Kylie Minogue cool

Loved by students, loved by your nan: How Kylie Minogue remained endlessly cool

Across five decades of pop music, our love for Kylie never goes anywhere


Do you remember who you were when you first realised who Kylie Minogue was? I do. I was about five and watching the Spinning Around video, hyperfixated on the music channels like I was most of my pop obsessed childhood. This was the era where, back to back, a viewer might be blessed with a consecutive treat of Madonna dressed in a white pimp coat schmoozing Ali G in the Music video straight into Kylie Minogue rollerblading about in the now-legendary gold hotpants of the Light Years lead single that heralded a second golden era of an already legendary career. I think with big pop stars like Madonna and Kylie, one always has an affinity with the era they jumped on board with. What I love about this is every person who listens to Kylie has their own story with that. Your mum is a Stock Aitken Waterman girly, and your younger sibling or maybe you yourself only got into Kylie Minogue in 2023 – when Padam Padam unexpectedly but euphorically reached the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart and became Kylie’s highest charting single in a decade. With second single Tension due to debut on the UK Singles Chart’s top 20 come Friday, what better time to think on exactly how Kylie Minogue managed to remain so cool, so beloved, when not many of her contemporaries could manage it.

There’s something about Kylie…

Your mum’s probably bored you shitless with her obsessive love of Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue – which of course came from Kylie’s debut on Neighbours in her native Australia in the 80s. Her star power got her signed, and off she went to become a little cookie cutter pop prin with Stock Aitken and Waterman, who were doing in the 80s for the girlies what Timbaland did for Nelly Furtado in the 00s and what today’s gals cook up when they work with Jack Antonoff. From her early days to her dabbling in indie in the 90s, Kylie Minogue evolved her career quietly in the shadow of headline provocateur Madonna. It’s hard not to compare the two juggernauts when the two have such similar trajectories. I love them both with all my heart. But you’d be hard pressed to find such cross generational love with Madonna than you can with Kylie Minogue. You’d never see Madonna tickling the top of the UK Charts like Kylie’s managing. So how did she do it? How did she become such a national treasure to so many – without even being from this nation at all?

Padam Padam: Song of the summer and a new way of life

I guess firstly and most importantly, the music has consistently been incredible. Kylie is a pop star whose girly, delicate vocals and  impressive stage presence for such a petite woman with a catalogue most aspiring pop girlies would sacrifice to the gods to have. The hits do not stop coming. She’s got a vocal which you know belongs to her within seconds of hearing her open her gob. These are all hallmarks of a legend. But to remain this beloved and translate your legacy across generations is not something done with songs alone.

I guess firstly and most importantly, the music has consistently been incredible. Kylie is a pop star whose girly, delicate vocals and  impressive stage presence for such a petite woman with a catalogue most aspiring pop girlies would sacrifice to the gods to have. The hits do not stop coming. She’s got a vocal which you know belongs to her within seconds of hearing her open her gob. These are all hallmarks of a legend. But to remain this beloved and translate your legacy across generations is not something done with songs alone.

When Kylie performed in the legends slot at Glastonbury in 2019, I think personally her cross generation legacy got secured. There she was, giving a critically acclaimed set at the coolest festival on earth with a crowd filled with 6 Music dads and students off their chops on whatever they’ve managed to get in the gates. In 2020, when Dua Lipa cited Kylie Minogue’s magnum opus Fever era as a huge inspiration on her majorly successful Future Nostalgia era – Kylie kept her finger on the pulse and got Dua to jump on the remix of Real Groove from Kylie’s Disco. Kylie’s 15th studio album, and it got to number one on the UK Charts. Nothing to sniff at.

And here we are in 2020. Despite Disco being a hit, the singles didn’t make much mainstream impact. I don’t think anyone at Team Kylie was probably that bothered about that, least of all Minogue herself. So imagine their surprise then that in our good year of 2023, the lead single from Kylie’s 16th album Tension goes not only huge with the usual gay / pop-obsessed audience – but becomes a bonafide hit. How did she do it?

At the top of her game

By making good pop music. By working with the right people. By being a lovely person. With what looks like two hits on the horizon on her 16th album, an ITV special announced for December of which such honour usually goes to the likes of Adele and with an intimate gig at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire coming up on the 27th September for 700 lucky fans who can apply to be in the ballot for Virgin Media and O2 customers, this national treasure ain’t slowing down.

It’s funny that Kylie Minogue is, undoubtedly, a national treasure in this country despite the fact she’s literally Australian. But there’s no denying she is one. She’s ours – and everyone from your nan to your niece would agree. That’s a legend baby. Break the Tension, Kylie Minogue – congrats on never losing your ability to be cool.

@harrisonjbrock

Kylie Minogue remains cool as she releases her 16th studio album Tension on September 27th. For Virgin Media and O2 priority customers, there are 700 pairs of tickets available via a prize draw, with the show being held exclusively for Virgin Media broadband and O2 customers via Priority. The prize draw opens today (Thursday 1 September) and will close Thursday 14 September. Virgin Media and O2 customers can access the draw for the chance to win tickets via the Priority app or website.

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