Kylie Minogue Tension review: One of pop icon's best albums yet

It was ‘acceptable in the 80s’ but Tension, the effervescent new album from Kylie Minogue celebrates the decadence and disco-fuelled fever that personifies this decade and more.

This is the first album from the princess of pop since 2020’s Disco and whilst this is the Australian’s first non-themed album, sonically it’s easy to see how all of the anthemic 11 tracks come together.

With heavy dance beats, vivid lyrics and sultry synths in abundance, Tension delivers an absolute suckerpunch and more than adequately in Kylie’’s own words showcases, ‘a blend of personal reflection, club abandon and melancholic highs’.

From the Balearic-infused bubblegum dance-pop of One More Time and Story to the euphoric and driving guitar solo of Hold On To Now, every track is carefully tailored to make your heart sing.

The princess of pop, indisputable, but Kylie Minogue is also the queen of reinvention and has been likened to the musical equivalent of that shapeshifter himself Doctor Who as she has reinvented or even indeed regenerated herself countless times throughout her five decades in the music industry.

With Tension, Kylie delivers a full-bodied disco-infused album that has an unadulterated collection of euphoric and joyful dance floor classics and sultry pop cuts that is chock-full of hedonistic abandon, the joie de vivre and the restorative power of the dancefloor.

From the viral phenomenon Padam Padam to the disco-house of One More Time, here’s what you can expect from Tension, Kylie Minogue’s 16th studio album.

The track that broke the internet, the electro-pop banger that is Padam Padam, the lead single from Kylie with its unbridled synth licks, kitten-esque purrs and ecstatic euphoric energy didn’t originally target certain UK radio stations such as BBC Radio 1 and Capital FM because it was aimed at slightly older audiences. However, due to Padam’s stratospheric popularity on TikTok and other platforms, the song has captured the hearts and the imagination of a younger audience and has subsequently found a new generation of fans. It’s even been referenced in parliament!

This has also translated into commercial success too and Padam Padam – a quirky reference to the sound of a human heart beat = has become Kylie’s highest-charting single since 2014’s Into the Blue. Padam is so much more than just a bloody good pop song, it’s become a cultural movement, a generational gap-filler and it’s taught a very valuable lesson that age is just a number to those that had tried to put this track in a (mid-aged) sized box.

Paying homage to the 80s, new album Tension is a stellar showcase of the humble synth. From the almost other-worldly synths in Hold On To Now where she advocates why we should ‘keep dancing forever’. Kylie effortlessly blends her honeyed vocals with a punchy hook and a high-octane bass line that mesmerises.

The 80s synth-pop sound also appears on Things We Do For Love and You Still Get Me High, the latter of which sounds like it could be a ‘coming of age’ 80s film classic with its catchy refrain of ‘Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!

The synth game continues albeit with a twist on 10 Out of 10 (which is indeed track 10 of the album) which blends the synth-pop sounds with a ’90s house influence with Dutch producer Oliver Heldens lending his vocals with a very ‘90’s sonic with lines like ‘Body, ten / Touch, ten/ Energy, ten /Ten out of ten!’

With titular track Tension, with propulsive dance beat and evocative lyrics, it’s a smidge experimental with its genre-bending electro sound. But at its heart, it is still classic Kylie despite its interstellar-esque and shape-shifting sonics. Taking inspiration from ’90s house music and ‘00s club classics, the track fulfils the heady heights that its predecessor Padam Padam created.

Throughout this album, Kylie pays homage to her love of disco-pop and catchy hooks and certainly there’s a frivolous and nostalgic sound to the album, but it’s very far away from being a disco tribute thanks to the superb production levels and at times, it even feels almost futuristic in its approach. It’s hedonistic, but with plenty of heart and is unequivocally one of Kylie’s best albums to date.

Undoubtedly this album is one that is made for dancing to and with 11 tracks that range from slower numbers like You Still Get Me High and Story that build and build to unabashed all-out floorfillers like title track Tension, you better bring your best moves, as Kylie is having a party and we’re all invited.

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