Kylie Minogue to release ‘Extension’, an extended mixes version of her album ‘Tension’. Gurl. C’mon now.

A cropped in shot of the cover for ‘Extension’. The extended mixes version of Tension. Featuring a green saturated image of the ‘Tension’ album cover.

Once I saw that Kylie had released extended mixes for each for her singles from Tension, I knew we were getting an Extended Mixes version of the whole album. Especially after we got an Extended Mixes version of her previous studio album Disco. And lo and behold it’s coming. With the pretty genius title, Extension.

Now, if you are a Kylie fan who is precious about anything being said about her and her releases other than *Turns and looks into the camera* ‘I love it’, then click away now. Because I’m about to drag the release of Extension a little, for a bunch of reasons.

I think extended mix versions of albums are a cool idea. But as with anything, it only really works if it’s done right. And everything about this extended mix release of Tension is off to me.

When I first listened to Disco, I was really confused as to why certain songs on the album were not these long five to six minutes grooves. Ya know. In the spirit of...DISCO MUSIC. Then we got the Extended Mixes version of the album, which kinda remedied that. And whilst I liked the idea of the album, I do wish that we had just gotten longer mixes of songs on the main release - especially after hearing the extended mix of “Say Something”, which was far superior to the original album version. But what really got me about the Extended Mixes version of Disco was how slapdash most of the mixes were. There was no regard for extending any of the songs in a way which made sense structurally. We just got these random instrumental pockets thrown into the songs at some of the weirdest places. Songs were just extended for the sake of being extended, as opposed to the album feeling like a case of ‘This is what the original versions of the songs were, but we had to cut all of them down’. And the mixing was also not great. Vocals were chopped abruptly and you could hear where the songs were pieced together, as though the person doing the extended mixes did not have the original stems to work with. No disrespect to whomever was responsible for the extended mixes, but the work was pretty shoddy. Now here we are again.

Kylie had instead chosen to release the extended mixes of her Tension singles mere weeks after the initial releases of the song, making them available for a set time exclusively on her web store to purchase as either a download or physically on cassette and CD, which again, I like the idea of. It’s old school. I do miss CD single releases where we’d get a radio edit and album version and maybe a remix or a B-side. But once again, the extended mixes were slapdash. And “Padam Padam” already left a sour taste in my mouth because of how short it was and that it sounded incomplete; to such a degree of annoyance, that I made an extended mix of the song myself, before Kylie had released her own.

When I finally got to listen to Tension, the shortness of the songs was glaring. Whilst Disco didn’t feature songs which were long in keeping with how common long disco songs were in the 70s, there was no instance of a song that I felt was short-changed. But on Tension, it was a different *Turns and looks in the camera* story. Especially on the likes of “Padam Padam”, “One More Time”, “Hold On to Now” and “Vegas High”. So now I’m sat thinking ‘Were some of these songs intentionally made short because the plan was to always to release extended mixes of them for another version of the album?’.

But it gets messier. Because then there’s the slapdashery of the album cover.

An image of the limited edition splatter vinyl version of Kylie Minogue’s ‘Extension’.
Extension: The Extended Mixes | Kylie Minogue/Darenote

Tension has released in so many different versions and variants at this point, that I’ve lost count. But the one thing I do know, is that they all feature the same damn cover shot in a whole bunch of ugly looking colours. Like, Kylie. Gurl. C’mon now. The album cover shot for Tension is great. But to just have somebody run that one image through Photoshop and do this...

The album cover for Kylie Minogue’s ‘Tension’ being colour manipulated in Photoshop by the Hue/Saturation feature.
Graphic design is a passion | Photoshop, Hue/Saturation

Multiple times!?

It’s lazy.

I can’t believe the photographer only took one shot of Kylie with that diamond and that there was no alternate version of it. It’s also crazy how the diamond motif doesn’t feature in any of the other shots of Kylie in the album inlay, but that’s a whole other post.

I get that times are tough for a bitch in this new age of music, and that the comeback of people wanting physical copies of albums is pushing acts to release fifteen different physical variants of an album within a set window to have them all count toward the sales. But I do think the way in which Kylie has rolled out these different versions of Tension and the singles is messy. There were so many versions of Tension at the time of its initial release, that Kylie could have held off releasing Extension until next year. She should have just released an extended version of “Vegas High” as a single with a music video, given that her Vegas residency has now kicked off, and teased that an Extended mix album is coming in 2024. And then she could use the release of Extension to push additional singles off of the album, such as “You Still Get Me High” and “One More Time” for the Spring and Summer respectively.

And as per Disco, we’re probably going to get another version of Tension with additional tracks and guest features, called ‘Tension: The Diamond Edition’ or some shit. And this will probably be the cover for it.

An image of what the cover art for the inevitable 2024 ‘Tension’ re-release will probably look like. Image created by me (Random J).
Tension: Diamond Edition | Photoshop Hue/Saturation & Getty

I do like albums releasing in different variants. It makes limited edition runs feel truly special and it caters to the fans who are collectors, of whom there are many. And being listener and consumer of Japanese music, where albums have always released in multiple editions, it’s not a foreign concept or something so wild I can't get behind it. But to just throw so many versions out at different timings with different bonus tracks, and for the Extended Mixes version of Tension to feel like such a cash grab void of any real creative integrity or respect for the songs - it’s messy to me. I treated my extended mixes “Padam Padam” and “Hold On to Now” with more care than Kylie and her team did. And if Extension turns out to be raggedy, then I might just fuck around and re-create extended mixes for all of the album songs myself. Except for “10 Out of 10”. Ain’t nobody got time for an extended mix of that.

Extension releases on vinyl on December 8, 2023 and it’ll more than likely hit streaming around the same time.

🎚️ Random J Extended Mixes: Padam Padam | Hold On to Now

💿 Kylie album reviews: Tension | Disco | Kylie Christmas | Kiss Me Once | Aphrodite | Fever