Saturday, January 28, 2006

1001 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time - #14 - I Should Be So Lucky by Kylie Minogue

Claire: If I have a beginning point, somewhere this list would have taken shape in my head, it was the release of I Should Be So Lucky, and since this is KM entry #1, it's in need of some context. When I first moved to Scotland, the popularity of Kylie Minogue made being Australian the trendiest thing possible (unpacking and handing out 200 copies of Smash Hits and TV week just sweetened the deal). Fundamentally strong of mind, not personally likable at all times, but with a quite admirable work ethic and a almost alien (in this day and age) refusal to indulge more than is necessary about her private life, Kylie Minogue will soon clock up a full 20 years in the music industry - considering this song was expected to be part of a short, packaged career, you wonder why Kylie, and not Jason, or Sinitta, or Sonia? Her musical instincts are sharper, but what of all those articles when this came out, calling her a singing budgie and laughed at all those people who called their new borns Kylie? Are there clues in I Should Be So Lucky to suggest a long and lasting career?

The song, of course, needs no explanation. It's main strength is it's simplicity, lyrically and production wise. There's no need for fancy tricks, its from the Stock Aitken and Waterman lyrical school of basic human emotions, a simple phrase that worms it's way into the brain from the first lesson. There's no complexity to the phrase "Dreamings all I do, if only they'd come true" on face value, but for nailing the human condition, it's quite breathtakingly poetic. It's also a peak for SAW, somehow failing to date even now, unlike some of their lesser work (Pat & Mick anyone?). And even more complex than that, the song is somehow happy AND sad, a song for getting together AND breaking up. And while you can learn the words in a day, you can sit for hours wondering what it all means - is there a dark heart in there? It's a breathtaking piece of pop, one that represents all that is good about SAW, a production unit crying out for some kind of definitive, critical re-evaluation.

There are signs, subtle signs. KMs vocal, imbued with a quiet defiance, sets it aside from some of the lesser treatments, a brilliant, loving it sense of fun ran through the joyous film clip maybe? - or perhaps she could just cherry pick the best songs, had a better musical ear, a better grip on fame, a harder work ethic. The kids knew who the star of SAW stable was though - and 20 years on, we all know - not a singing budgie, not a Madoona clone - a star, now and then.

Alyson: Part of the shock for me in hearing about KMs cancer was the sense that I had always just presumed KM would be around forever like Coca Cola or Andre Agassi. I've written her off so many times, for Melissa, for Collette, for...everyone really. She's not the prettiest, she's not the best singer, she's not the best pop star, but she has the best songs - when she remembers to be Pop, she's untouchable, with a sense of touch and musical ability that surpasses all. When she IS NOT Pop however...

I Should Be So Lucky is part of the musical furniture, so much so I barely think of it as brilliant - I mean, it IS obviously, but it's easy to take it's simplicity for granted. There's nothing obviously outstanding to it, but it all fits together like a seamless jigsaw. And the effect on Australian Pop, for the first time an industry to be proud of, would result in a golden era for almost 6 years, in which record companies would nurture Pop acts for a long term career. Truly, the start of something special, and something special in its own right...


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