A release day ranking of every song on Tension – Kylie Minogue’s new album
Can anything live up to the dizzy heights of Padam Padam?
Kylie Minogue is having the year of all years. She’s having the sort of year that artists in their fifth decade of releasing music could quite literally only dream of. With Padam Padam being a runway hit that transcended her LGBTQ fanbase and reached Gen Z in new ways, to the announcement of her Vegas residency and an ITV special coming by the end of the year – it’s a great time to be a living pop legend amongst men. Today marks the release of Tension – the 16th Kylie Minogue studio album, and one that comes with much hype. But do the songs live up to the anticipation? Here’s every song on Tension by Kylie Minogue, ranked on release day.
14. Green Light
A song that sounds like it was from the wreckage of her 15th album – 2020’s campy DISCO. Alas, not a cover of the perfect Lorde song it shares a title with.
13. One More Time
A song that sounds like it was from the wreckage of her 15th album – 2020’s campy DISCO. Alas, not a cover of the perfect Daft Punk song it shares a title with.
If you want to listen to some white mum DISCO, Jessie Ware remains your better option.
12. 10 Out Of 10 (with Oliver Heldens)
Released as a single pre Padam Padam, I’m not sure why 10 Out Of 10 is here. It’s Oliver Heldens’ song that Minogue features on, and it feels like a way to fill an easy slot on the tracklist rather than because it actually should live on Tension. It’s soulless, a Drag Race level of quality attempt at ballroom tinged house.
11. Things We Do For Love
This one’s early placement on the album makes me nervously worry Kylie and co have it billed for potential single material. We must not let this happen. There’s a tacky, Steps-y feel to this. A sickly pop where Kylie sounds squeaky, when she’s at her best produced robotically on dark electronic slinky bops.
10. Just Imagine
The worst of the three tracks to appear on Tension deluxe – and one of the only songs ranked from this Kylie Minogue album that could almost be considered a ballad. Lyrically a bit saccharine, but warms itself up to a passable level after the first minute or so.
9. Vegas High
There’s something a bit sinister to me that DISCO had “Fine Wine”, a song promoting the actually rather delicious range of Kylie Wines. On Tension, we’ve got Vegas High – a song clearly here to promote the fact Kylie’s just bagged a Vegas residency. Not to reference Drag Race twice in one article, but it reminds me of when RuPaul names all the songs on his album catchphrases from the show. Just a bit… uncouth.
It’s better than Fine Wine, so that’s something to smile about.
The standard edition of Tension sees Kylie Minogue close it out with a campy spin into the stars, and of all the songs ranked here it’s one of the ones where her voice truly becomes, erm, shrill. Kylie toes a fine line vocally and I do think here outhouse high notes it reaches the frequency where only dogs can tune in – but that moment aside it’s got some bop moments.
7. You Still Get Me High
Imagine if Kylie Minogue made a Carly Rae Jepson song that featured Jack Antonoff and Bleachers. You’d get You Still Get Me High. It’s not entirely amazing, but it’s a nice vibe shift and I’d have loved if Tension had more of this sound than DISCO leftovers.
6. Somebody To Love
The final track on Tension Deluxe, and one that just falls out of the top five Kylie Minogue songs ranked from this era. For much of this album, Kylie Minogue reunited with longtime collaborator and pop writing/production Biff Stannard – and on songs like Somebody To Love their synergy shines. It’s classic Kylie and sounds a bit nostalgic but never cringe like the disco cuts. A nice song.
5. Love Train
The best of the three deluxe tracks, and despite a clunky but quite ijbol Super Mario nod in the lyrics, Love Train has a fun production that sounds like if music from Crash Bandicoot levels did some poppers and went to GAY. Just hits my ear really good even when the writing flops.
Okay, here we go. The top four, and the four songs on Tension I truly consider to be pretty amazing. I’ll be honest – the quality of this album isn’t quite what I was expecting, but on these four Kylie shows why she’s a legend. Hands has rapped verses, slick harmonies and an almost R&B feel that just make it glide along smoothly and slickly. It’s gorgeous.
3. Hold On To Now
Now if we’re in the business of choosing a third Tension single, the clearly sensible choice is Hold On To Now. Like a diluted Missing U by Robyn, this slinky electropop yearner should, in my opinion, be the album opener. It kind of annoys me when lead singles open albums rather than the best song for the job, and this feels like an intro. A great one at that. If the whole of Tension sounded in cohesion with this top three, Kylie Minogue would have had an album ranked amongst her best.
The perfect title track, the perfect second single. Biff Stannard says they took inspiration from the Frankenstein’s monster nature of Girls Aloud bangers like Biology, where sections from different songs were fused to create one vibe shifting banger. Tension does that brilliantly, even if the “Oh my god, touch me right there” breakdown bit is by far the best bit. I’m still waiting for a DJ to remix it up and just focus on that bit on loop.
The silly side of Tension remains excellent, however. You know you’re a charming pop legend when you’re rhyming “Call me Kylie-lie-lie with cool like sorbet-bet-bet” and getting away with it.
1. Padam Padam
I mean, what can even be said? A song worthy of its acclaim, its gay embrace and its deservedly high top 10 chart position. A true pop justice. Kylie sounds so at home over Ina Wroldsen’s lyrics and unbelievable ear for melody. The way Padam Padam bops up and down on its melody is just so satisfying – it never gets old. It’s camp, but with a chilly coolness to it that never feels cringe and has a red latex sheen slickness to it that just feels delicious. A career high on your 16th album? We must simply applaud.
Tension is out everywhere now.
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