Thursday, January 05, 2006

1001 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time - #1 - All I Wanna Do by Dannii Minogue

Alyson: Dignity. It's a priceless commodity, and face it, Dannii Minogue has lived a career of dignity, class and style. Oh sure, you may mock, but it would have been easy for DM to live off the KM name, to sell endless stories to the tabloids about her hatred for KM until she wound up as bitter and lost as Kirk Douglas's son or Fran Healy's Dad - but DM was a star before KM, has had her own clothing range, chocked up a desperately under-rated 15 year career in music full of hidden or under-played gems, eschewed the mundane B list path she could have taken, and stands before you, eager to please, but not at any cost. In an era where fame comes before talent, there's something admirable about that. We kinda sorta kinda know DM and KM don't get on, but is DM spilling? Hell no - she COULD, but she doesn't. She's a proper pop star in her own right as a result, make no mistake, even if her own nation criminally ignores her.

Perhaps it's this dignity that makes Claire and I love her more than "Min". All I Wanna Do, to me, isn't just the best DM song, it's the best Minogue song. It's open on the surface, a seemingly overt plea for a shag - but watch the video, and it seems like Dannii is turning back 20 years of bad chat up lines back on men who are too scared to chat her up. Mind, the lines about all that Dannii wants to do suggest a yearning for settling down herself. For all that, the songs true greatness comes just after the 2:30 mark, when it explodes into a funky, electric guitar solo that would underpin a lesser mortals guitar. The first hearing of this guitar riff, especially if late at night driving a car, is one of the most exciting discoveries in Aussie Pop history - it's greatness is up there with Melissa's "I never...I never thought I'd lose control...OOOH" as our finest national moments in Pop.

So as the song writhes with the angst of Danni's sexual frustation, it goes to emotional places her sis simply hasn't gone. If a significant Dannii revision ever takes place, the Girl album would be a good place to start. In fact, Love And Kisses the best place to start, significant proof of a musical talent in need of it's own recognition.

Dannii, for once, we thought you should be #1...


Claire: Like Alyson, I do also prefer Dannii to Kylie, not least of all because Emma Jackson could kick Charlene's arse all over the school playground - but for once, let's split DM from KM, and assess her in her own right. Re-assessing the DM canon, there's so many great Pop moments, but I wouldn't say it's the greatest DM song. I will say that to me it's part song, part performance art piece, sly about it's true intentions. I also believe Dannii is far more warm and emotional vocally than KM - All I Wanna Do is the one Minogue song that I believe really pierces. I'd say the true meaning of the video has always been pop stars can be anything you want them to be, whether you imagine they play the guitar or ride a bike or that you can shag them. Not for nothing does the guitar solo plea "Take a Look Inside My Heart" - a plea to those out there chatting her up for no other reason than she's famous or "Kylie's sister" to actually find what she, DANNII, the person, actually wants from a relationship.

All I Wanna Do is of course a sensational song, and it's hard not to warm to song that features a remix called the "Trouser enthuisasts Toys Of Desperation Mix". It's slinky, and charming, and it's thumpingly danceable. It's the kind of song the charts desperately needs now, although knowing Dannii, it'd probably go in at #13...


Edward O: It should not come as a surprise that I rather like Dannii Minogue, and staunchly defend her, except when she's a bit rubbish which she has been lately. But, while clawing away Kylie's seconds and doing pretty well with them despite (or is it because of?) the public perception of her as an even naffer Kylie, Dannii has emotional chops, she really does. I've long thought that her underrated "Get Into You" builds a bridge from Janet Jackson's "Black Cat" to Spice Girls' "Love Thing", and hence quite a lot of the New Pop, and the fact that "All I Wanna Do" contains credits for a certain Mr B. Higgins, it should have come with a warning. Because "All I Wanna Do" is a ripper; it mixes sleazy rock guitars, sensual washes of keyboards that are like opening, exploding flower buds and a barely-hanging-on desperation in Dannii's vocals. At this moment, she stopped being naff. The world ignored her and never gave her great singles the justice they deserved, a case of the media's idea of her being a bit crap actually being a self-fulfilling prophesy rather than the logical conclusion of the work itself which is frequently top-notch (Okay, let's just pretend "Perfection" never happened). Listen to her wail - her pain is as real as the shimmering, shining surfaces are fake - she is equally as little girl lost as the lyrics say she isn't. A mass - a mess even - of contradictions, a hook of heartbreak in a flurry of dancefloor hedonism. A fantastic single, both stand-alone, in the context of the great Girl LP and as a statement of intent of what's to come (including Neon Nights, one of the best pure pop albums of the 00s).

When I listen to this, I'm reminded of what ex-Dotmusic, now Launch UK chart commentator James Masterton said about Danni's sublime "Disrememberance" - basically saying that she was a bit of a singer, a bit of an actress, a bit of a skin-mag model, but generally a mediocre all-rounder. Seven years later, the idiot man, whose columns get worse and worse the more opiniation he does, admits that yes, she has done some cracking singles. Nice U-turn, bud. But there's no need for a U-turn. Dannii's great - she's much more fun as an interviewer than Kylie and if I wanted to go out to a club and dance, I'd rather hear her DJ and hang with HER friends any day.


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