Single Review: Kylie Minogue – ‘Better Than Today’

FORE NOTE: “It’s the truth, it’s a fact/I was gone and now I’m back”

Yes people, I’m back after a rather disappointing weekend beginning with some terrible single releases, then I saw the midweek chart, and THEN, The X Factor final was so deliriously boring I really don’t give a shit who wins anymore, much less about the winner’s single or whether or not Simon is going to go ahead with rush releasing the winner’s album. We all know Matt’s won, Cher and One Direction already have record label executives clicking their pens and Rebecca’s probably going to be the one who gets a recording contract like Nadine Coyle.*

Anyhoo, back to the review, and those Kylie-holics among us will notice the lyric I quoted earlier is taken from what, around about now, wouldn’t be the kind of single that could be sniffed at. It’s ‘Aphrodite’, from her album of the same name, but instead, when all appears to be going Not So Well for Miss. Minogue, she only goes an opts for a song that sounds like the main melody could be part of a CBeebies Springtime Celebration: the bubblegum folk-pop of ‘Better Than Today’.

Just listening to that opening riff is going to split opinion faster than a debate on who’s to blame for Ireland’s current economic crisis, and if you can bare to listen to the sickly sweet production – courtesy of the multi-talented Stuart Price – for more than thirty seconds, you get treated to Kylie sounding more and more like a caricature of her own voice as she flits up and down in pitch to a flatulent bassline and syncopated synth stabs.

Other than that, you can be sure this is one of pop’s catchiest moments of the entire year by a clear mile. The camp, electro-country romp of the music is perfectly balanced with Kylie’s vocals, but as I suggested earlier, unless you’re into overtly flamboyant music, you’re going to absolutely loathe it.

A marmite single, then?

Well, without wanting to cliché the situation, yes it is. And considering Kylie’s singles sales aren’t doing all that impressively, she appears to have made a very risky choice. Kylie is a particularly odd artist in the new, digital age of music consumption. Her overall sales mainly come from physical sales, because her demographic have aged and, without wanting to offend, aren’t all too computer literate, which explains why the digital single is wallowing about in the abyss of #70-#80 on the downloads chart. The other problem she has, is that she has a very loyal fanbase who will buy her album when her album upon it’s release, so the singles will be useless because everyone who has the album already has the singles from it. This means that the singles released had better encourage casual listeners to download them or purchase them physically or they’ll under-perform because all those who would buy the singles already have their copy on the corresponding album.

Me? I love it, and I’m completely sold on the techno-country hybrid genre she’s gone for here and how the song itself summons images of line-dancing robots.


Clearly the budget wasn’t all that large for the video, as it seems to have been ripped from her X Factor performance. Look, they’re even kept the Pacman guitarist!

Whether this will sell or not isn’t clear; it’s not going to be the biggest seller of the ‘Aphrodite’ era, let alone her entire career, but will it even sell the album? That’s debatable too. Whilst it’ll appeal to Kylie fans, I think that if she’d have released the title track, ‘Aphrodite’, it would ultimately be a much better decision.

Rating: 4.0 STARS

Download: December 6, 2010 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘Aphrodite’

*Basically she’s screwed if she doesn’t win.

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