Kylie - Let's Get To It (25th Anniversary Celebration)

Buy Let's Get To It here (Amazon UK)
Read my 25th anniversary celebration of Rhythm of Love here
Read my 25th anniversary celebration of Enjoy Yourself here
Revisit A Kylie Christmas review here (MyFestivePop)

By the time 1991 rolled around, ticking on as time so often does, Kylie Minogue had transformed from soap star to pop star to fully fledged Pop Goddess. She had 13 top 5 hits (4 of which had topped the charts), 3 top ten albums (2 chart toppers) and live shows that captivated her adoring followers (and laid the groundwork for the elaborate, opulent shows she continues to delight fans with today). Album number four not only came with weighty expectations, but also arrived at a time of transition - there was a cosmic shift in the type of music populating the UK charts and it seemed that S/A/W was not as prevalent as they used to be (and Matt Aitken had moved on from the Hit Factory); Kylie was taking more control over the songs she sang meaning new musical styles were coming through; and people who had grown up with Kylie's music (myself including) were maturing and looking for her musical growth too. It was almost an impossible balance for Ms Minogue to get right. Let's Get To It saw Stock and Waterman at the helm, but a seemingly much more collaborative process was in play with Kylie co-writing all but 3 songs and flirting with different musical genres. After the flawless run of singles from Rhythm of Love (still considered so by many after all these years), Kylie took the bold move of not replicating those sounds. Instead the album was infused with the popular-at-the-time new jill swing beats, r'n'b samples and club loops - alongside a few songs that bridged the musical growth between her previous works and this new album. The result may have been her least successful album (and run of singles) to date - but over time, the body of work has proved itself to be a worthy and underrated addition to her canon...

...True story, and let's not tell anyone this, but I wasn't entirely smitten with the lead single or album when it came out. Before you give me audible gasps, I'll explain that it wasn't that I didn't like it. Just that it took me some time to appreciate it - I think, in hindsight, I didn't want change, just the illusion of change in my popstars like Kylie, Debbie Gibson, Sonia et al. I was ready to embrace heady new sounds but from different artists. What I really and secretly wanted from my idols was continuity and consistency. Let's Get To It gave me that - I just didn't exactly realise it at the time. The lead single, Word Is Out, actually came a short 3 months after the all conquering Shocked and seemed a little timid in comparison. It was the first Kylie single not to make the top ten, which was a big shock to me at the time - I think I naively assumed that she would be top ten forever. It is weird how things like this can colour your perception of a song and, although I bought it in both 7 and 12" versions, it was probably the first Kylie song I didn't play incessantly on a loop for days as soon as I owned it. This is actually a real shame - over the years, I've really come to love Word Is Out. It showed a far more seductive side to Kylie - one that was actually consistent with the message wrought by the Rhythm of Love singles, just presented in a much more subtle way. The shimmering groove allowed her voice to really shine and that mellifluous melody to glimmer brightly alongside the luxurious horns and r'n'b beat. The "sticking to your story/really makes no sense/no judge or jury/could ignore the evidence" line that leads into the first chorus is actually brilliantly done - having the repetitive notes grabs your attention but also allows the choral refrain to soar. And for those who wanted something a little different, the addition of glorious house-infused piano in the Summer Breeze mix gave it a more sophisticated sheen and one that would definitely entice you onto the dancefloor. Add to this a heavenly b-side, Say The Word (I'll Be There) (a lovely, languorous mid-tempo ballad with some delightful vocals from Kylie and her backing singers), and a much wiser me sits here chastising 17 year old me for not paying enough attention to this gem of a song. Did it deserve to make the top ten? Definitely. At least Ireland and Australia got it right...

Singles 2 and 3 from Let's Get To It returned Kylie to her former chart glories. Both hit the top 5 and as 1992 dawned, it felt like the good ol' days all over again. First up was her duet with Keith Washington, If You Were With Me Now. This was, again, somewhat of a departure for Kylie. Oh sure, we'd had the everlasting saccharine pop of her Jason-duet, Especially For You, but this put her in more stately, elegant surroundings (particularly on the magnificent orchestral version). She matched Keith's smooth, sensuous tones note for note - and again proved that Let's Get To It was as much a journey of sexual exploration and discovery as Rhythm Of Love (she just found a new way to present it). Notable about this release was the b-side, an edited version of album track I Guess I Like It Like That. If Better The Devil You Know was Kylie dipping her toes into club waters then I Guess I Like It Like That (and subsequent "Angel K" promo releases, as she dubbed herself in order to bypass preconceived ideas and garner a larger club fanbase) was her diving straight into the pool. It audaciously sampled songs like Keep On Pumping It Up (Freestyle Orchestra) and I Like It Like That (Salt 'n' Pepa) and was a deliriously whirling track that fitted perfectly with the house-rave craze of the early 90s clubdom. It was edited from the 6 minute album version to garner more radio play - and in addition, completely remixed and released as a club single in it's own right by Vision Masters and Tony King. This club domination continued with the flip side of her next single, Give Me A Little More Time. While the A side was classic Kylie immersing herself in joyous Motown magic made all the more contemporary with Stock and Waterman's contemporary production, Do You Dare saw her commanding the dance floor with another rave-infused set of remixes. I remember thinking that the practice of giving new versions of both the single and then additional album tracks was like manna from heaven for the fans. There was something to match whatever mood you were in. It was also a super smart marketing move in terms of showing how dexterous a performer Kylie was. Clearly, the singles buying public agreed as these almost-double-A side singles hit numbers 4 and 2 respectively in England. Note - I do recall being mightily miffed that Melody Maker described Give Me A Little More Time as "yet another cover version from Miss Minogue". 'Give me a break' I bemoaned in my far too precocious diary. 'This is only her 3rd out of 16 singles'. Oh I sure knew how to settle the score :)

The fourth and final single from LGTI would prove to be perhaps the most important and historic. Finer Feelings was given to Brothers in Rhythm to remix - and there is absolutely no denying that Steve Anderson and Dave Seaman did an absolutely exquisite job. They really understood the story Kylie was trying to tell with this album and, by swathing the track in grandiose strings and a beat that Soul II Soul would have killed for, let her excel in a sophisticated, alluring siren's call. Fans (then and now) loved the remake. It may have "only" peaked at number 11 (a position that the equally mesmerising Put Yourself In My Place would reach), but it began a relationship with Brothers in Rhythm (and then Steve Anderson) that would shape the next stage of her career and continue through to her current releases & stage shows. It's pleasing to note that there is nothing innocuous about the beginnings of this creative partnership - Finer Feelings has aged like a fine wine and still sounds perfect 24 and 1/2 years later. It was a fitting close to the end of her album campaign - and, although we didn't know it at the time, hinted at what was to come in her post-PWL years. The album (do get the 2 CD edition as a very minimum) is actually a treat to revisit - an intriguing snap shot of a changing musical landscape, a changing artist, and the winding down of Britain's biggest 80s/early 90s hit producing factory. See you 2017 for the 25th anniversary release of her first Greatest Hits!

Top 25 songs of the week:

25 ~ MKTO, Superstitious
24 ~ Jakil, Tongue Tied
23 ~ Bright Light x2, Symmetry of Two Hearts
22 ~ Sophie Ellis Bextor, Come With Us
21 ~ The Feeling, Alien
20 ~ Allan Jay & Rozalla, Breaking My Heart
19 ~ Fitz & The Tantrums, Roll Up (NE)
18 ~ Fitz & The Tantrums, Hand Clap
17 ~ Michael Buble, Nobody But Me
16 ~ Christie & The Dream Beats, Learning to Dance Again
15 ~ Olly Murs, Grow Up (NE)
14 ~ X&Y, Secrets
13 ~ DNCE, Body Moves (NE)
12 ~ Tom Chaplin, Quicksand
11 ~ Maroon 5, Don't Wanna Know (NE)
10 ~ Pet Shop Boys, Burn
09 ~ Auryn, Footprints
08 ~ The Summer Set, Figure Me Out
07 ~ Debbie Gibson, Wonderland
06 ~ Jakil, Truth Is
05 ~ Mans Zelmerlow, Hanging On To Love
04 ~ The Heydaze, Hurt Like Hell
03 ~ Sean Smith, Turn Me On
02 ~ Robbie Williams, Party Like A Russian
01 ~ Paul Varney, Kiss and Make Up (1 week/NE)

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