Kylie Minogue treats her loyal Aussie fans to a second round of shows this week with her hotly anticipated Anti-Tour. Kylie’s back catalogue holds some true (white) diamonds… We take a look.
Since way back in 1989, when I was a just a smalltown boy dreaming big I have had the blessed opportunity of seeing Miss Kylie Ann Minogue in concert. This relationship began with the inaugural Enjoy Yourself tour, a throwback of kitsch, ‘80s dancers and Kylie desperately trying to prove her critics (which at the time were numerous) wrong. She worked her way through a limited catalogue (she was two albums deep by this stage) and valiantly pushed through such hits as I Should Be So Lucky, Wouldn’t Change A Thing and Hand On Your Heart. The concert was simple, effective and did what it required at the time, to introduce Minogue to a paying audience.
Since then Kylie has found her on-stage form has become a live force to be reckoned with. She has mastered the basic (Intimate & Live’s band and glitter grittiness), camp ( On A Night Like This gay cruise shenanigans) avant-garde ( Fever’s electro sex bot phase), Vegas (Showgirl’s various incarnations) and of late big dollar spectacular (X’s video wall blast and the mega-Aphrodite splash zone).
Now comes the concert series many a die-hard has long fantasised over, the Anti-Tour. The hits are gone and the focus is on the other side of Kylie, b-sides, demos, unreleased tracks. This is the side of Minogue few passing fans get to know. B-sides reveal more about the evolution of an album or an artist experimenting with their sound. Kylie has been somewhat generous with her fans in this area and below is a highlight of what you might find as you delve a little deeper.
OCEAN BLUE (B-Side to ‘On A Night Like This’)
Stripped back to simple strings and guitar, this ballad is what makes Kylie more than just a simple pop powerhouse. Sounding innocent, sincere and loved in all the right ways. It’s easy to see why this didn’t make the ‘Light Years’ LP, its peaceful lament does not fit the album’s high camp frivolity, but as an artist, this is where Kylie could have headed had ‘Impossible Princess’ found its feet abroad.
CHANGE YOUR MIND (APRHODITE ERA)
Sampling the Deadamus track Brazil and penned by Mr Scissor Sisters, Jake Shears, Change is pure pop Kylie confection that could have been a major single and hit, if one Miss Alexis Jordan didn’t grab the same sample for her 2010 stomper Happiness. Lots of wrangling behind the scenes left this off the Aphrodite cut. The hit that never was…
CLOSER (B-Side to ‘Finer Feelings’)
The early ‘90s witnessed the onset of Euro-Dance / House and Kylie was no stranger to this genre. Sounding incredibly dated in 2012, Closer is very much of its era. The b-sides hint at a more dance / house orientated offering from 1991’s Let’s Get To It (check out I Guess I Like It Like That from the album to hear more). Throw on an old hypercolour t-shirt, break out the Reeboks and relive your inner ‘90s popstar.
IF YOU DON’T LOVE ME (B-Side to ‘Confide In Me’)
A cover of Prefab Sprout’s 1992 single. This is spotlight, torch Kylie. A simple ballad, a piano and Miss Minogue heartbroken and giving it her all. Free of the Stock, Aitken, Waterman PWL hit factory, this track first hinted at Kylie, the artist and singer, rather than Kylie the pop machine. Fans were treated to this underrated number last year during Aphrodite’s most intimate moment. Sonic heaven.
SAY THE WORD, I’LL BE THERE (B-Side to ‘Word Is Out’)
Everything about the Let’s Get To It era pointed towards a very house and euro R&B influenced direction, but here is Kylie stripped back to a simple melody, but retaining the SAW elements that worked so well for her to this point. Lyrically, Kylie sprouts off her devotion to her lover and it all becomes a bit twee after a while, but it’s evident that Kylie yearned for something a lot deeper during the final years at the PWL hit factory.
MADE OF GLASS (B-Side to ‘Giving You Up’)
For Ultimate Kylie, Minogue recorded several tracks to add to her most celebrated hits collection. Recording with pop powerhouses Xenomania (Girls Aloud, Cher, Gabriella Cilmi, Pet Shop Boys), Made Of Glass is infamous for being far superior to the actual A-Side (Giving You Up ranks with fans as one of Kylie’s worst single releases). Australian radio took to the track and played it more than the lead track. Pop Kylie at her best, almost rapping, breathy and subtle. A hit gone astray. The decision to leave this off ‘Ultimate’ leaves many truly baffled.
JUST WANNA LOVE YOU (B-Side to ‘Hand On your Heart’)
The unreleased material from the SAW era has truly been plundered in the umpteen releases of hits packages, remix collections and digital bundles (Aussie fans, check out the UK / US iTunes sites for what we’re missing out on), and this track from 1989 is very much what makes a quality B-Side. Catchy melody, relatable, but not in touch with the parent album. Lyrically, this is very bubblegum pop fluff (‘I wanna be the one who’s holding you tonight’), but it’s a guilty pleasure that I can’t pass by.
TAKE ME WITH YOU (Taken from ‘The Other Sides’ EP)
IndieKylie™ didn’t find much favour outside of her native Oz, but at home Impossible Princess and its subsequent Intimate & Live tour were embraced by fans young and old and this still remains the era in which Kylie looks most comfortable, critically accepted at home and allowed to balance the pop campery with deeper numbers. Released as an exclusive bonus CD at the time, Other Sides is one of the must haves in a true Kylie collection. The reason? This track. Stretching to over 9 minutes and simply one of the best tracks Minogue has ever had the pleasure of creating. Sweeping strings, gentle percussion and a vocal delivery that instantly takes you away from the world around you. Some kind of bliss.
PAPER DOLLS (B-Side to ‘Spinning Around’)
When Kylie returned to the commercial pop fold in 2000 with the Light Years project the mantra was poolside, cocktails and pop. The ensuing album delivered on its template, yet its b-side represent a Kylie more acoustic, romantic and honest. Balancing the Kylie who yearns to be heard beyond the synthesisers and the commercial trappings of pop, Paper Dolls is a sweet delight that requires your attention.
WE KNOW THE MEANING OF LOVE (B-side to ‘Tears On My Pillow’)
The Enjoy Yourself era is entrenched in pure pop. Kylie at this point went into the studio, was duly handed the lyric sheets and sang what was asked of her. Minimal creative input required. Far superior to some of the tracks selected for the album (hell, this would have made a far better single than Never Too Late ), adding nothing new to her template at the time, a hit gone begging and a small insight to the workings of SAW at the time.
BOY (B-Side to ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’)
Fever is the high point of commercial Kylie and this b-side deserves its inclusion on the single and not its parent album. Fitting the electro-pop feel of 2001, but something is a touch amiss and it doesn’t rank amongst the best of Fever. Sounding like a demo on its way to something greater (it lacks a true punch in its chorus), but worthy of your time.
B.P.M (B-Side to ‘I Believe In You)
Many of Minogue’s b-sides retain a quieter, raw feeling. Not here. Recorded during the ‘Body Language’ sessions, but far too up-tempo for that album’s R&B pop stylings, BPM is fun, throwaway punchy pop. ‘Body Language’ is often criticised for straying away from the pop genre and its need to seek a US audience, this track would have appeased some of the hungry masses.
GOOD LIKE THAT (B-Side to ‘In Your Eyes’)
The inner working of KylieINC at the time of Fever / Body Language seem to push towards a more US pop feel and while the former attracted success, Body Language floundered overall from pushing the issue too far. Here on Good Like That you can hear a pleasant balance between US pop lite and Kylie’s strengths, simple melodies delivered with a strong vocal. A step away from the electronic genre of the time.
LOVING YOU (Ultimate Kylie era)
Recorded with Xenomania, and much like ‘Made Of Glass’ a true head scratcher. A quality pop track with true potential, but to this day left unreleased. Sometimes you truly wonder who is making the calls when it comes to a tracklist, but hey, you can’t please everyone. Check it out.
CHERRY BOMB (B-side to ‘Wow’)
Bloodshy & Avant’s heavily filtered Cherry Bomb suits X’s haphazard approach and matches album tracks such as Speakerphone and Nu-di-ty in its experimental style. Many tracks were recorded for Kylie’s post illness LP and its not hard to see why this didn’t make the final cut, but its an interesting insight into the album production process.
DO YOU DARE (B-Side to ‘Give Me A Little More Time’)
DanceKylie™ was never more prominent than in this heavy house number from 1991. Released to clubs under the name Angel K (to bypass Too-cool DJ’s refusing to play Kylie at the time), this found favour in the UK club scene and was Kylie’s most left of centre offering at that point in her short career. Time has not been kind to Do You Dare, however, it offers a welcome addition to the Kylie pop cannon.
LOVE TAKES OVER ME (B-Side to ‘Cowboy Style)
Impossible Princess remains Kylie watershed moment creatively. Recorded over two years and free from many record company restrictions pushing her here and there, the resulting LP remains Kylie at her most pure. The tracks left from the initial recording are true gems worth discovering. Love Takes Over Me ranks as one of the best, with Kylie sounding dangerous, dark and wild. Immaculately produced and fitting in perfectly with her sound of the time, a b-side that’s hard to find, but well worth the journey.
Melbourne fans enjoyed Kylie’s Anti-Tour show last night – Sydney gets her two shows tomorrow night March 20 at the Big Top in Luna Park. To celebrate, Same Same is hosting our annual Minogue Mansion night at Stonewall – see details here.