Into The Blue
4:10 min • Parlophone • March 9, 2013
Little Bastard reviews
I have mixed feelings about Kylie. From the teenage boy that overplayed ‘Shocked’ on his battered and overused Walkman, via the camp teenager that was obsessed with ‘Confide In Me’, to the hardcore loving adult that riles against the glitter and the feathers that have become her staple image in the last ten years in favour of her dark dance floor moments, her album tracks and b-sides. So I wouldn’t ever call myself a “fan”, as at least where Kylie is concerned (and Madonna, to a certain extent) the most interesting work is often the album tracks, b-sides and remixes that are so often lost in favour of a sure-fire top ten hit. Then a friend took me to see her “Anti-tour” and, as I reflected on my evening in a review, I came to a realisation that I was much more of a hardcore fan than I realised, and I allowed myself to like Ms Minogue again.
I devoured the beautiful Abbey Road sessions, and adored the hard synth pop of last single ‘Timebomb’, with it’s stunning low budget video, and began to look forward to a new Kylie album for the first time in years. Then came our first taster, the dubstep laden ‘Skirt’, written by The Dream and produced by Nom de Strip, and I lost my mind. Definitely the best (and hardest) thing Kylie had produced in over ten years, it was daring, current, innovative and, despite having a chorus to die for, defiantly uncommercial. This was Kylie placing her pop princess crown firmly back on her head and then setting fire to it, and forcing us to watch it burn.
Unfortunately, as usual, I was in a minority who’s pop world was set alight by ‘Skirt’, and due to disappointing public reaction, the song never made it past a lyric video on YouTube and was never officially released. Another track, announced as the second single from the album, was a song called ‘Get It Up Ya’ featuring American rapper Brooke Candy, but that was never to see the light of day either. In a U-Turn that can have only been inspired by record executive fear, the announcement that the FIRST single from the album would be ‘Into The Blue’ was made. And it’s with a heavy heart that I tell you ‘Into The Blue’ is …ok! Yes, just ok.
As I suppose could have been predicted, ‘Into The Blue’ is an inoffensive slice of pop, peppered with piano and dripping with synths. For me, however, inoffensive isn’t a compliment. If the best thing I can think to say about a song is “I don’t hate it”, then I know we’re in trouble. After the ferocious and captivating ‘Skirt’, the choice of ‘Into The Blue’ as lead single is neither surprising or interesting. Yet there’s something about the track that harks back to the b-sides and album tracks that I love so much … only with none of the edge. Clearly aiming for a mature pop song that would cross generations in its appeal, sadly all Kylie and her producers have achieved is a dull song that melodically sounds like ‘Raise Your Glass’ by Pink, sung by an auto-tuned middle-aged woman.
I’m not going to resort to tabloid style name calling (‘Into The Bland’ being the most obvious slur). For all my misgivings and disappointments with this song and its place as a lead single from what was one of my most anticipated albums of the year, I was singing along after the third or fourth listen, and I can see it doing relatively well commercially. It’s not bad. I just wish, after years of being the Kylie everyone else wants her to be, she’d be the Kylie I want her to be for once. Or at least the Kylie SHE wants to be, which I would imagine is somewhere in between the two.
The track listing for the forthcoming album has been released and neither of the aforementioned interesting tracks have made the final cut, but with the likes of Sia and Pharrell working on the album, I would hope that ‘Into The Blue’ is the most bland thing she has recorded for it. With the great collaborations, if any of them are anywhere near as good as ‘Skirt’ this could still be the most exciting album of the year. However, if her record company, and indeed Kylie herself, have lost their bottle and played it safe to capitalise with her prime time Saturday night exposure on The Voice, this could be a big fat Radio 2 mistake. And whichever way it goes, you’ll be hearing from me about it.