Kylie Minogue

Body Language (Capitol)

America is behind the rest of the world in its appreciation of Kylie Minogue, but the tide seems to be turning. Her recent Grammy for Best Dance Recording confirms that Body Language has what it takes to get American music-industry booties moving (she snagged the award the day before the record hit stores), and it shouldn't be long before the disc is rattling convertible Cabriolets and the girls driving them. In our image-driven culture, Minogue's off-the-charts natural beauty probably won't hurt sales either.

The lighter tunes on the disc will probably do more for Minogue's most recent attack on the American pop market than the serious, sexy numbers. With its simple, Prince-like styling and giggly bop, "Still Standing" shines brighter than every other cut (a lot can be said for a song that inspires a man in his thirties to jump on the bed like a schoolgirl at a slumber party). Why it's not the first single is a bizarre mystery, and why Capitol chose "Slow" to hype the disc is more perplexing still. Nothing happens in the song or in the video (included on the enhanced CD), and the tune's heaviness is all the more obvious when Minogue's Aussie accent causes some slight trouble with the opening lines. Thankfully, though, the Melbourne native's voice flows like eucalyptus honey throughout the remainder of the album, displaying the sort of vocal ease and control about which Britney Spears can only dream.

There's tight music behind the voice, too. The insistent beat of "I Feel for You" is launched through the roof by a ticklish bass line that Bootsy Collins could've written, calling to mind irresistible gems of yore such as "Double Dutch Bus" and "Car Wash." This song will have beds breaking under the weight of jumping girls and men. Later, the thick, buttery groove of "Chocolate" gives way to a sparkly, cascading hook, and some will wonder whether Minogue is singing about the confection or a longed-for lover. It's this unanswered question that'll surely cause lost hours of sleep for some and a slow-burning fever for an unattainable lover in others.

Even though her career as a singer and actress has long been well supported by fans in many countries, it would be nice to see and hear more of Kylie Minogue stateside. Body Language should help steer things toward that end. You go, girl.

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