|Studio album by Kylie Minogue|
|Released||25 October 2000|
|Kylie Minogue chronology|
|Singles from Light Years|
19 June 2000
11 September 2000
9 October 2000
11 December 2000
22 January 2001
Light Years is the seventh studio album by Australian singer-songwriter Kylie Minogue. It was released on 25 September 2000, and marked a "return to mainstream pop dance tunes". It was her first album under Parlophone, and received favourable reviews from music critics, with some appreciating her fresh new pop roots and dance music. It debuted at two on the Australian Albums Charts, and two weeks later went to number one, becoming her first number-one album in her native Australia, and would later be certified four times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).
Background and release
In 1998, Minogue's contract with Deconstruction had ended, due in part to the relatively unsuccessful commercial turnout of the album Impossible Princess. The last single from that album "Cowboy Style" was released only in Australia by Mushroom Records to coincide with the Intimate and Live Tour. By 1999, Kylie Minogue had signed herself to the label Parlophone. She began recording songs for her seventh album Light Years, most notably the lead single "Spinning Around", which became a number one hit and was considered her 'comeback' single.
The album was released on 22 September 2000 in Australia and New Zealand and on 25 September 2000 in the UK and Europe after the single "Spinning Around". It includes a hidden track, "Password", which is included in the pregap portion of the CD at the beginning of track one. Subsequent German, Spanish and Japanese versions of the album contain the original French bridge of "Your Disco Needs You" translated into their respective languages along with "Password" as an orthodox hidden track.
Minogue promoted the album with the hugely successful "On a Night Like This Tour" which visited Europe and Australia. Due to the success of the album and the tour, a special tour edition package was released. It contained the original album along with a second disc featuring various remixes. The special edition album was released on 5 March 2001. For the Australian tour edition, additional remixes were included as well as Minogue's remake of Olivia Newton-John's "Physical", following popular performances of the song on the tour.
The album combined a fresh dance-pop sound, starting with the opening track and lead single "Spinning Around", composed around a disco foundation. It was co-written by American singer Paula Abdul, who planned on it being her own comeback single. However, Abdul's album never came to fruition so Parlophone attained the song and gave it to Minogue. The lyrics bore a resemblance to Minogue's own career, quite coincidentally considering she had not written the song, nor was it written specifically for her. "On a Night Like This" was noted for its house and Europop sound. Released as the second single, Minogue also performed the song at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
"So Now Goodbye" was written by Minogue and Steve Anderson. It contained a mixture of disco and house music styles. "Disco Down" showcased a modern disco sound, while also embodying synthpop and electronic styles, as did the title track "Light Years". Both songs were considered highlights of the album and were praised as being futuristic. "Koocachoo" marked a change in the album with its psychedelic pop layout, similar to the tracks "I'm So High" and b-side song, "Cover Me With Kisses".
"Loveboat" and "Your Disco Needs You" were written by Minogue in collaboration with Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers. Both songs were composed as a homage to disco music, with the latter single being regarded as a gay anthem. Williams and Chambers also wrote the pop/rock track "Kids" initially as a solo single for Minogue, however Robbie Williams became quite fond of the song that he instead altered it to be a duet. "Kids" was released in October, 2000 as the second single from Williams' album Sing When You're Winning and as the third single from Minogue's Light Years.
While the majority of the album's songs were original recordings, Minogue did cover the Barry White disco song "Under the Influence of Love". Other tracks ranged in sound from the fourth single release "Please Stay", which differed from the rest of the album as it contained a Latin music style, to "Bittersweet Goodbye" which was notable for being the only ballad on the album. "Butterfly" was also acknowledged as a standout of the album, due to its strong electronic music influences. In the US, the song was remixed and issued to clubs around the country, thus allowing it to peak on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart at number fourteen.
Title and artwork
The title of the album derives from the song "Light Years". Vincent Peters, out of other designers and photographers, was selected to photograph Minogue for the album cover. The shoot took place outside a villa at the far north of Ibiza Island. It was reported that Peters was selected because he wore tight T-shirts and jeans halfway down his Calvin's and his most extraordinary photographs. His images were told as an "instant iconic piece of art". The cover features a glamorous backdrop of the sky and the sea, with the glimpse of a golden sunset filtering through like a supernatural halo. Kylie then gazed towards some 'heaven'. While in an interview, Peters had stated;
The great thing about Kylie is that she differs from other celebrities. There is a separation between how celebrities perceive themselves and what the public wants to see. Most are concerned with reproducing a certain logo or caricature of themselves. They want to cling on to an image developed years ago which makes things difficult because there is no room to take a picture, you aren't really forced to improvise which is when the best things happen. Every photographer has their own very personal vision of her, and she lets them have it. That is the big difference with Kylie, that she walks in and says 'This is me, what are you going to do with it.'
In her Kylie / Fashion book, illustrating her fashion from 1987 as a 25-year recognition, said that the photoshoot was about sending the message across. She stated "The shoot was incredible. It was my first album with Parlophone and we were very sure of the message we wanted to get across: sunshine, beach, fun, glamour. I've always loved Ibiza and it's true that the island has a magical quality. The lightness of the chiffon matched my mood and desire." Baker, who helped through the album process, said that the images have a "mystical quality to them." He then said "With 'Light Years', we wanted a cover that was a visual statement about Kylie reclaiming the throne of the Princess of Pop. Ibiza was perfect [...] And so, surrounded by the infinity of blue sky and ocean, Kylie returned to her rightful place!"
Light Years received critical acclaim from music critics. Chris True of Allmusic commented the album is "not just another Minogue dance-pop record, but a great collection of disco stylings and Europop kitsch." He concluded, "Arguably one of the best disco records since the '70s, Light Years is Minogue comfortable with who she is and what she's good at." In a 2011 retrospective review for Digital Spy, Nick Levine described its sound as "camptastic", while praising the album itself as "a shiny, sparkly early noughties disco record complete with a Village People pastiche ('Your Disco Needs You'), a Donna Summer homage ('Light Years') and even a Barry White cover ('Under The Influence Of Love'). Along the way there's plenty of catchy dance-pop ('Spinning Around', 'On A Night Like This', 'Butterfly'), a couple of groovy '60s tunes ('Koocachoo', 'I'm So High') and just the one ballad, but it's a lovely one ('Bittersweet Goodbye')."
The NME noted that the album sees Minogue "dropping her considerable concern for cool and bouncing back to her disco-pop roots", adding that "Light Years" is all you need to know about Kylie in less than an hour: fun, perfectly-formed, not too taxing and occasionally annoying." Yahoo! Music's Gary Crossing referred to the album as "a polished, well-produced yet largely undemanding collection of disco, Hi-NRG, Ibizan trance, funk, 60s film and TV themes and Latin-flavoured tunes which like the Minogue minx's attire leaves very little to the imagination." He also opined that "you just get the feeling that if those concerned put as much effort into the songwriting as they did into the glossy album sleeve photo shoot things might have been a whole lot better." Andrew Lynch of entertainment.ie viewed the album as "inconsequential stuff and as with all Kylie's albums the quality is disappointingly uneven. But the best tracks have an engagingly bouncy quality and taken as a whole this is a much better record than most critics would like to admit." Select praised the album, stating that "apart from the foul LLoyd-Webber-esque ballad 'Bittersweet Goodbye', it's an unrelenting hoot" and that "it's all contrived to within an inch of its life, heaving with potential singles and brazenly derivative. That is her job and she does it well." Like their seventh album, this one also features CDVU+ technology that includes more than 30 pages of bonus features with an exclusive video performance, 60 printable photos, complete album lyrics, downloadable graphics, and hidden links. In addition, the packaging of the album is made from 100% recycled materials.
In Australia, Light Years debuted at number two on the ARIA Albums Chart on 2 October 2000. Three weeks later, the album rose to number one, becoming Minogue's first number-one album in her home country. It spent forty-one weeks in the top fifty, and subsequently received a quadruple platinum accreditation from the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for sales in excess of 280,000 copies. In New Zealand, the album debuted and peaked at number eight on the RIANZ Albums Chart, where it stayed for five weeks altogether. It debuted and peaked at number two on the UK Albums Chart for the issue dated 1 October 2000, remaining in the top seventy-five for thirty-one non-consecutive weeks. On 9 February 2001, it was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), denoting shipments in excess of 300,000 units. The album charted moderately elsewhere, reaching number sixteen in Hungary, number twenty-four in Finland, number twenty-six in Sweden, number twenty-eight in Switzerland and number thirty-five in Germany.
"Spinning Around" was released in June 2000 as the album's lead single. It marked Minogue's return to mainstream pop music, debuting at number one in Australia and the UK. The video saw Minogue dancing in a packed nightclub and started the tabloids' obsession with her.
"On a Night Like This" was then released in September 2000 as the second single and debuted at number one on the Australian and at number two in the UK. The single's release coincided with Minogue's performance at the 2000 Summer Olympics where she performed the song. The following week, having already dropped from the top spot, the song returned to number one in Australia.
In October 2000, "Kids", the duet with Robbie Williams, was released as the third single and the second from his fourth studio album, Sing When You're Winning. The song, written by Williams and Guy Chambers, reached number two in the UK and number fourteen in Australia. A different version of the song with a spoken fadeout rap by Williams appeared on his album.
"Please Stay" was released as the fourth single from Light Years in December 2000 reaching number ten in the UK and number fifteen in Australia. The single's B-side "Santa Baby" was released to UK radio as a promo single during the Christmas period. Minogue performed "Please Stay" on the British music show Top of the Pops.
"Your Disco Needs You", written by Minogue, Williams and Chambers was released by EMI Germany as a single in January 2001, charting at number thirty-one. The song was also released in Australia as a limited edition single release with only 10,000 copies pressed. This enabled it to chart at number twenty, before dropping to number forty-five and eventually falling out of the chart completely. "Butterfly" was issued as a club-only track in the US where it was a hit on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. The song also appeared as a bonus track on the US edition of Minogue's subsequent studio album Fever.
|0.||"Password" (Hidden track)||Douglas||3:50|
|1.||"Spinning Around"||Mike Spencer||3:27|
|2.||"On a Night Like This"||
|3.||"So Now Goodbye"||Johnny Douglas||3:37|
|7.||"Your Disco Needs You"||
|11.||"Under the Influence of Love"||
|12.||"I'm So High"||
|13.||"Kids" (Duet with Robbie Williams)||