After a long career full of many course corrections and detours, it seemed like Kylie Minogue was locked into being a shiny, glittery dance pop icon for life. A label change and some personal turmoil in the form of a soul-shattering breakup sent Minogue looking for something new musically. When planning her first album for BMG, a label rep asked if she had ever thought of recording country music in Nashville and she jumped at the chance. For 2018's Golden, Minogue went to Music City, got to work writing songs with some seasoned pros, and ended up co-writing all the songs on the record. It's heartbreaking and uplifting in turn as she makes sense of where her heart has taken her, set to the tune of fiddles, guitars, and woodsy backing vocals along with the more traditional synths, drum machines, and club beats one usually hears on a Minogue album. She and her team of musicians, writers, and producers straddle the line between twang and glitter on just about every song; sometimes, it leans more in favor of line dancing, sometimes the glitter ball takes over, especially on the shimmering "Raining Glitter." Sometimes, like on "Live a Little" or the very hooky single "Dancing," it's the best of both worlds. It's an interesting mix that puts her in line with much of what's happening in mainstream country. Certainly, the difference between most of Golden and, say, Kacey Musgraves' 2018 album is almost non-existent. The amazing thing about the album, and about Minogue, is that she pulls off the country as well as she's pulled off new wave, disco, electro, murder ballads, and everything else she's done in her long career. Her voice may not have the depth of some of the great Nashville singers, but she has tons of personality, and when she cuts loose there's more than a little Dolly Parton in her artistic DNA. She also does a fine job on ballads -- letting the heartbreak flow on "Radio On" and sounding like both Tegan and Sara on "Sincerely Yours." Golden is an odd detour for Minogue, and it's hard to imagine that the record will get much traction on the country side of the equation -- there's a strong chance her less devoted fans might find the new sound a little too much. As an artistic statement, it's pretty darn bold, though, and proves that she's still game for just about anything and able to make whatever she does sound exactly like herself.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra