Aphrodite (Deluxe Experience Edition)
Kylie Minogue has always commanded the dance floor. Her feathery voice practically calls out for the phased whirr of a synthesizer, a catchy chorus, and the thump of a drum machine. Even when she’s stepped away from the sweaty throng and explored the sidelines, the flashing lights and disco balls are never far from sight, eagerly anticipating her inevitable return. And when she is ready to jump back in, she takes your hand and brings you along with her. That sense of communion is the thread that runs through her 11th studio album Aphrodite. For it, Minogue brought on Stuart Price—the British pop wizard who’s worked with Madonna, Dua Lipa, New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Scissor Sisters, and many more—as executive producer, and he in turn brought the same dance-music magic he sprinkled into Madonna’s Confessions on a Dance Floor as he helped craft one of Minogue’s most sonically cohesive albums. In the Aphrodite world, the dance floor is all-encompassing: It’s a place for love (“Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)” and “Everything Is Beautiful”); somewhere to thrash out life’s problems (“Infatuation’s got a hold on me/A little jealousy, I’m not myself at all,” Minogue admits on the strobing “Illusion”); and a source of empowerment (“Ain’t getting me back/At the end of the song,” she sings on the glassy Italo-disco stomper “Get Outta My Way,” before twirling off into the crowd to dance with “a perfect stranger”). There’s unbridled euphoria, too: Pulsing with conflicted feelings of heartache and happiness, “All the Lovers” rushes forwards with its arms open, wrapping you in an embrace of cascading electronics and sweeping backing vocals. It provides a moment of pure hands-in-the-air ecstasy. “Dance/It’s all I wanna do,” Minogue sings on one of the most exquisite songs she’s ever crafted, before inviting you to join her: “So won’t you dance?” After listening to Aphrodite, it’s an offer that even the steeliest dance-pop detractors will find hard to refuse.