook whatsoever. The best track on this CD is the orchestral ballad Loving Days. Despite the unfortunate string arrangement that mimics that of Madonna’s Frozen too much for comfort, this track has everything the other tracks on this CD lacks: a strong hook, a spontaneous sexiness in the delivery, and a tune that sticks to my head.
I think I missed out on several tracks, but these remaining tracks are nondescript mid-tempo dance tunes that are fillers rather than strong tracks in their own right.
Body Language has been compared to Ms Minogue’s 1994 self-titled CD from Deconstruction (the one with Confide in Me), and rightfully so. However, this time around, she is hiring a bunch of people to mimic the music she used to make with Steve Anderson. Isn’t it nicer to hire the real deal instead? I’m sure Anderson will be happier to work with Ms Minogue instead of Holly Vallance. The 1994 Kylie Minogue CD has a few good tracks and too many fillers that seem never-ending in their pretentious bistro-lounge aspirations. Body Language lacks any song that grab me at once.
I don’t mind this if repeated listening of the CD will give me a better appreciation of the songs. Unfortunately, I’ve given this CD about six listens since I’ve purchased it, and while it makes a decent accompaniment to me doing the housework, I am hard-pressed to hum out the tune of any of the songs here even if you pay me a million dollars to try. I’m afraid Body Language will be collecting dust on my CD shelf after I’m done with it. Which will be, I predict, anytime soon now.