Album Review: "Tension" - Kylie Minogue
Photo Credits: Pitchfork
Kylie Minogue has once again proven herself to be a timeless act with her new album, Tension. The release of this album marks the Australian artist’s 16th studio album, further cementing Minogue’s success in the dance-pop world.
Hold On To Now
Things We Do For Love
One More Time
You Still Get Me High
10 Out Of 10 (Oliver Heldens)
Though she started her career as an actress, Kylie Minogue quickly became a global megastar in the music industry, becoming the highest-selling female Australian artist of all time. She is rightfully considered Australia’s queen of pop, topping international charts with her iconic dance-pop hits since the ‘80s. Her impressive career has spanned decades and has been a consistent mainstream success, starting with her teen-pop hit, “I Should Be So Lucky,” and her cover of “The Loco-Motion.” With the release of her previous album, DISCO, and her latest album, Tension, Minogue finds herself appealing to young and old, ushering in a new generation of fans.
Sounding both nostalgic for the ‘80s and modern in the same breath, Tension mixes elements of ‘80s dance-pop and today’s commercial hits to create its unique sound. “Padam Padam” is the first track on the album, kicking things off with enticing dance-pop beats and rich synths. Tying into the album's overarching themes of love and lust, the song’s title mimics the sound of a heartbeat with lyrics reflecting a flirtatious desire. Prior to the album’s release, “Padam Padam” was released as a single, teasing the direction Minogue was taking with Tension. To Minogue’s surprise, the single was an instant hit, going viral on social media platforms like TikTok. Following “Padam Padam,” “Hold On To Now” is the next track on Tension, keeping the heavy synths and energetic pop beats going. “Hold On To Now” has a more modern feel to it, drawing elements from contemporary electropop. The track features Minogue’s light, lush vocals and lyrics that relate to themes of love. “Things We Do For Love” keeps the modern pop energy going, taking a page from today’s commercial pop. The track features lively pop beats, arresting melodies, and a synth-laden soundscape, making it a compelling listen to be played on repeat.
Returning to a blend of ‘80s dance-pop and contemporary pop, “Tension” is next on Minogue’s new album with a sound somewhere between Dua Lipa and Madonna. The titular song was also released as a single ahead of the album, giving a delicious sneak peek into the album’s sound. “Tension” features a heavy use of synths and Minogue’s wispy vocals, giving a vibe that would be perfect for a club setting. Filled with feelings of lust and desire, the track continues to tie into the sexual themes present on the album. “One More Time” also has an essence of timelessness, bridging the gap between ‘80s pop and today’s hits. The track is light and fun, featuring animated dance-pop beats and plenty of unforgettable melodies. Slowing things down briefly, “You Still Get Me High” comes up next with a ballad-like beginning, later transitioning into another upbeat dance-pop anthem. The track is full-on ‘80s pop, modeling the beginning after something that might have come from The Cars or Prince. Keeping on par with the rest of the album, “You Still Get Me High” is filled with memorable melodies and feelings of love.
Both “Hands” and “Green Light” have a similar sound, seemingly taking inspiration from more modern pop artists. With groovy bass lines and disco-inspired beats, “Hands” has a similar sound “Say So” by Doja Cat. The flirty track ties back into Tension’s themes of sex and desire, featuring Minogue’s breathy vocals and rich vocal harmonies. “Green Light” sounds like a nod to what Dua Lipa has been doing, having a similar vibe to the songs “Dance The Night” and “Don’t Start Now.” Drawing influence from the days of disco, “Green Light” features groovy bass lines and shuffling beats reminiscent of disco’s four-on-the-floor. Unlike the other tracks on the album, “Green Light” incorporates a sultry saxophone solo, giving the track a classic ‘80s sound.
Hinting at Minogue’s upcoming Vegas residency, “Vegas High” is next on Tension. The track is addictive, filled with peppy dance-pop beats and enthralling melodies. Like the rest of the album, “Vegas High” has a synth-laden soundscape, accompanying Minogue’s intoxicating vocals. Minogue might be feeling a high from being in Vegas, but we’re definitely feeling one after listening to this track.
Collaborating with Oliver Heldens, “10 Out Of 10” comes next, featuring driving pop beats and heavy synths. This track is extremely fast paced, making it another feel-good banger on Tension. For anyone needing a pick-me-up, this track is a 10 out of 10. Ending the album on a high, “Story” is the last entry on Tension. The track is another one that feels both new and old at the same time. “Story” features ‘80s inspired synths and pounding pop beats, creating an energetic background to accompany Minogue’s soaring vocals. Highlighting the artist’s vocal range, Minogue effortlessly reaches into her upper register on the choruses, gliding over the song’s synth-laden soundscape.
Whether you’re a long-time fan of Kylie Minogue or hearing her for the first time, Tension has something to appeal to everyone. Minogue’s timeless sound feels like the ‘80s and present at the same time, giving any generation something to enjoy. The album’s heavy use of synths and dance-pop beats is infectious, making you want to get up and move with each song. Though the music might not have the deepest meaning, it’s filled with a positive, uplifting energy that just makes you feel good and lets you escape into that feeling for a while.
Written By Cheyenne Johnson
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