Kylie Minogue is back with new album Tension, for which her label BMG will be targeting a fourth consecutive No.1 since they teamed with the pop icon.
Kylie stars on the cover of the latest edition of Music Week as the highly-anticipated new LP arrives for fans around the world (September 22). It follows the release of the album title track, Tension, which made the UK Top 20 and has attracted 2.5 million views on YouTube in a fortnight.
BMG has helped the superstar amass 14.3 million monthly listeners on Spotify. The company is now taking charge of its own streaming business following a long-term partnership with Warner Music’s ADA.
Billed as “a record of pleasure-seeking, empowered dancefloor bangers and sultry pop cuts,” Tension reunites Kylie with long-time collaborators Biff Stannard (Spice Girls, Little Mix) and Duck Blackwell (Louis Tomlinson, Wiz Khalifa) on seven of its 11 songs. Superstar DJ Oliver Heldens guests on penultimate song 10 Out Of 10, while track nine Vegas High was a late inclusion.
Unlike Golden and Disco, there is no definitive theme running through this record.
“It marks where I am at this point in time,” Kylie Minogue told Music Week of the album. “I enjoyed not having a theme, which we started with but it wasn’t really working, so it felt quite liberating. So much of the previous album Disco was done in lockdown. I didn’t get to tour it. And so with this album, I was just so eager to get out of the gates.”
Kylie’s first big headline show for this campaign took place at Radio 2 In The Park in Leicester this month.
Though Kylie prefers to keep her private life just that, she has disclosed that making Tension helped her “navigate challenging times and celebrate the now”.
“Personal matters – some people know of, some they don’t,” is how she puts it to Music Week. “I was happy to get some of these emotions out of myself,” she added. “The studio can be like therapy. So yes, some challenging moments, which almost everyone has. But to be able to express some of those things – particularly with a song like Story or Hold On To Now where, in some parts, I’m not even exactly sure what I’m saying – that’s why we write songs. It’s hard to express this stuff in normal dialogue.
“So, anyway, some challenging stuff and other moments where we were out of Covid times, which is where I lived my last album, and just going, ‘Yeah, I’ll give it a try.’ I’ll try everything actually. That’s what’s good with trusted people in the studio – you can just try it and see if it works.”
Tension sees the continuation of Kylie’s impressive stint as an independent artist via her partnership with BMG, resulting in that hat-trick of No.1 records in the form of 2018’s country pop-powered Golden (167,701 sales, OCC) and 2020’s Disco (179,658 sales), as well as 2019 compilation Step Back In Time – The Definitive Collection (227,709 sales).
Tension has already yielded Kylie’s biggest hit in nearly a decade in Padam Padam (293,388 sales), which received its live debut on American Idol in May.
The Lostboy/Ina Wroldsen co-write peaked at No.8 on the UK chart and went Top 40 in the US – unheard of for an artist in their 50s on their 16th LP. A canny sales campaign by BMG included cassette and CD editions, alongside the release of an extended version – sealing Kylie’s first Top 10 solo entry since 2010’s All The Lovers.
The ubiquitous dancefloor-filler has even earned the evergreen star her first viral smash, inspiring countless TikTok creations, memes and videos. Kylie has built up almost 350,000 followers and 3.1m likes on TikTok.
“It’s wild that I can say that this is a first for me to have a viral moment,” said Kylie. “The song’s catchy, hypnotic, modern, a bit kooky and a really good fit for me. Then the video managed to amplify all of that with its otherworldliness and overload of Padam red.
“I had hoped at some point to connect more on TikTok but I didn’t know now would be the time! I’ve been so touched and amazed at people’s ingenuity, passion and humour. We all had high hopes for the song, but I don’t think any of us expected it to take off the way it did as a viral hit. So I’m going along with the ride and we’ve had to pivot as well – because it was unexpected.”
It has also been adopted as a Pride anthem, reinforcing Kylie’s longstanding bond with the LGBTQ+ community.
“I just continue to do what I’ve always done, which is be supportive and open – be open-minded, open-hearted – and that’s the way I intend to stay,” she said. “It’s always been very simple for me. It’s highly complex for a lot of members of the community of course, but I try to just be available and in return the community has done so much for me. It’s a very organic and wonderful relationship.”
Subscribers can read the full interview with Kylie Minogue and her team at BMG, CAA and A&P Artist Management.