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Kylie Minogue | Ultimate Kylie | review | alternative | Lollipop

Kylie Minogue

Ultimate Kylie (Capitol)
by Michael McCarthy

If you are among those who remember Kylie Minogue's cover of Little Eva's "The Loco-Motion" when "Can't Get You Out of My Head" was a smash hit a few years ago, then you've probably wondered what Kylie has been up to between those hits. Surely by now you've heard that she'd continued to release album after album outside of the States. This two disc collection is the perfect introduction to her discography, and the only Kylie compilation to span her entire career thus far.

Fans often refer to Kylie's first four albums as "first period" Kylie. Those were the days when Stock, Aitken, and Waterman wrote and produced the majority of her material: The days before Kylie became a songwriter herself. One could also argue that those were the days before Kylie truly became an artist, when she was merely a pop star. First period Kylie is then kept separate from "second period" Kylie in this collection, the two periods being nicely divided over its two discs. This is a good thing, because there are undoubtedly many fans of second period Kylie who can't stomach first period Kylie (and vice versa, I suppose, although I've yet to meet a fan who only likes "first period" Kylie). Still, there are some illustrious gems on disc one. It opens with "Better the Devil You Know," which I'd argue is one of Kylie's best songs ever. The production sounds a bit outdated now, yes, but it's one of those sweet bubblegum songs you can't help but simultaneously sing and dance along to. Most of the songs on the first disc are that sort of light-hearted party fare, so it's only appropriate that it wraps up with Kylie's cover of the classic "Celebration" (if Kool & The Gang's original version of that song has a soft spot in your heart, you'll likely love first period Kylie. If, however, it makes you pull your hair out, then you might want to proceed directly to disc two).

Disc two opens with Kylie's latest hit, "I Believe in You," a masterpiece co-written by Kylie with Jake Shears and Babydaddy of Scissor Sisters. It's as hypnotic and well-produced as "Can't Get You Out of My Head," complete with better lyrics. In other words, Kylie has truly outdone herself with this one. As if to drive that point home, although probably in the interest of front-loading the disc, "Can't Get You Out of My Head" is the second track on disc two.

All 18 tracks on the second disc are quite wonderful. From the radio-friendly "Spinning Around" and "Love at First Sight" to the more artsy "Confide in Me" and "Did it Again," you'll know why Kylie is hailed the princess of pop worldwide when you listen to the second disc. Still, more than a pop star, disc two proves that Kylie truly is an artist, and nowhere is that more evident than on its final track, "Where the Wild Roses Grow," a duet with Nick Cave. A song from the perspective of a dead girl, it's the antithesis of "Celebration" in every way possible.

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