Saturday, November 04, 2006

Some thoughts on the effectiveness of Kylie Minogue

Why do I love Kylie Minogue so? I do adore pop music to a degree. There's a variety of it which repulses me. I think Americans truly have plenty to learn about pop. I find the Britney Spears, Kelly Clarksons and Madonnas, even, in serious need of some teachings. I love the Pet Shop Boys, yet their approach towards pop is a greatly intellectual one and it could be said that their musical stylings are more derisive of Russian classical compositions than the last pop single. But Kylie?

A good friend of mine described her music as "perfectly mediocre" then continued to liken it to thanksgiving cranberry sauce as it escapes from the can - perfectly intact, still ribbed with lines of its origin. I quite like that, but it is something far more thorough. So thorough that the brilliant writer Kevin Killian is said to be writting a 2,000 page theoretical biography of the pop songstress. It is something I look forward to greatly, but my desire to understand my desire is rather pressing and I cannot wait until publication to come to terms with my poptastic appreciation.

P J Harvey joked in an interview that Kylie is not a person. I think that this is perhaps the greatest thing working for miss Minogue. Last night I sat down with Ultimate Kylie, a DVD collection of most of her promos. Time after time, we find her before a robotic procession of dancers moving with the most mechanical grace. Angular choreography is supplanted with closeups of a face, so painted and lighted that it becomes not a face but an idealized version of one. I don't get a particular sense of personality from Kylie, but then, where is the need for personality in Pop music? Pop is, in its most successful incarnations, impersonal, stoic - or, as the americans would call it, Universal. Kylie Minogue isn't, as P J Harvey has insinuated, a person, but an ideal. I don't see her sitting around and considering her image, but a crew of moguls. She is merely the vehicle, a vessel. As I sit here, writing this, the video for 'Love At First Sight' plays before me. Kylie sings in the foreground as out of focus mechainical, computerized dancers move uniformly behind her. Grids of digital imagery scan the screen, across her face - fabricating her, in a sense.

It would be silly to assume that Kylie was real. One cannot look at her face without noting its plasticine formation. Those lips, the eyes, that shine... The fact that age has not betrayed her over the 20 years of her career. No one looks younger 20 years into their career, and yet, the older miss Minogue gets, the more consistantly she sells her image of absolute eroticism. Look at the video for Slow. Kylie lies on a towel amidst a sea of bikinni clad men who all writhe in unison. It's is positively the most sexually charged video I have ever seen. And yet, in this instance, Miss Minogue wears the most clothing of her career. Strange. She healms a lingerie line in her native Australia called Love Kylie.

In fact, in considering the videos, her commercialism is certainly a factor in her effectiveness. In 'Love At First Sight,' she is adorned with a dangly earring 'K' and a large orange bracelette clipped onto her bicep which reads 'KM.' For 'In Your Eyes,' she flaunts silver knuckles which read 'Kylie' in, what I have come to understand as, her signature font. A quick trip to will yield a vast array of Kylie products for your purchasing pleasure. Of course you will find t-shirts, CDs, DVDs (one for every concert, it would seem), books, posters but also jewelry (similar to those which Kylie wears in her videos), candles, drawer liners, lingerie and, my pseronal favorite, the Official Kylie Doll - Silva Nemesis. Kylie Minogue is a product, pure and simple. An honest evolution of pop ideals. Not only is her music available for purchase, but the Impossible Princess, herself can be bought, sold downloded and collected. And by fabricating an artificial image, why not? The less Kylie appears as a real person, the more we may have of her. As a DVD extra, we may watch Kylie perform her mash-up of her hit song Can't Get You Out of My Head with New Order's Blue Monday. She is raised to the stage upon a giant plexiglass record which reads, of course, Kylie. She is no different from this record (coincidentally, all of Kylie's vinyl singles are picturediscs, replete with a large image of miss Minogue who may now still be "Spinning around" in the comfort of you own home). As she steps down from the record, she joins the robots down below and fits in all too well. As the song draws to it close, she reassumes her perch upon the large shiny commodity, well at home.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anyone know who designed kylies dress in the slow music video. x

9:04 AM  
Blogger wasitworthit said...

That would be Balenciaga.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous batrinu alina florentina said...

Yes, PJ Harvey has right. Kylie Minogue doesn't count, she's not a person.

4:54 AM  

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