There are many, many Kylies in the world. But there is only one who has earned the right to be known mononymously. And it’s not Kylie “secondary reality television personality” Jenner.
Back in mid-1987, it was easy to write off Kylie Minogue as a one-hit-downunder-wonder. Just as it was easy to write her off in 1989 as nothing but a Stock Aitken Waterman puppet. Just as it was easy to write her off in 1998 as a star whose best work was behind her.
But there’s a reason the mononymous become…mononymous. Here are ten singles that illustrate why Kylie Minogue is a music legend.
1. Got To Be Certain (1988)
After the success of I Should Be So Lucky, her first true international hit, there was pressure on Ms Minogue and SAW to deliver a second smash. What they served up was this piece of pop perfection, pairing it with a video where Kylie further cements her image as the adorkable girl next door.
Highlight: That ‘swoosh’ sound at the song’s opening. What the hell is that?
2. Better The Devil You Know (1990)
With two successful, but almost identical, albums under her belt, Kylie was keen to evolve her sound. SAW responded with their strongest song. Showcasing a sexier image in every way – check out the package on the dancer in the white pants – this is the bedrock upon which Kylie would build the next two decades: grown-up, confident, sensual but still retaining that spunky charm that the audience had come to expect.
Highlight: Those unmistakable whoa-oh-oha-oha-ohs, recycled for the little-know SAW track All Mixed Up.
3. Give Me Just A Little More Time (1992)
Kylie’s last SAW album saw her further trying to spread her audio wings, but by now it was clear that a break-up between the parties was imminent. Some of the tracks on Let’s Get To It aren’t always convincing – both KM and SAW feel like they’re trying a little too hard. But this remake of the Chairman of the Board’s 1970 hit is a perfect 10 – respectful to the original but adding some early 1990s polish.
Highlight: Those shiny, uplifting horns.
4. Did It Again (1997)
While the mid-1990s wasn’t always kind to Kylie, she couldn’t be accused of being boring. Witness this track which where she both destroys, and embraces, her past. She had experimented with Eastern-sounds on her 1994 self-titled ‘I’m free of SAW’ album and, as this shows, continuing that journey proved a good idea. Impossible Princess wasn’t a smash hit, the release hobbled by the death of Diana Princess of Wales, but it is full of songs where Kylie lays her soul not quite bare, but at least a little bit undressed.
Highlight: That Kylie-brawl! Kylie would give us a wonderful second helping of the “multiple-Minogues’ with the Come Into My World video.
5. Spinning Around (2000)
Comebacks are for people who vanished – and Kylie’s never really left the charts – but her Light Years album did represent her coming home in a sense. Back is the bouncy disco and sex kitten of earlier that decade, but this time it doesn’t feel so much like a girl playing dress-up. This Kylie is genuinely grown-up. Unbelievably, this song wasn’t written for Minogue, but for (one of the co-writers) Paula Abdul.
Highlight: That updated Hustle. And the gold shorts, of course.
6. Love At First Sight (2002)
Can’t Get You Out of My Head was a juggernaut, propelling Kylie back into the US top ten. But I have more love for this, third single, from Fever. The song’s production pulsates like new millennium-SAW, somehow equally modern and retroactive. If you want proof compare this song with her earlier tune with an identical name. Same energy, but an updated sound.
Highlight: The styling in that video. Kylie has never looked so cool.
7. 2 Hearts (2007)
In 2005, Minogue was diagnosed with, and treated for, breast cancer. Following her recovery she recorded her tenth studio album, entitled X. On 2 Hearts, the first single released, Minogue goes full cabaret – blowsy and rowdy.
8. I Was Gonna Cancel (2014)
The most baffling thing about this single is the fact that it wasn’t an international smash. Pharrell wrote Kylie this song after she had a bad day in the studio – so perhaps she should aim to have more of them.
Highlight: Kylie is fond of encircling herself with a cast in videos (Slow, Get Outta My Way). Somehow it never gets old.
9. Right Here, Right Now (Giorgio Moroder ft. Kylie Minogue) (2015)
Giorgio Moroder. Kylie Minogue. In 2015? Someone answered my prayers!
Highlight: Kylie’s ecstatic ‘oooooh’ over that disco thump.
10. Golden (2018)
Kylie has been bestowed with various honorific titles – but it’s the Princess of Pop that most suits her. Yes, she’s pop royalty, but she’s equally ageless in spirit. Thirty (!) years on from her first success and she’s turning out some of her most distinctive work. Golden sounds unlike anything else she’s done, yet equally quintessentially Kylie.
Highlight: Kylie in that red sequinned dress on a beach is the perfect metaphor for her dabbling in country.
Hand On Your Heart (1989) – Don’t be fooled by that underwhelming video, this is a cracker tune.
Put Yourself In My Place (1994) – Dreamy sounds paired with space-vixen Kylie.
Get Outta My Way (2010) – More disco? Well, of course!
Every Day’s Like Christmas (SAW Remix) (2015) – Sometimes you can go home again!
The Other Boys (NERVO feat. Kylie Minogue, Jake Shears & Nile Rodgers) (2015) – Proof that there is a God. And she loves us.