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Album Review: Kylie Minogue – Tension

3 min read

Show-stopping Australian actress and singer-songwriter Kylie Minogue has shot back into the spotlight with her dazzling new release Tension. Having sold millions of records and received numerous accolades including a Grammy award, Minogue has been regarded as an absolute powerhouse throughout her musical career. Now, nearly four decades since the pop mogul first began, Minogue has shown that she still has all the it-factor on her sixteenth studio album ‘Tension’. The fourteen-track record embodies the lively pop spirit for which Minogue has become known and loved for, one that has never showed any indicator of slowing things down.

Opening track Padam Padam thrives on a heartbeat with its supersonic dance grooves. Against thumping electronic notes, listeners are taken through an alluring rendezvous as Minogue sings “Padam, padam/I hear it and I know/Padam, padam/I know you wanna take me home.” The track encapsulates intoxicating tension and a lustful push-and-pull, an introduction that will get listeners moving until they’re breathless. As the sprightly Hold On To Now follows, there’s almost a moment to catch your breath as Minogue’s vocals flutter in alongside a bright, jumpy synth melody. Yet the chorus explodes with life and a hopeful message of “Oh, we’ll figure it out somehow/Keep holding on to now”. Emulating the carefree energy of a summertime anthem, there is a warmth intertwined within Minogue’s shining song-craft, fast-paced instrumentation, and a near-angelic outro.

There is an irrefutable feeling of togetherness that even supersedes the heartbreak of Things We Do For Love.  Suddenly, Minogue is the advocate for hopeless romantics who would do anything for love. Getting lost in lamenting isn’t her goal, but it feels like an open-hearted celebration of what it means to feel strongly. “Sometimes we cry/Sometimes we all get crazy/Baby, that’s the way you know that you’re alive,” she sings comfortingly, aided by infectious beats and a deep key arrangement to create textures which momentarily transport listeners to a 1980s Brat Pack dance scene. Title track Tension is a fiery release – or at least the search for one in a risqué tangle of vibrant tones and Minogue’s distorted tease: “Oh my god, touch me right there/Almost there, touch me right there/Don’t be shy, boy I don’t bite.”

The second half of the album brings out bold numbers that toy with disco and soul, from the slow grooves of You Still Get Me High and punchy, saxophone lined notes of Green Light. Notably, the only feature on the album is Dutch DJ Oliver Heldens on track 10 Out Of 10. Together, Heldens and Minogue have constructed a dancefloor hit that’s all about body, touch, and energy. With the resurgence of ballroom culture, it’s not hard to imagine hearing it as the backtrack for Vogueing connoisseurs. While the whole record possesses an undeniable feel-good quality, it is fighting a feeling. Love, lust, and heartbreak are mixed up in Minogue’s passionate artistry. Consequently, closer Somebody To Love feels bittersweet. Minogue’s vocals are tender against the track’s low bass grooves, her take on love and heartbreak reaching its touching climax; “So if you want somebody to love you/When you’re feeling like the time is right/Maybe I could be the one that you run to/And forever could be starting tonight.”

Acclaimed pop princess Kylie Minogue has stunned with Tension. It is steamy, exciting, and rife with club bangers that are bound to get crowds moving. Simultaneously, it does not stray away from moments that are heartfelt and relatable. With Tension, Minogue has demonstrated that she is timeless and formidable – a pop princess with a place in music history that is clearly marked.

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