Kylie Minogue

Body Language [Japan Bonus Tracks]

(CD - Toshiba #66260)

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If Light Years was the comeback and Fever the confirmation, then Body Language can best be described as Kylie Minogue'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 and 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-pop and disco-pop of her previous two releases, Minogue sought to expand her horizons. Adding elements of electroclash, '80s synth pop, bouncy club beats -- even a dash of Eminem-style raps! -- she found the formula that not only made her vocal shortcomings irrelevant but gave her the edge on the rest of the divas on their newfound quest: maturity. While Madonna, Xtina, and Britney attempted to achieve maturity through trashiness and not-really-all-that-shocking behavior (e.g., that MTV Awards kiss), Minogue 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. [The Japan-only edition of Body Language included the bonus tracks "Slow Motion" and "You Make Me Feel."]

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