Perhaps the most damning criticism I can level at Golden is that I’ve been listening to it intermittently all week and can’t decide how I feel about it because it doesn’t actually make me feel anything. The 14th studio album from Kylie Minogue is a slick affair that plays to the singer’s strengths and offers an interesting sidestep from the expected without wandering far from what fans would hope to hear.
Marketed as a genre album, Golden’s take on squeaky-clean commercial country maintains the disco-pop influences that have dominated Minogue’s sound since the early 2000’s, but with an emphasis on acoustic guitars and dry, up-front vocals. These last two factors alone lend the production a stripped back—read: earnest—feel that befits the theme. This also comes through in the vocal delivery, which is constantly sincere and humourless, the sound of glittering sequins and hushed confessions in front of stadium crowds.
As much affection as I have for certain sections of her discography, Minogue’s voice has never been a beautiful enough instrument to impress on its own merits, but she has fortunately chosen to use it throughout the years wisely, adding her whisper and coos to some absolute classics. Thankfully her voice does suit this material very well, sounding fragile on the ballads and resilient on the big pop numbers.
Though the lyrics and several of the melodies are quite generic, with almost all of the album’s 16 tracks landing around the three-minute mark, Minogue clearly has her eye on the pop charts. This is a solid record and a welcome shift in focus that unfortunately lacks real heart, but then, that’s never been what we come to Kylie for.
Written for Beat Magazine.