'Tension' is a chic collection of songs to help us pull in da club, soundtrack all-night raves and make our hearts sing/go 'Padam Padam'.
“And I can tell you how this ends/ I'll be in your head all weekend…” – is Kylie singing in character as the song itself here? Padam Padam just knows it slaps. It’s not often that this scribe has reached for the replay button multiple times on a new release – the last slice of pop perfection to blow me away in such an all-consuming way was Britney’s Toxic (2003) – but we’re still officially OBSESSED with Padam Padam.
The way the arrangement sneakily builds – layer upon lustrous layer – coaxes our bodies to move subtly. With increasing abandon, until hi-hats enter halfway through the chorus and, from this point onwards, nothing else matters except pulling shapes to the driving electropop beats. Soon, our heartbeats elevate to illustrate the song’s onomatopoeic title – what kinda voodoo magic is this!? “But we don’t need to use our words/ Wanna see what’s underneath that T-shirt” – stahp it, Kylie! Way to make us blush while we dance!
And ICYMI, be sure to check out the spoof of Padam Padam’s music video that genius staff members from Hobbycraft, a fabric shop in Wimbledon, shared on TikTok:
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So how does the rest of Kylie’s 16th album measure up to its horny, euphoric calling card?
Track two, Hold On To Now – with its percolating synth undercurrent, which evokes sun glitter and wouldn’t sound outta place on a Chemical Brothers track – is a wistful dancefloor banger. Then Things We Do For Love, which channels Richard Marx’s Should’ve Known Better come the chorus, keeps us dancing and dreaming.
“Oh, my God, touch me right there/ Almost there, touch me right there…” – second single Tension’s sex-positive, digitally enhanced choruses casually take charge, directing a sexual partner to prioritise your pleasure. Kylie has credited British singer-songwriter Kamille, one of this song’s co-writers, for giving her the confidence to include braggy bits like “Call me Kylie-ie-ie” and “Hot like chilli-li-li”.
One More Time (is this title a Daft Punk shout-out?) incorporates hand claps, a piano-house hook and some brass fanfare. Kylie’s message here is “sloooow down”. Okay, cool. A breather can be good, too. Beginning as a ballad of sorts, You Still Get Me High soon transforms into joyous, danceable, celebratory vibes – talk about a tone shift! Kylie’s exuberant trills tease whistle-note heights at one point before glistening sax appeal enlivens this song’s conclusion.
If we’re unsure about anything about this album, it’s the Doja Cat-adjacent rap-sung verses of Hands. A tad tryhard, perchance?
“Just give me the green light/ And I can make you feel better/ Spinnin’ round in circles…” – is Kylie being meta during Green Light by referencing Spinning Around, her 2000 smash hit with the accompanying clip starring Those Gold Hotpants. Again, gotta love that smouldering sax!
In creating Vegas High, was Kylie courting her first-ever Vegas residency, which kicks off this November?
A contender for next season’s Pose theme song, the fabulous 10 Out Of 10 flirts with New York’s underground ballroom culture before a sampled ‘judge’ gives Kylie full marks in all categories: “Body: 10/ Touch: 10/ Energy: 10/ 10 out of 10” – it’ll make you strut, duckwalk and vogue like you own that runway. “Wanna kiss me where the sun don’t shine?” – just WOW! Now we’re blushing again!
Look, we might be reading too much into it here, but when Kylie repeats her parting line (“You’re part of my story”) several times to close out concluding track Story, it sounds like she’s singing directly to her loyal fanbase.
Although 36+ years deep in her career, Kylie’s perennially youthful, sweet, breathy vocals glow with humanity. No AI/computer could replicate her spirit, which infuses every single syllable she delivers.
“Let me be your highlight/ Dancing all night together…” – this pop princess simply refuses to retire her dancing shoes (sparkly, strappy stilettos, obvs) and defies ageism by continuing to release top-tier arousal anthems. Tension is a chic collection of songs to help us pull in da club, soundtrack all-night raves and make our hearts sing/go Padam Padam.
Did you know? After the station eventually caved following fan backlash, Our Kyles became the first woman over 50 to be added to rotation on BBC Radio 1 thanks to Padam Padam.
Tension is out now via BMG/Darenote.