Say what you want about Kylie Minogue (and trust us, we have), she certainly knows how to ride a wave. At the timely juncture where C2C is a massive festival in the UK and Kacey Musgraves is the darling of the music world, she’s done well to note and capitalise on this country-pop bop wave and, well, make it all Kylie Minogue.
Golden is certainly one of her better albums in recent times, but that’s not saying much. You’d be hard-pressed to avoid the radio play of Dancing, infectious as it is with its chorus. Recent single Raining Glitter brings in a bit of that vibe, though it throws it in with a classic Kylie chorus that makes it one of her best since Get Outta My Way.
It’s all very UK radio-friendly, country in name and acoustic or slide guitar rather than any deep or weighted lyrical discussion. But then no one comes to a Kylie Minogue album for deep insights on addiction or marital strife or anything like that, do they? They come from annoyingly effective songs like Stop Me From Falling or Shelby 68.
Of course, there are some grave missteps. The title track is embarrassing from the get-go, the sort of song you’d imagine on an advert for Wagon Wheels and full of wispy lines of nothingness. In fact, the whole mid-section is weighted down by a stereotypical adherence to its country vibe – the banjo on A Lifetime To Repair, the lighter-in-the-air attempt of Sincerely Yours, and the affected accent on Live A Little. It’s a good performance as an ersatz country star, but it’s a transparent and flimsy guise for her.
But there are moment of sincerity that cut through. When Kylie drops the fake accoutrements she delivers a heartfelt Radio On towards the end of the album. But after that it’s business as usual, as Golden comes across as clearly the work of someone playing dress-up in another genre without any of the chops to give it weight. A valiant attempt, but one that Kylie Minogue doesn’t even come close to pulling off.