On "Illusion", one of three tracks on Aphrodite co-written by La Minogue, she sings "Can I make it when there's so much doubt? Somebody help me out..." And if anyone's in a position to get by with a little help from her friends, it's Kylie.
Her first release into a post-Gaga world (it might sound silly, but Ms Germanotta has raised the bar for everyone working in the pop genre) is exec-produced by the great Stuart Price, who needs to be on his game here, since it follows X, which was simply one of the greatest pop albums of the century so far. Worryingly, for the first time in over a decade, the lead single from a new Kylie album hasn't knocked me out: "All the Lovers" has none of the magic of "2 Hearts", the song Kylie covered to launch X.
The good news is that Aphrodite improves immeasurably from thereon in. The Lucas Secon-penned "Get Out of My Way", slated as the next single, effortlessly gets its hooks into you, as does the shuddering "Put Your Hands Up", composed by Starsmith with Aussie twins (and former models) Olivia and Miriam Nervo.
The baroque harpsichord disco of "Closer", written by Price with his erstwhile Zoot Woman bandmate Beatrice Hatherley, is inspired. "Everything Is Beautiful", being a Keane composition, is naturally slower paced and piano based. The Nerina Pallot-written title track, with its "Can you feel me on your stereo?" refrain, is ridiculously irresistible. "Better Than Today" (another Pallot composition) is a daft cheese-pop interlude reminiscent of Anoka's "Japanese Boy", but all is saved with "Too Much", co-written by the dream team of Kylie, Jake Shears and Calvin Harris, which sounds like state-of-the-art pop beamed back to us from some unspecified date in the future.
Minogue/Price effort "Looking for an Angel" is a possible weak spot, and the closing "Can't Beat the Feeling" (written by Pascal Gabriel, Richard X and about a dozen others) has a slight too-many-cooks feel, but she's already made her point, and the live shows are gonna be some next-level shizzle. In the context of Minogue's discography, her 11th album marks an infinitesimally tiny dip. In the greater pop scheme of things, Kylie's Aphrodite is mighty.