Friday, August 14th, 2020

Kylie Minogue – Say Something

For lack of a newer joke: not a Karen Harding cover…


[Video][Website]
[7.00]

Alfred Soto: Dua Lipa and Jessie Ware may have released singles with choicier filigrees, but Kylie’s been doing this shit for thirty years. Listening to a new single in 2020 is like listening to Sonny Rollins in 2006. She says something, never gets in the way.
[7]

Leah Isobel: Kylie is our most proudly meta popstar, an artist whose work is as much about Pop Itself as it is about human emotion. Unlike Madonna, another crucial mediator in Pop-as-genre’s whitewashing of disco tropes, Kylie has no ego on record. Her work isn’t about anything other than what the music makes her feel. It’s a masterclass in postmodernism, a hall of mirrors reflecting the commodified self. (Shout out Kay Gabriel on Kevin Killian.) In other words, Kylie doesn’t make pop, Kylie embodies pop. And “Kylie Goes Disco” is a near-irresistible narrative hook, invoking its promise of eternal return, everlasting youth, recapturable feeling. If Kylie Goes Disco, then pop is returning to its youth too, in defiance of the forces of time, radio trends, and late capitalism. But “Say Something,” the lead single from an album literally titled DISCO, is less forthright. Its sound is closer to 2010s indie-dance than, y’know, actual disco; it’s certainly danceable, but its heady textures lack disco’s physical lushness, and the low end is surprisingly muted. The lyrics, too, are more concerned with love as spiritual and intellectual fulfillment than love as physical pleasure. It’s not that disco can’t engage with spirituality, but that its way into more abstract matters is through engagement with reality — the things that make us feel mighty real, that have to be real. “Say Something” features no such consummative release. It opens with an admission of distance and closes with an unanswered question. In between, Kylie narrates an evocative sequence of big choices, storms chased, racing heartbeats, and eternal love, but from a curious remove. The operative word in Kylie Goes Disco isn’t Disco but Goes, and the Disco to which Kylie Goes isn’t the real, physical place (good, we’re in a pandemic), but the glimmering fantasy of one, the sweet, vague feeling of dancefloors past, the weightless discotheque of the heart. You could call it heaven — or paradise — the kind of place that only grows in power as our collective memory moves it further into the abstract realm of What We Had and What We Could Have If We Work For It. Decades removed from its source, it’s pure memory. Maybe that’s why its wistful beauty doesn’t move me the way I’d like.
[6]

Thomas Inskeep: This sounds less “Kylie goes disco” to me than “Kylie goes Robyn.”
[7]

William John: “Say Something” sits in the middle of a Venn diagram of Kate Ceberano’s “Pash” (in lustiness and cadences), Lady Gaga’s “Stupid Love” (as the most recent iteration of those synth stabs), and Cut Copy’s “Lights & Music” (the drongo-ness, and shared floaty, searchlight introduction), but it’s quite unlike any of those formidable ancestors. This is a structurally intriguing single, with a chorus that’s over in a flash and an outro that lasts almost half the song’s running time. Despite those peculiarities, it’s the most effortless-sounding Kylie single in nearly a decade, and also her most hopeful, in its assertion of the power of the collective, and recognition of wanderlust as a forbidden, alien feeling in these grim times.
[8]

Tobi Tella: Despite its lack of any connection to the real world, I can’t stop projecting onto “Say Something.” Maybe it’s the venture into thinking about the nature of love and how we’re all just drifting, looking for something in a time where it’s so hard to find. It flirts with a grand scope, and I think if it fully committed it could be a knockout.
[7]

Katherine St Asaph: Jessie’s take on all-caps DISCO was primal, Dua’s was Primark, and Kylie’s — we do not acknowledge any other takers for the mononym — is pop at its prime; if you’re low on joy, here’s an emergency pack of glitter and serotonin. The track’s over-full of ebullience: a sweeping wind of a melody, blown gustier by gospel choirs; synth and guitar with sinew and vein; Kylie’s champagne Creamsicle of a vocal, frosted over with ABBA-ish backing vox, flecked with pants and whispers that don’t sound horny so much as carbonated; a tempo less for actual dancing than choreography, not messy but perfected; all sorts of sentimental wanderlust and love-is-love and being-as-one-again stuff that, while all platitudes, at least are delivered like platitudes realized on the spot. It’s so over-full, in fact, that it bursts through any kind of song structure, but whoever complained about a too-generous care package?
[8]

Scott Mildenhall: A great song in search of a structure. It shares some of the emotional gleam of “I Believe In You” and “The One,” and it seems to know exactly where it wants to end up — ascending into neon spirituality. And when it gets there, it really does get there. But there’s a lot of indecisive toing and froing in the interim.
[7]

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: As a song, this is pleasant disco goodness. But as a video, this is something else. It’s absurd: Kylie shoots light out of her hands and sensually touches herself while sailing through the cosmos on a golden horse. I need some of whatever she was having during that shoot. 
[7]

Will Adams: Minogue remains a beam-of-light vocalist who, when paired with a citrusy electropop backing, can enliven the doldrums of an eternal isolation period. I just wish she weren’t stuck with a chorus that waits the whole song before arriving.
[6]

Katie Gill: I mean, it’s Kylie. By this point, you know what you’re going to get, and she delivers. Even if the end kind of meanders and the song itself feels like the same 30-second idea repeated seven or so times, I say that with love. It’s fun, catchy, and turned off my stressed-out brain for four minutes or so. Good job, Kylie. I appreciate you.
[7]

Reader average: [9.5] (2 votes)

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One Response to “Kylie Minogue – Say Something”

  1. excellent writing here

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