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Album Review: Kylie Minogue – The Abbey Road Sessions

5 min read

Kylie Minogue, or simply Kylie, is without doubt Australia’s most iconic and celebrated artist. She is so celebrated that the UK adopted the starlet as one of our own back in the nineties, welcoming the singer into their hearts following her venture into one of music’s most prolific recording partnerships. Stock, Aitkin & Waterman helped put Kylie on the musical map, penning songs for the star including Got To Be Certain, Hand On Your Heart, What Do I Have To Do and her signature hits, I Should Be So Lucky and Better The Devil You Know.

KylieAbbeyRoadThe Abbey Road Sessions, Kylie’s latest greatest hits reworking, is on our doorstep and is to be released via Parlophone on 29th October.  The album features sixteen tracks, all radically reworked, spanning Kylie’s incredible 25 year career in pop. The album was recorded in London’s legendary Abbey Road Studios with Kylie’s band and a full orchestra giving the reworking a new edge to Kylie’s expansive catalogue of pops finest additions.

There have been various Kylie Minogue ‘best of’ packages before with the likes of Ultimate Kylie and The Best Of collection released earlier this year to coincide with the starlets 25 year anniversary as a recording artist satisfying the needs of fans. This package however is something entirely different. Yes, there are the same hits featured on this record as seen on the usual Kylie ‘best of’ releases but this record has a real twist not just in the instrumental reworking of the track listing but with Kylie’s imagination and creativity coursing through the hits as she performs each inclusion with a different approach than the original allowing us to absorb the songs in an entirely different way.

The recording of the album at the Abbey Road Studios also gives the record a legendary feel to it. The famous London recording studios have played host to some of music’s most legendary acts including Cliff Richard, Pink Floyd, Duran Duran, U2 and most famously for housing the Beatles recording sessions throughout the foursomes career. The magic touch is now given to the reworking of Kylie’s most symbolic hits here on The Abbey Road Sessions.

All The Lovers begins the trip down memory lane. The deep synths that drenched the original Aphrodite recording have been replaced with a swaying string arrangement and the singer enlists a brief vocal harmony within several moments dotted throughout the track. Apart from a few moments where the vocal structure has been altered, allowing the incarnation of the song to carry an improvised feel to it, the number remains mostly intact, instead surrendering the originals electro-pop instrumentation to its new life in orchestral bliss.

Better the Devil You Know on the other hand has been given an entire reworking with a piano guiding Minogue through the stars camp classic. The song has been heard using various styles in the past but this is by far the best. For anyone who has been to a Kylie show you will be no stranger to the singers reimagining of tracks like this signature hit. For The Abbey Road Sessions Kylie takes a soft and seductive approach to the song. Where the original was a pop track through and though with sparkly, up-beat features making it one of her campest recordings, the version offered on this record has been stripped naked and delivered as a calm, jazz infused gift. Slow paced with a plethora of calming ‘oohs’ and harmonies ringing throughout the hit make this one a notable inclusion.

The crown really does have to go to the pint sized starlets reworking of Hand On Your Heart. Free of its eighties drenched pop fierceness, the song adopts a nineties singer-songwriter quality with a gentle guitar picked rhythm leading the singer over a soothing melody and the occasional yet effective piano tinkering. Though the song embraces this new sound, it feels impeccably modern and easily takes the spotlight on the record.

The following Scissor Sisters co-written hit, I Believe In You takes on the same approach though with this one the star incorporates a modest orchestral backdrop with strings lacing their way throughout the number particularly as the song approaches its climactic end.

Among the classics that Kylie has chosen to represent her K25 celebrations she has also offered us Flower, a song originally written for her 2010 X release but saved for this journey down memory lane. One of the singers most captivating ballads to date, Flower finds its place in the centre of the record and pulls together a delicate orchestral instrumentation guiding the star through a track bursting with memorable hooks and a sweeping chorus.

Nick Cave returns to duet with Kylie once again on the ballad, Where the Wild Roses Grow. The pair originally recorded the single number back in 1995 for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ album Murder and the song quickly became the bands most successful single of their career, thanks to the distressed vocals and haunting melody of the song provided by Minogue. Here the song takes the closing honors and strikes a nostalgic chord as the instrumentation is stripped back to all but a chilling guitar arrangement with both sets of vocals leaning heavily on each other throughout the melancholic tale.

Over 25 years there isn’t much that Kylie hasn’t achieved. From providing the generations with quarter of a century’s worth of timeless pop classics the star has also enjoyed a noteworthy film career and fashion line. The Grammy, Brit, Aria award winner has sold close to 70 million records globally making her one of the most successful artists in history. The Abbey Road Sessions serves as a musical reflection of all that the pint-sized icon has achieved and also caps 2012 off with a fantastic journey through some of pops finest moments. This really is an album to adore.

Buy ‘Kylie Minogue – The Abbey Road Sessions’ from Amazon