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Sunday, 24 September, 2000, 07:32 GMT 08:32 UK
CD Review: Kylie Minogue
Kylie Minogue - Light Years (Parlophone)
Light Years (Parlophone)
By BBC News Online's Chris Charles

If they handed out Olympic medals for reinvention, this particular fair dinkum Aussie would be the darling of Sydney.

From girl next door to sultry sex goddess and back again, the pint-sized pop star has gone through more changes than a Neighbours plot line - though slightly more difficult to follow.

Her latest incarnation sees a return to the formulaic fun-fest of old - only now the cheese has matured into a much more appetising dish.

There was a time when she would happily allow others to dictate her career path, as self-respecting souls cringed under their bedclothes at the sight of those unfathomably white teeth.

Wily

Nowadays, wily old Kylie is one step ahead of the suits and, for once, it's them who are having to work for their money.

Kylie Minogue - Light Years (Parlophone)
Kylie: One step ahead of the suits
It's almost as if she has become a parody of herself; the tacky beachwear cover shot, the catchy, throwaway pop songs - enough to make any serious Radiohead fan choke on their organic oatmeal.

But this time Kylie is in on the joke - and loving every minute of it.

Having burst back into the public's affection with the instantly infectious Spinning Around - surely one of the tunes of the summer - it would not be unreasonable to suspect the rest of the tracks on Light Years were there just to make up the numbers.

But while some of the edges are a little too fluffy (the dreadful On A Night Like This springs immediately to mind), there is enough here to suggest her latest love affair with the population at large will be more than a five-minute wonder.

Pop couple

So Now Goodbye could be a re-mix of a Motown classic, while Disco Down and Your Disco Needs You see Abba and the Pet Shop Boys getting on down at the hottest gay night in town.

Kylie Minogue
Makeover queen: Kylie Minogue entertains the troops in East Timor
The latter sees Kylie calling on the writing services of a certain Robbie "are they or aren't they?" Williams.

Having already collaborated with James Dean Bradfield during her "indie" phase and enjoyed a murderous fling with Nick Cave at the height of her "dark period", it's only logical she should recruit the first gentleman of pop as her journey completes its full circle.

Williams crops up again on the Latino-style Love Boat, which deems to stop off at every big-hair 70s movie ever made, allowing Kylie to "cool off with cocktails" on her "marine sunset dream".

Post teen angst

The sangria keeps flowing on Please Stay, while the title track transports her to the dancefloor as she continues to laugh her way through the album... all the way to the bank.

Kylie Minogue
How times change: Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan
In fact, apart from a better songwriting team, the only significant change from the days of her dalliances with Jason Donovan is the dropping of her surname - a trend recently reversed by Billie to make herself look more grown-up - work that one out if you will.

For Kylie, of course, those teen-angst days have long gone.

Now 32, she has dealt with the ignominy of the boot from her last record company, returning with an album to satisfy the needs of both the post-1990 converts and the ageing misguided parents who queued up to name their offspring after her.

By the way, if you thought for one minute that Robbie would be content to remain a silent partner on Light Years, think again.

The great ego takes centre stage on Kids, where he invites the object of his desire to "take a ride on my 12-cylinder symphony".

He should be so lucky.

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20 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Top of the Pops cuts Robbie duet
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