30. Put Yourself in My Place (1994)
Her eponymous 1994 album was supposed to unveil a new, more grownup, hipper Kylie Minogue, free from the influence of Stock Aitken and Waterman: it was not the triumph some expected, but it did contain that rarest of things, a great Kylie ballad in the shape of the trip-hoppy Put Yourself in My Place.
29. Your Disco Needs You (2001)
Only a single in Europe and Australia, but it gets in the list because it is both preposterous and preposterously good fun. Clearly the result of a concerted effort to conjure up the campest song imaginable, it involves Village People backing vocals, an Abba-esque chorus and I Will Survive strings.
28. Breathe (1997)
Impossible Princess in 1997 doubled down on its predecessor’s fruitless quest for alternative cred, but people did not want Kylie singing Manic Street Preachers songs and quoting Billy Childish poems. Still, it has its moments, as evidenced by the shimmering synths and Balearic beat of Breathe, co-produced by Soft Cell’s Dave Ball.
27. Wow (2007)
Exuberant filtered disco-house, Wow’s big selling point is its hook. There’s not a great deal to it – the title repeated three times, the singer’s voice doused in electronic effects – but it lodges instantly in your head: not one of Kylie’s better-remembered singles, it lives on today as a Radio 2 jingle.
26. Timebomb (2012)
Timebomb felt like an afterthought on release – an adjunct to the CD box set and retrospective tour announced to celebrate the singer’s silver jubilee in the music business – but it is a great track in its own right, powered by a surprisingly dirty, distorted electronic riff.
25. The One (2007)
You could mistake the sound of The One, if not the lyrics, for Pet Shop Boys. Its relative lack of commercial success may have had more to do with the fickleness of the mainstream pop market than its combination of shimmering synths, stadium rock guitar riff and big chorus.
24. Better Than Today (2010)
Minogue said she felt “let down” by the fairly frosty reception accorded Better Than Today, blaming her soon-to-be former record label. Co-produced by Stuart Price, its intro seemingly influenced by MGMT’s Time to Pretend and its vocal melody naggingly familiar, it is certainly a better single than its relatively lowly chart placing suggests.
23. Crystallize (2014)
Crystallize was left off 2014’s Kiss Me Once, later turning up as a standalone single that did not attract much attention: perhaps its radio play was hampered by the fact that she somehow manages to pronounce the word “suddenly” in a way that sounds like she is singing “sodomy”. Co-written by Dev Hynes, the song itself is all Abba-esque charm.
22. Hand on Your Heart (1989)
One of the better Kylie Minogue singles from the era before she demanded a change from her initial cutsey image and Stock Aitken and Waterman began pulling out all the stops on her behalf, the song itself – most notably the bridge and chorus – is strong enough to withstand the identikit production job.
21. I Was Gonna Cancel (2014)
The second single from her 12th album Kiss Me Once, I Was Gonna Cancel barely grazed the charts, stalling at number 59. It deserved a better fate. Written and produced by Pharrell Williams, it is equal parts Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and Beyoncé’s Green Light: 10 years earlier, it would have been a smash.
20. Come Into My World (2001)
Come Into My World is a rare occasion on which a remix of a Kylie single tops the original. Another Rob Davis/Cathy Denis composition, the official single is cut from a similar musical cloth to Can’t Get You Out of My Head, but the analogue synth-heavy electroclash overload of Fischerspooner’s version is the one you need to hear.
19. Step Back in Time (1990)
Notwithstanding the slight oddness of hearing Kyliee – who was born in 1968 – demanding to know if we remember “the old days” of late 60s/early 70s soul, Step Back in Time’s loving, reference-packed homage to the music of Stock Aitken and Waterman’s youth is a total joy.
18. Kids (2000)
A duet that appeared on both Robbie Williams and Kylie’s albums – and which the latter has subsequently performed with everyone from Rick Astley to Bono – Kids captures the Williams/Guy Chambers hitmaking machine in full flower: lyrics audibly influenced by Ian Dury, beat sampled from Sisters Love’s 1973 soul classic Give Me Your Love, big old stadium chorus.
17. In Your Eyes (2001)
Fever, from 2001, may well be the pinnacle of what Neil Tennant would call Kylie’s second imperial phase: an album almost preposterously overstuffed with potential hit singles. In Your Eyes was a more straightforward proposition than Can’t Get You Out of My Head, but it is a contagious, classy pop song nonetheless.
16. Where the Wild Roses Grow (1996)
In an era when boundaries between pop and “alternative” music are blurred, it is hard to imagine just how jarring it once was to see Kylie with Nick Cave, singing about having her head smashed in with a rock. But Where the Wild Roses Grow is not a novelty: it is a classic Cave ballad, and the apex of Kylie’s indie period.
15. Say Something (2020)
The first single from Kylie’s forthcoming, normal-service-is-resumed album Disco features Radio Ga Ga-influenced electronics and a pure bubblegum chorus. You could, if you were so inclined, read its lyrics as a comment on Brexit – “We all got wanderlust, in the darkest place, so we’re going with our heart, yeah, it’s all the rage” – but, let’s face it, they are probably not.
14. 2 Hearts (2007)
A cover of a track written and originally released by electronic duo Kish Mauve, 2 Hearts represents something of a musical departure for Kylie. It is in effect the sleazy electro-glam of Goldfrapp’s Strict Machine put through a glittery Kylie filter: less intense, ominous or redolent of a sex dungeon, it still works.
13. I Believe in You (2004)
New tracks appended to greatest hits collections usually carry a tang of “Will this do?”, but I Believe in You, co-written by the Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears and Babydaddy for 2004’s Ultimate Kylie, is a cut above: I Feel Love synths and a lyric that shades into Can’t Get You Out of My Head stalker territory, lends the killer chorus a hint of creepiness.
12. What Do I Have to Do (1990)
Kylie’s third album, Rhythm of Love, was the pinnacle of her Stock Aitken and Waterman years, as strong an argument as there is that those who dismissed the production trio as the embodiment of evil were wrong: What Do I Have to Do is great, a shamelessly pop-facing take on Italo-house.
11. Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi (1987)
A lot of Kylie’s early singles suffer from the application of Stock Aitken and Waterman’s blaring, cheap, one-size-fits-all production, which has dated horribly, but Je Ne Sais Pas Pourqoui saw them dial down the tinniness to something approaching subtlety: it also had a genuinely lovely tune.
10. On a Night Like This (2000)
On a Night Like This betrays its origins as a track intended for a Swedish Euro-dance singer called Pandora in its frantic beat, acid house-infused synth line and subtle nods to ATB’s trance smash 9pm (Til I Come), but it is really all about its chorus, which is completely indelible.
9. Dancing (2018)
Recorded in Nashville, the Golden album was a bit of a mess, its sound lunging at everything from Radio 2-friendly middle-of-the-road ballads to Latin pop to country, but Dancing is the exception: a gleaming country/pop-house hybrid, complete with a hook that bizarrely recalls Ocean Colour Scene’s The Day We Caught the Train.
8. Love at First Sight (2002)
The pop flipside of its predecessor Can’t Get You Out of My Head’s strangeness, Love at First Sight’s backing track offers a pretty brazen reworking of Daft Punk’s Digital Love, released less than a year before, but the song itself is fantastic: a masterpiece of the songwriter-for-hire’s dark art.
7. All the Lovers (2010)
All the Lovers is both anthemic and strangely melancholy: amid the fizzing synths, there is something elegiac about its implausibly catchy chorus. Winningly, she declined to remove the same-sex couples from its video and subsequently retooled the song live as a homage to her LGBTQ+ fans.
6. Slow (2003)
A strikingly minimal concoction of drum machine and analogue synths, Slow’s surprisingly skewed brand of pop is understated by the singer’s usual standards and hypnotically irresistible: entirely electronic, but warm and sensual, and apparently Kylie’s favourite of her own tracks. The Chemical Brothers’ characteristically intense remix is fabulous, too.
5. Shocked (1990)
Most Stock Aitken and Waterman artists who attempted to assert their individuality came to grief, but when Kylie did it, they appeared to rise to the challenge, abandoning their identikit sound, writing better, classier songs and, in the case of Shocked, commissioning a remix by DNA which is very 1990 – breakbeat, house piano, rap – and a delight.
4. Better the Devil You Know (1990)
They may have been cursed with no sense of quality control, but Stock Aitken and Waterman could be masterful pop craftsmen and Better the Devil You Know is the evidence: an effortlessly soaring melody, a perfect updating of disco’s cocktail of jubilant music and lyrical heartbreak.
3. Can’t Get You Out of My Head (2001)
It became so ubiquitous that it is easy to forget what a weird pop single Can’t Get You Out of My Head is: there are no verses, just a chorus and a queasy-sounding bridge; there is a distinct darkness about its coolly delivered lyric about destructive obsession. And the costumes in its video appear like an eery prediction of personal protective equipment.
2. Confide in Me (1994)
The moment when Kylie’s bid to reinvent herself as a more self-consciously sophisticated artist looked like it might work perfectly, Confide in Me is atypical among her greatest singles and an utterly fantastic song: sultry, atmospheric, bolstered by strings playing the melody of Jane’s a capella 1983 indie hit It’s a Fine Day.
1. Spinning Around (2000)
Over the course of her career, Kylie has tried her hand at being Indie Kylie, Moody Kylie, Mature Kylie and indeed Covering Toots and the Maytals on a Children’s TV Show Kylie (see her 2009 version of Monkey Man with the Wiggles). But the fact remains that Kylie was essentially put on this earth to make glitzy, euphoric, balls-out pop bangers, and Spinning Around is the glitziest and most euphoric of the lot. A bold restatement of core values following her 90s dalliances with the left field; a perfect pop-disco nugget, a single only the terminally joyless could fail to enjoy.