Sep 10

KYLIE MINOGUE – “Hand On Your Heart”

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#627, 13th May 1989

“Hand On Your Heart” lands in similar emotional territory to “Too Many Broken Hearts” – this is it, do you love me or not? But while musically it’s just as cheap the Kylie track has ten times the Jason song’s presence. “Too Many Broken Hearts” verges on the triumphant, with “Hand On Your Heart” you know someone’s cornered but the lyrics and the delivery keep switching sides as to who: this is an ultimatum, but it’s also a final move. “Look me in the eye”, “put your hand on your heart” – from the emotional grammar of soap we know very well that winners in love don’t have to say these kinds of things, they’re the kind of demands you make as a way of hastening the inevitable, for all Kylie’s obvious desperation to avoid it.

So for once Stock Aitken And Waterman have hit on a mood that perfectly matches the clattery rush of the music. This isn’t as well-produced as “Especially For You” or as well-sung as “Never Gonna Give You Up” or as definitive as “Respectable” but it’s the SAW song I feel the most. There’s an urgency here that gets at something about teenage angst – the constant momentousness of it, maybe – that better-crafted pop can describe but rarely capture. It’s in the way Kylie is forced to gabble her lines and given a chorus that’s a chain of finger-pointing emphases.

Which works terrifically: nothing else in a SAW hit captures a moment so well. But “Hand On Your Heart”‘s problem is that its so effective in its chorus that the verses have almost nothing to do. It’s telling that on the Jose Gonzales cover version – which cleverly transposes the song into the only style more predictable than SAW-style Europop – he gets more mileage out of the slushy boilerplate in the verses than on his morose reading of the chorus. Kylie, meanwhile, just sounds like she’s marking time – and the rote inclusion of that male-voiced dance breakdown wastes more goodwill. In the end this laziness stops “Hand On Your Heart” being a great pop single, but there’s more life here than either singer or producers often managed.



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  1. 51
    wichita lineman on 16 Sep 2010 #

    Re 49: Reprint presumably to tie in with the Creation documentary about to screen at the LFF. Executive Producer: Alan McGee. According to someone who’s seen it, expect self-serving anecdotes and chronic history re-writing. And it’s all cut as if we have ADD.

    If you haven’t read the Cavanagh book it’s very good, and straight enough that McGee got Paolo Hewitt to rush-write a rival history.

  2. 52
    Tom on 16 Sep 2010 #

    I’d like a run of Selects too! I would also very much like a run of DELUXE, the “men’s magazine” launched by the same team which lasted half a dozen issues and was very easily the best men’s mag I have ever read. In today’s ZOO/NUTS environment it seems to represent some fantastic outer space miracle of publishing that probably never actually happened. So perhaps I ought never to actually see it again.

  3. 53
    Tom on 16 Sep 2010 #

    I can’t stand “Where The Wild Roses Grow”. “Some Kind Of Bliss” is a bit more interesting because it’s kind of fascinating to hear what the MSPs do with the brief to write a pop song. But it’s no “Little Baby Nothing”. (“THANK GOD” cry half the readers)

  4. 54
    Mark M on 17 Sep 2010 #

    Re 52: So you were the Deluxe reader! You clearly got the idea better than I did, and I wrote a few features for it (the commissioning briefs did my head in). It’s my professional opinion that there is no market for men’s magazines aimed at reasonable human beings.

  5. 55
    Mark M on 17 Sep 2010 #

    Re 51: the Paolo Hewitt Creation spoiler book is hilarious (15% deliberately, I’d guess).

  6. 56
    Dominic on 17 Sep 2010 #


    At present I’m inclined to agree, but I must ask, just why is that? It’s not the case in, for example, France. What has gone wrong with British culture to make it so?

  7. 57
    Steve Mannion on 17 Sep 2010 #

    I’d argue that having to segregate mags for gender in such a way at all is a bigger cultural failing. If I want a magazine about lifestyle and culture I don’t want it to be mostly written by, covering and focussed on just the one gender.

  8. 58
    Mark M on 17 Sep 2010 #

    Re 56: I’m not quite sure why the British ones are so objectionable – in the US, Esquire had a tradition of great writing back in the day (I have no idea what’s it like now), and plenty of other men’s mags have been pretty good for a while – Details, Gear, etc.

    Re 57: In theory, you’d think so… In practice, what market there is for a non-gendered lifestyle magazine seems satisfied with the weekend newspaper supplements.

  9. 59
    Billy Smart on 24 Sep 2010 #

    David Cavanagh is still at work as a music journalist! Terrific Sweet piece in today’s paper – http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/sep/23/sweet-strange-history

  10. 60
    Auntie Beryl on 20 Jan 2013 #

    The chorus melody to this was such a blatant steal from Waiting For A Star To Fall by Boy Meets Girl that I rejected the entire thing, and I wasn’t alone in that opinion among the fifth form. 5.

    Redemption for Kylie would come later with Step Back In Time, which as noted above didn’t trouble the number one spot.

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