Mar 15

KYLIE MINOGUE – “Spinning Around”

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#863, 1st July 2000

kyliespin Most comebacks risk being overshadowed by the past. To find its distinct identity, “Spinning Around” has to battle the future. The second phase of Kylie’s career pivots on one single, and we’re a year out from it, but the gravity of “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” makes this nimble disco-pop track sound more a cautious herald than a triumphant return.

But in its moment, people looked very kindly on “Spinning Around”. The idea of a sophisticated, mildly indie-fied Kylie had proved more enticing than the commercial reality. For all the intrigue, risk and personal involvement of the singer as presented on Impossible Princess, the Kylie held in public affection was a cheerful pop performer, not an act prone to experiment. So Kylie presented “Spinning Around” as a rediscovery of core principles – an up-to-date execution of what Kylie fans had gone for in the first place. If a twelve year old had liked “I Should Be So Lucky”, then here was a song her twenty-four year old self could dance to on a Friday night with no irony or hesitation.

That’s a conservative impulse, but not a retro one – sounding like SAW was never on the cards. It’s also a more businesslike approach than the indie-Kylie years, a conscious affirmation of the brand values of Kylie, Inc. “Spinning Around” is smoothly on-trend, a confident glide around the disco revival’s boutique of sounds. For me, it comes to life when the Zapp-style vocoders arrive, with their ability to turn any rote lyric (”Baby baby baby… you know you like it like this”) into a burble of robot delight.

But this was always my problem with Kylie – her thin, pinched voice, present and unchanged on most of “Spinning Around”. I don’t find this a heinous single by any means, more a dreary, cautious one, whose success feels like a vote of confidence in Kylie Minogue in general, an affirmation that people still wanted a pop world with Kylie in it. That’s an achievement in itself, given that the music she arrived with – SAW’s aggressively brash pop – had taken such a mauling from fashion. But Kylie’s gift as a pop star – the point of her, even – was always how unusually likeable and straightforward she was. That had its downsides, as the cool and rather sniffy reception for Impossible Princess showed. But it also made her easy to forgive. “Spinning Around” was an ordinary single, but it did that job at least.



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  1. 91
    DanusJonus on 11 Apr 2015 #

    Re90: I think the overarching motto of the NDRC could have been “*Sniff* Let’s put some strings on it!” I’m sure Embrace went on Jools with an almost full orchestra. As a brief aside, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone top Spiritualized when ‘Ladies and Gentlemen…’ came out for the number of musicians on a Jools appearance. I found their wall of sound far more convincing.

    Though as you quite rightly say, musical chops count for nothing. But when you make grandiose claims about your music I think you’re naturally going to draw more investigation and interest in deconstructing it. However long the inventiveness of what was categorised as Britpop lasted, by 98/99/2000 any originality had gone. I think that’s why when The Strokes arrived the music press were ready to declare it year zero, much like 1976. Though it’s stretching the cyclical argument to take it much further than that. (NRDC as 70’s prog!? Without the musical knowledge though of course).

    I too quite liked Moseley Shoals as a 14/15 year old. In-fact, hailing from Blackpool at the time, they seemed to play Blackpool every seven months or so. The crowd used to chant ‘We are the Mods’ when waiting for them to come on. I always assumed OCS saw Blackpool as some northern style equivalent of Brighton; either that or they got very very lost.

    I should also probably mention that Embrace played in Blackpool around this time and did a cover of De La Soul’s ‘3 is the Magic Number’. It was a painful experience to behold!

    Re89: If you can find it I’d be interested, particularly in light of your description in The Verve thread about the background to being asked to write it.

  2. 92
    swanstep on 11 Apr 2015 #

    @DanusJonus. Your light comparison of NRDC with Prog reminded me of this sentence from Carl Wilson’s recent jeremiad against the term ‘Indie’:

    ‘But I still find [Indie-paragon from The Decemberists] Meloy’s unrelenting streams of conceits wearying, like a prog concept album from 1975 without even the gonzo musicianship to liven up the occasion.’

    Go here for the full article.

  3. 93
    Phil on 11 Apr 2015 #

    Confused now – I thought the Decemberists were prog.

    (OK, I’m joking, but not entirely.)

  4. 94
    Mark M on 12 Apr 2015 #

    Re91: Let me know if it’s readable off this (I think it should be).

  5. 95
    DanusJonus on 12 Apr 2015 #

    Thanks Mark, it was indeed readable and enjoyable. Completely worth it for the line “But if ‘Pet Sounds’ had never been brought out I’d be a lot cockier than I am.”

    A case of ‘Give ’em enough rope…..’?

  6. 96
    Alan on 17 Apr 2015 #

    OfficialCharts do a social engagement thing called “Pop Gem”, and for their 100th this week they did “Vote the best of the last 99” (actually they chose just 20 of them to vote on). Your Disco won 23% of the vote.


  7. 97
    ciaran on 11 May 2015 #

    At the time of SA the BBC were at the height of their repeats of Only Fools and Horses phase at the turn of the early 00s. The Jolly Boys outing episode of late 1989 was screened around that moment which featured Del Boy flogging Kylie Minogue LP’s in the market so unfairly it seemed that KM was naff by association (Bros and Showaddywaddy also had the misfortune of being in Trotters stall)

    So the sudden transformation from has-been relic to of the moment on the money sex goddess in no time at all was astounding. By 2000 Kylie would never have been someone that people my age were all that keen on or even familiar with so we had no foot in the camp for her to succeed.

    For an artist best remembered for Ramsay Street and the subsequent prom queen musical image of the 80s it was like that girl you knew in school who had emigrated a decade ago only to come back in time for Christmas/New Year and who has got spectacularly better with age only with no clue if she’ll stay around for good this time.And if you play your cards right you might have a chance after a mojita or two! Not quite the Plain Jane Superbrain Harris character’s makeover in Neighbours that she perfected with Better The Devil You know but as close as you’ll get.

    Does SA get it right? I reckon it does. For an artist whose perhaps banking on a nostalgic goodwill ticket there is something completely modern and current about it. Not for a second out of place with the current trends.Perhaps its erm.. Movin Too Fast for Kylie to catch up with but it doesn’t outstay its welcome and has one of Kylie’s best choruses to boot.That’s before you get to the video but if you’ve got it flaunt it.7

    It was with Kids and the majestic ‘On A Night Like This’ that hinted that Kylie 3.0 was off and running. For all that it’s those 3 singles of 2000 that Kylie is at her best and the decade long success story that followed doesn’t really click with me. The Kylie of 2000 seems effortless whereas what followed is a bit trying too hard with the odd exception maybe!

  8. 98
    Mostro on 12 May 2015 #

    “Spinning Around” is clearly a professionally put-together piece of millennium-era neo disco by people who know their musical history, yet for all that it never did much for me- there’s something overly generic, formulaic and downright *functional* about it.

    I think Tom put his finger on this one when he described it as an ordinary single that did the job it had to.

    Ultimately, isn’t “Spinning Around” remembered as much for its “Kylie’s bum” video as for the song itself?

    Kylie did better disco songs before and since this one.

  9. 99
    oro cartier anelli on 9 Jul 2015 #

    La nostra canna di cartier anelli donna acciaio bambù in mano, collana cartier anelli oro giallo donna Christian Cartier regola cartier anelli donna acciaio lment sulle perle di papavero, corrispondenti ire l’abito Za ‘sul inverno 1954 attraverso la porta Vittoria. Sotto subsitut posteriori, la casa originale della regolazione dello Stato assist cartier anelli uomo oro giallo e gnrale ripet

  10. 100
    Gareth Parker on 31 May 2021 #

    I rather like this, certainly stands out from some of the poor to mediocre #1s of the late 90s/early 00s period. For that reason an 8/10.

  11. 101
    Huw Thomas on 14 Sep 2021 #

    I can date some of my haziest, earliest memories to 2000. “Spinning Around” is the sound of the Knighton swimming pool in my county of Powys – I remember hearing it in the waiting area likely whilst syphoning Ribena from a carton. It is pop as I first found it and it is tied in my mind with the taste of chlorine and the promise of vending machines. It is thus impossible to be objective about this record as those older might be able to be – I don’t hear conservatism, I don’t even hear pastiche. What I can hear is what made it such an appealing song to kids like me. There’s the nursery rhyme frills in the melody (“found a new direction”) and there’s also the small matter of the hook – she really IS spinning around, watch out! Records like this sold pop to me – irresistable and unreachable and brilliant every time. There’s little melancholy here like there is in other formative songs – “One More Time” for example – but it was just as resonant. If there’s an ugly aftertaste to “Spinning Around”, it is that its retro disco-isms came back again and have been the complacent sound of Radio 2 for nigh on a decade. Kylie’s return to that shagged-out territory with the quite-good “Disco” (2020) was a conservatism I could quench for myself. 8/10.

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