|Better Than Today|
|Single by Kylie Minogue|
|From the album Aphrodite|
|Released||3 December 2010|
|Kylie Minogue singles chronology|
|Aphrodite track listing|
| "Better Than Today"|
| "Too Much"|
"Better Than Today" is a song by Kylie Minogue taken from her eleventh studio album Aphrodite (2010). The song was originally written and produced by Nerina Pallot and Andy Chatterley for Pallot's 2009 extended play, Buckminster Fuller EP. It was re-recorded by Kylie in 2009, and received additional production by Stuart Price.
"Better Than Today" was released as the third single from the album on 3 December 2010. It was not as successful as Kylie's preceding releases. After debuting on the chart early with album downloads, it peaked on the UK Singles Chart at number 32, making it her lowest placing since "The One" in 2008. The single was released in Australia on 28 February 2011. It debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at number 55, making it her third single to miss the top-fifty, after "Finer Feelings" in 1992 (number 60) and "Get Outta My Way" in 2010 (number 69). Despite under-performing in the United Kingdom and Australia, it became Kylie's sixth number-one on the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart and her third consecutive number-one single from the album Aphrodite on that chart.
"Better Than Today" was written and produced by married couple Nerina Pallot and Andy Chatterley. The song was originally included on Pallot's project Buckminster Fuller EP in February 2009. After hearing Pallot's work, Kylie's A&R contacted her manager. Pallot stated when Kylie called her later, she "really didn't believe it was her", continuing, "when [Kylie] came to the studio in a nasty part of London I thought: 'OK, she really does want to do this'". Pallot and Chatterley were the first two writers and producers to work with Kylie when recording sessions for Aphrodite began in April 2009. "Better Than Today" was one of the prominent results of the collaboration. Pallot commented on working with Kylie, calling her "accommodating and lovely and approachable and normal [sic]". Subsequent sessions Kylie had with the duo were not as successful. After Parlophone president Miles Leonard made Stuart Price the executive producer over the album in December 2009, Price and Jake Shears (a friend and former collaboration partner of Price and Minogue) began to re-produce the album. After being retooled by Price, "Better Than Today" was left as one of only two remaining collaborations Kylie had with Pallot and Chatterly, along with the album's title track.
Composition "Better than Today" is a pop song with many additional styles, including rock, funk, soul and country. It also incorporates the use of the electric and acoustic guitar, synthesizers and drum programming by both Pallot and Chatterley. According to the sheet music published by Hal Leonard Corporation, it is set in common time with a tempo of 110 beats per minute. Minogue's version is composed in the key of F major with her vocal range spanning from the low-note of A4 to the high-note of F6. The chord progression F-E♭-Dm-Dm-E♭-F follows throughout her edition while the middle eight remains in F (Pallot's version did not contain a middle eight).
Many comparisons have been made on the song's style. Popjustice compared "Better than Today" to the style used in Minogue's 1990 album Rhythm of Love. Hannah Kim of the Korea JoongAng Daily stated the track adds on to a "classic 70s disco sound". When reviewing the album, Ian Wade of BBC Music called the song a "tech-country strut". Fraser McAlpine of BBC said that without research, it "bears the musical fingerprint" of Shears. "It's got that 'Laura' bounce ... And the bit where Kylie goes way up high? Well you've heard the verses to 'I Don't Feel Like Dancin'' right? Sonically similar..." Christel Loar of PopMatters and Nick Levine of Digital Spy praised the lyric in the song, "What's the point in living if you don't wanna dance?" Levine specifically applauded Pallot and Chatterly for "coming up with probably the Kyliest Kylie lyric ever".
The song has received positive and mixed reception from critics. Reviews in context of the album were usually positive. In a review of Aphrodite, Mikael Wood of Entertainment Weekly called "Better Than Today" a standout track on the album. Wade of BBC Music also gave a favorable review, saying the track "throws up imagery of line-dancing cyborgs". Loar of PopMatters labeled it a "sugary bounce". However in contrast to the positive album reviews, Nick Ward of The Nelson Mail was not impressed. He said that there is no "oomph" that "would have made ['Better Than Today'] complete".
When "Better Than Today" became a single, reviews for the song itself were mixed. McAlpine of BBC said "the relentless swaggering momentum" of the track "gets a little wearing". He continued, "At some point, something ELSE needs to happen, y'see [sic]. No matter how many times Kylie's voice swoops up high and skips back down again, no matter how firmly she pushes herself into those demanding choruses; it begins like Tigger and ends like a route march around an aerobics class." He gave the single three out of five stars. Popjustice, while stating the song is "rather enjoyable", added that it is a "no-harm-intended album track" instead of "the big balls-out I'm-bloody-Kylie comeback single". They remarked at a later date, saying that they were "slightly alarmed" when the song became a single. Nima Baniamer of Contact Music described the song as "a fun electro number", but it "sadly doesn't seem to pack a punch enough to stand firm as a lead-out track". Originally in an album review, Levine of Digital Spy called the tune "as uplifting a dance-pop ditty as we're likely to hear all year". In a single review, Levine re-evaluated the song, stating that it is not "the freshest confection you'll sample this party season" but he continued, calling it "sweet, seductive and pretty much impossible not to succumb to over and over again". He gave the single four out of five stars.
Background and synopsis
Kylie premiered the video for "Better Than Today" at her official website on 19 November 2010. The video was directed by Kylie herself with help from her tour staff, including her long-time stylist and friend William Baker. The video resembles performances of the song done during her 2009 For You, For Me Tour, featuring the same dances by choreographer Tony Testa.
The video begins with Kylie dancing on a stage surrounded by laser beams. As the first verse starts, she is surrounded by female dancers wearing pink wigs as shoulder pads and a band wearing Pac-Man helmets. She is wearing a blue bodysuit with fringed material on top and silver, spiked Louboutin stilettos similar to the golden ones featured in the video for "Get Outta My Way". Screens in the background show several colourful projections inspired by Space Invaders and other arcade games. When the chorus starts, Kylie sits on two Marshall amps while animated flowers, 3D bears and bold letters echoing lyrics move through the screens. During the bridge, Kylie is surrounded once again with laser beams, some projected from her microphone stand. The screens display colourful lips inspired by the musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show. After the final chorus cuts through all scenes the video ends with Kylie surrounded by the laser beams again, lowering her beamed microphone stand.
Feedback to the music video was mostly positive. Pink is the New Blog applauded the video, labelling it a "very colorful, 80s video game inspired video". Gary Pini of Paper described the set of the music video as being "designed by Murakami and Pac Man" with "a cool microphone stand the shoots out laser beams". Bradley Stern of MuuMuse described it as a mixture of the music videos for "2 Hearts" and "The One". He continued, "...the video for "Better Than Today" kicks Kylie's X Factor performance up ten notches with laser lights, bright neon animations, extra furry pink shoulders–and of course, killer spiked heels." HardCandy was reminded of the music video for "Can't Get You Out of My Head". "I love that she's brought back her 'Can't Get You Out of My Head' robots with an updated Tron feel to them." They added that the video was "nothing special or ground breaking".
Kylie premiered "Better Than Today" by adding it to the set list of her 2009 For You, For Me Tour. Prior to performing the song on the first tour date in Oakland, she said, "I know it's taken me a little long to get [to the United States], so I thought I'd give you guys a first..." Rolling Stone commented on Kylie's background singers during the song, saying they had "the evening's most striking fashion innovation": neon pink wigs worn as shoulder pads. After the tour stop in Chicago, John Dugan of Time Out said that the performance was his "favorite song of the night".
To promote the single, Kylie took on a number of television performances. Most of these performances resembled ones from the tour and the music video as well. On 7 November 2010, she sang the song live on The X Factor's results show. She wore a red, fringed cocktail dress with small cut-outs in the waist and the silver heels featured in the music video. She received a standing ovation from all four judges; Dannii Minogue, who is a judge on the show and Kylie's sister, gave her praise. She called the performance a "ten out of ten". Kylie reprised this performance for BBC One's Children in Need 2010 television special on 19 November 2010. She donned a bodysuit similar to the one featured in the video, but in white. Kylie opened Capital FM's Jingle Bell Ball on 6 December 2010, adding "Better Than Today" to her set list. She wore a sheer, white floor-length gown with the same silver heels. She then went on to perform the song at the annual Royal Variety Performance on 10 December 2010. Kylie and Gary Barlow got the chance to greet Prince Charles and Camilla at the London Palladium, where the event was held. At the end of 2010, she performed a big band version of the song at Jools Holland's annual Hootenanny.