Kylie Minogue

Body Language

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If Light Years was the comeback, and Fever the confirmation, then Body Language can best be described as Kylie's "big step forward." Sure it's still simple dance-pop, but this time she (and a team of producers and writers -- including Kurtis Mantronik -- it must be said) has put together an album that works as a piece. It's stylish without being smarmy, retro without being ironic, and its energy never gets annoying. In other words: a near perfect pop record. Instead of opting for more of the light dance- and disco-pop of the last two releases, Kylie has sought to expand her horizons. Adding elements of electroclash, '80s synth pop, bouncy club beats -- even a dash of Eminem-style raps! -- she's found the formula that not only makes her vocal shortcomings irrelevant but gives her the edge on the rest of the divas on their newfound quest: maturity. While Madonna, Xtina, and Britney have attempted to achieve maturity through trashiness and not really all that shocking behavior (i.e., that MTV Awards kiss), Kylie maintained a low profile, retained a sense of class, and put together what may well be the best album of her career. Simply, Body Language is what happens when a dance-pop diva takes the high road and focuses on what's important instead of trying to shock herself into continued relevance.

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