The singles that should’ve been...from Kylie Minogue’s ‘Kiss Me Once’

Papers and compact discs strewn on a desk. One of which features a sheet of paper with the tracklisting for Kylie Minogue’s album ‘Kiss Me One’ and a print out of the album cover.

14 March 2024 marks the tenth anniversary of Kylie Minogue’s twelfth studio album, Kiss Me Once. I did review this album. But I’ll save you reading it and just tell you now, I did not like it. And if it wasn’t for the song “If Only” (and we’ll get to that) I would not have seen the point in this album at all. Much like X, Kiss Me Once seemed to fold under a lack of direction, too much record label interference, too much deference on Kylie’s part and a disregard for Kylie’s brand. And just as X was pretty much saved by its supporting tour, Kiss Me Once became an album which was defined by the number of live performances Kylie did to support it.

But for all of the shortcomings of Kiss Me Once, this album really suffered from poor single choices. And it’s unfortunate that off the back of Fever — which had a great run of singles — that no album Kylie has released since has managed to have a good run of singles. Aphrodite tapping out after “Get Outta the Way”, with that barely being pushed despite being one of Kylie’s best songs was a whole mess. We didn’t even get the low hanging fruit that was the Calvin Harris produced “Too Much”. And Tension suffered the same fate. “Padam Padam” was a great choice for a lead single and all Kylie really needed in order to ride this amazing wave she’s on. But it’s still a shame that an album with a bunch of single choices has only had two released from it. The album title was a great follow up. But “Tension” may as well had not been released as a single at all, because where was the promo? We haven’t gotten a single televised performance of that damn song and it’s a great song. How was “Things We Do for Love” not released as single? Where is “One More Time”!?


Enough about that green diamond album.

Kiss Me Once was not a great album. But it definitely had songs which would have made far better singles than “I Was Gonna Cancel” and “Sexercize”.

So let’s take a look back at Kylie Minogue’s Kiss Me Once, and the singles that should’ve been.

Million Miles
Written by Chelcee Grimes, Daniel Davidsen, Mich Hansen, Peter Wallevik
Produced by Cutfather, Daniel Davidsen & Peter Wallevik

I remember the first time snippets of songs from Kiss Me One, were released and this was the song I was most looking forward to. Then the album released and I was like ‘Gurl, is this it!?’. The chorus in the preview had sold me. And as much as I’m not a fan of the verses, the chorus really is so damn good that it sells the whole song. And whilst I don’t think “Million Miles” would have been the most memorable of Kylie singles, it is slim pickings with this album. And I also feel that retrospectively it would work well if tweaked to match the vibes of other albums for tours and shows. It would’ve been so easy to have worked “Million Miles” into a Disco setlist. It would be so easy to work it into a Tension setlist. It’s a very malleable type of song. But it’s good radio fodder which would have made it work as a single and the subject of a bunch of generic dance remixes that RGB (255, 255, 255) gays would love.

Les Sex
Written by Amanda Warner, Henri Lanz, Joshua ‘J.D.’ Walker, Peter Wade Keusch, William Rappaport
Produced by Joshua ‘J.D.’ Walker, GoodWill & MGI

This isn’t a song on this album I tend to listen to, but I can certainly hear the potential in it as a song that others like. And I feel it would’ve fared well as a single. It would have made a far better choice than “Sexercize”.

“Les Sex” is one of those songs which doesn’t really say much about Kiss Me Once at all. It honestly sounds like it would have been a better fit for X, just as “Sexercise” did. But “Les Sex” doesn’t feel so X like that you can’t help but see it with that album. Where-as “Sexercise” to me just flat out sounds like a song like X in the vein of “Speakerphone” and “Nu-di-ty” - both great songs by the way. But also, “Sexercize” was about 2-3 years too late. Everybody had moved on from wub-wub and wobble bass by the time it had come along.

But as a song about fucking, “Les Sex” has more commerciality than “Sexercise”, “Speakerphone” and “Nu-di-ty”, in that it better hits that sweet spot for a Kylie song about fucking which can work as a single. Think “Tension”. It’s a bit filthy, but it’s flirty and it’s fun. “Les Sex” is also one of those songs I could have imagined featuring in a whole bunch of Always Ultra or Rimmel make-up commercials, which would have given it the reach that songs from Kiss Me Once sorely needed.

If Only
Written by Ariel Rechtshaid, Daniel Nigro, Justin Raisen
Produced by Ariel Rechtshaid

“If Only” is an outlier on this album. But it’s also in Kylie’s catalog as a whole. She hadn’t really done a song like this prior and hasn’t done a song like it since.

Kiss Me Once was an album where Kylie was paired with a couple of choice producers who were popular at the time across varied genres. We got Pharrell Williams from the R&B / Hip-Hop space. Sia from the pop space. And Ariel Rechtshaid from the indie adjacent pop space. Ariel Rechtshaid is the only person in this roster who managed to bring something substantial to the table which pushed Kylie’s sound forward and also pushed her, as she sounds so good on this song. “I Was Gonna Cancel” was chosen as the song to cash in on attracting a new audience and making Kylie seem hip and ‘current’, when the song that would have done it and really crossed Kylie over was “If Only”. I still play the shit out of this song. It’s truly amazing and would have made a great single. And it was also co-written by Daniel Nigro, who would go on to be known for his work for Olivia Rodrigo.

Kiss Me Once once was this awkward dump of songs geared towards the North American market, ‘typical Kylie’ sounding-ass songs and glimmers of Kylie trying something new. But by trying to do everything, the album wound up doing nothing. And there are other good songs on this album which could have worked as singles were they released by anybody else. The lack of a clear vision is evident when listening to the album, so it’s truly no surprise that the singles wound up a mess — even aside from the unfortunate track record Kylie had developed by this point when it came to singles.

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

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