Album review: Kylie Minogue - Fever

Album review: Kylie Minogue - Fever | Random J Pop

People were so enthralled with Kylie's return with Light Years in 2000 that it was easy to forget that she was already 12 years into her career by that point. It was almost like her career had reset. Then came Fever a year later. A reminder that Kylie's been that bitch (or some type o' bitch) delivering hits for over a whole decade.

Fever pretty much picks up where Kylie's 2000 comeback album Light Years left off. With Kylie embracing Pop and clutching it closely to her titty in adoration. Whilst Light Years was a reminder that Kylie existed and that she was back, Fever was the throwing of the gauntlet. Kylie was here to stay and she was gonna teach some hoes a thing or two whilst she was here.

In the mid to late 90s, Kylie went through a period of shunning glossy Pop productions in favour of something far darker and introvert, as a form of rebellion at the lack of control she had over her sound at the time - cracking under the insistence on always having to put on the display as this poised bubbly Pop star. This period yielded some great songs ("Confide in me") and albums which weren't the complete train wrecks people were expecting or hoping them to be. But her return to Pop felt right, because Pop is who Kylie is whether she likes it or not. And as much as we liked moody Kylie, Pop fun Kylie is the best Kylie. Light years understood this and embraced it. But Fever ran with it. And on the sprint from Light Years, somebody figured that maybe Disco and Europop should be the basis of whatever was to come next.

Album review: Kylie Minogue - Fever

Fever doing Disco and Europop isn't anything new. For years prior to Fever, Disco and Europop were making a comeback into the folds of mainstream top 10 chart Pop thanks to the likes of Moloko, Groovejet and more besides. A musical trend that would continue on for years following Fever's release, partly because of Fever itself. Disco and Europop has always been something that Kylie has dipped her toe in. Light Years had Kylie wade in it. (Two of its songs even have the word 'Disco' in their titles). But some of he Disco cuts on Light Years felt like cabaret, or Kylie doing karaoke, as opposed to her really owning the sound. Where-as Fever managed to have Kylie navigate the sound without it feeling contrived, and tailor it in a way to fit her to such a point that it felt like it was a sound that was hers.

Familiarity has always been the crux of everything Kylie has done. So the decision to refine what Kylie had established and seen success with on Light Years just a year prior was a smart move which paid off. The result was something of a rebirth of Kylie, and an album which would go on to be the foundation of everything Kylie would do after.

Fever is an album which is wholly defined by its perfect choice of singles and the visuals that came with them, but Fever itself is a pretty decent album. There's very little in the way of filler here.

The album opener "More More More" is a perfect way to kick Fever off, because it sets the tone for the entire album. It's Pop. It's Disco. It's Electro. It's flirty. It's fun. It's camp. But at its core, it's a really good fucking song. I'm shocked that "More more more" wasn't released as a single, because it easily could have been. But then Fever kinda fumbles for the next 11 tracks. Not because the songs are bad. But because they're badly sequenced.

Fever opens so perfectly with "More More More", but then every song that follows just feels and sounds like it's in the wrong place. "Love at First Sight" sits at the top of the album when it should have closed the album out. Everything about "Love at first sight" screams 'encore'. It would allow the album to end as it started, on an exuberant high. But thematically it also would have provided a full circle moment: Kylie going from imploring that she wants something purely lustful, to having found true love. But instead the album ends with "Burning Up" which (as good a song as it is) is a really odd choice to end the album. The iffy sequencing causes Fever to lose its sense of flow. The sequencing of Fever is one of the worst things about it, because it doesn't do the songs the justice they deserve. Each song has such a vibe unto itself, that you get an immediate sense of where it should be placed on the album. So when you hear it out of place, your focus shifts to how out of place the song is, as opposed to the quality of the song itself. This may not be the case for everybody. But when I'm listening to an album with bad sequencing, that's all my mind can focus on. The best way to enjoy Fever is to re-order everything, something which I ended up doing. It gave me a level of enjoyment that I never got when I listened to the album the first time around.

Album review: Kylie Minogue - Fever

To circle back to the songs on Fever, they are all very consistent in terms of their sound and their quality, which is probably why there was no real thought taken into the sequencing. 90% of this album is uptempo, so that pussy will popping for a good 35 minutes out of the 45 that this album runs for. But some may find the Disco through line a bit much and crave some form of variation in the proceedings. Especially as some of these songs do sound the same. "More more more" is the brighter version of "In your eyes". "Come Into My World" is cut from the exact same cloth as "Can't get you out of my head". "Fragile" and "Your love" could pass as the same song.

There are no flat out bad songs on this album. The only two songs on the album that I could say are close to bad are "Love Affair" and "Your Love", mainly because they're such boring songs. Kylie gave us far better versions of these songs on Light years with "On a Night Like This" and "Please Stay". There's also "Give It To Me" which sticks out because it tries to skirt with R&B and it doesn't really work. The production on it with all of its digital blips and beeps also made it sounded dated back when Fever first came out, and it's not aged all that well since. Po' thing decided to go back to this style for the bulk of Fever's follow up Body language. Lawd knows why. It doesn't really suit her.

What Fever boasts in precision and branding, it lacks in variety, and also heart. Every other song is charged with a sexual energy which can feel very by-the-book between Kylie's samey delivery on each song and the cold production of the music. The best way to sum up Fever would be what we'd get if Marylin Munroe were still 36 in the 2000s doing Pop and Disco. Even songs that aren't about anything sexual, come off sexually charged because of the way Kylie sings them. It also gives some of Fever's songs a double meaning. "Come Into My World" could be interpreted about being so in love with somebody that you want them to be a part of your world. But it could also be about fucking, with 'the world' being Kylie's pussy; especially with the way she croons ♪ Come ♪ twice with urgency and pause before singing ♪ Come into my world ♪. It never feels forced or like it's too much, and it's to be expected from a Pop star like Kylie - but it does start to wear a little thin. But in defence of Fever, it wears itself on its album sleeve. It's clear this is going to be an album of throwback Disco sounds, that it's gonna be cold, but make you groove, and that it's gonna be sexed up.

Album review: Kylie Minogue - Fever | Random J Pop

Fever is one of Kylie's best albums because of how sure it is of what it wants to be and how it wants to present Kylie. It's a great distillation of Kylie, featuring songs which place her in her element and sell a large part of what Kylie is all about. But the lack of heart prevents Fever from being everything that it had the potential to be, even as laser focused as it is. But then again, maybe this was all Fever wanted to be. There's a safeness to everything that Fever does, and Kylie's always been that Pop star in a perspex box that gives what she needs to in order to get shit done and nothing more. So in this regard, I guess Fever was never going to give us anything more.

Fever is not a perfect album, but it's a bloody good Kylie album and damn good Pop record. It's easy to overlook the shortcomings of this album because they're offset by how good some of the songs on this thing are. But there's no mistake that Fever delivers a solid batch of songs and brands Kylie just as she needed to be at this point in her career.

VERDICT: IS THE WORLD STILL SPINNING AROUND?

Album highlights:
■ More More More
■ Love At First Sight
■ Can't Get You Out Of My Head
■ Fever
■ Come Into My World
■ In Your Eyes 🏆 J's fave

🔊 Stream Fever: Spotify | Apple Music | Google Play Music

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