first to fall: the title track from Kylie's least popular post-00 album. (how many more KMO tracks do you think will feature?)
Kiss Me Once is hardly fresh territory for Kylie, but it's squarely in the realm of what she's great at, and that big, warm chorus simply soars. the KMO tour live mix really beefs the song up quite pleasurably, adding some heft and beautiful angelic adlibs.
49.Shelby '68 from Golden
Shelby '68 is the first AND ONLY song from Golden to feature in this list. there are actually one or two other songs that I think could've been worthy, but life is cruel like that. either way Shelby is clearly the best song on Golden. it does slightly amuse me that she's singing to a lover but the Shelby '68 is her dad's car. I feel this song is what Golden could've been if they weren't so concerned about still being very pop and UK radio-friendly.
48. Sweet Music from Body Language
now we're talking. what a song. I've been hammering Body Language lately, probably more than at any point since 2003, and this highly funky deep cut is maybe the closest Kylie ever came to an outright homage to her idol, Prince. somehow though, despite that throbbing bassline and the overt early 80s influences, it still feels distinctly Kylie. the song builds and retreats beautifully, that stripped-back middle 8 is a treat because you know the bass is dying to drop again. surely one of her best produced songs overall.
47. Timebomb from K25: Time Capsule
what a strange song Timebomb is, and what a strange moment in Kylie's career it arrived at — a year after Put Your Hands Up had closed out the underwhelming Aphrodite campaign, essentially a standalone single to celebrate Kylie's 25th anniversary, frustratingly dropped midweek so that it peaked at #31, rather than top 20. her profile felt low, but this song is actually a bit of a classic and it clearly deserved far, far better. all the ingredients for a hit are there: addictive bassline, ultra-catchy chorus, easy singalong factor... in many ways the song almost feels made for TikTok. WHooo000oooP! maybe she really was ahead of her time.
46. Your Love from Fever
how many Fever songs made this list? more than a few. first to fall is Your Love, a lovely guitar-and-synth-driven midtempo that has soundtracked god knows how many thousand twirls around my living room. like a lot of the album's back half, Your Love glides on a cloud of too-good-to-be-true romance. it's giving roller rink in the sky circa 2531.
largely forgotten a decade on, Into the Blue was criticised at the time for being too safe, too predictable, too Kylie by numbers to make an impact as lead single. that was fair then and still feels fair now. but time can do wonders for songs like this. in 2023, Into the Blue still sounds fresh, the strings bring out the beauty in the melody, and the electro crunch of the chorus packs a subtle punch. the orchestral outro remains a dreamy delight. just a really solid pop song.
44.Speakerphone from X
Speakerphone ticks so many Kylie boxes it could almost be parody. slipping back into her heavily synthesised "femmebot" persona, Kylie half-raps a bunch of words that vaguely rhyme. socks, hip bones, a boombox and pockets that go ring-a-ding-dong all feature in lyrics that were presumably written in 10 minutes on the back of a fag packet. on paper, then, Speakerphone should suck as hard as X's most cringeworthy moments (of which there are a few). but somehow, Kylie sells this hot nonsense, makes it sound sleek, cool even. I too would like to set my mind on freaky mode.
Kylie implied in 2010 that X was heavily impersonal due to label interference — an immediate slip back into a persona the public loved, untarnished by reference to cancer, business as usual. and Speakerphone really is the business.
43. Tightrope from Fever (Australian edition)
Kylie is famous for her VAST NUMBERS of brilliant bonus tracks, b-sides and long-forgotten curios. does any of them shimmer and sparkle more irresistibly than Tightrope? the chorus on this Fever bonus track feels the storm clouds parting and the sun flooding the dancefloor. it's such a pleasure.
42. Sensitized from X
any excuse to post this SENSATIONAL perf from The Kylie Show in 2007. what a woman. what a WIG!
Sensitized is a bit of a weirdo moment on X and kind of a curveball within her Parlo era music — a catchy, relatively straightforward pop song thrown off-kilter by a backing track that feels like it's slightly out of sync, and some canned "woo!"s that drop in at random moments. overall it has a trippy, borderline psychedelic feel rarely present in Kylie's music, and I think it has aged exquisitely well, unlike certain others from X. a great showcase for the playful, wink-wink incarnation of Kylie.
41. Aphrodite from Aphrodite
the first of five Aphrodite era songs to feature in ULTIMATE KYLIE: THE COUNTDOWN, Aphrodite has big "could've been a single" energy to me — although her popularity was starting to fade by 2011, and it's unclear if a song THIS GAY would've done much to turn things around. that militaristic beat with heavy use of drums again feels like fresh territory for Kylie, though, and I could imagine it dominating radio. would really love her to dig this one out on tour in the near future.
this cover of Tom Aspaul's Indiana was made immeasurably better by virtue of being sung by a singer (ha! what!) — no shade, darling. retitled Feels So Good, it's a bright, airy outlier, a relentlessly happy tune that somehow becomes the centrepiece of Kiss Me Once, despite being nothing like any other song on it. if I had to guess I'd say this is probably one of the many officially released songs that Kylie has forgotten exists. a shame — it's a proper sun-soaked delight.
39. Dancefloor from Fever
as with Your Love, Dancefloor has no aspirations of being anything more than sexy, clubby dance-pop for a cocktail party (you might, in fact, be tempted to call it a sultry gem, but i'm hesitant to go there yet). but god, what I'd give to be at that cocktail party.
38.What Do I Have to Do? from Rhythm of Love
babe, wake up, first Rhythm of Love dropout just dropped. what a feel-good tuuuuune! What Do I Have to Do? is so candy sweet it could rot teeth, but Kylie's vocal, armed with more power and personality than on her first two albums, goes all in. even before you've heard her, that drum machine on the intro cranks things up into party mode. this song remains such a blast — it's also the only track in this countdown with a question mark in the title (but not the only song whose title is a question...).
37. Padam Padam from Tension
normally I wouldn't like to take such a new song and rank it among decades-only stuff, but Padam Padam felt like such an instant classic on arrival that it had to feature. what's left to say? a fucking rush of a song, perfectly concise, it fucks and then it's gone. no foreplay, no cuddles after. I particularly like the mini-drop into the second verse (a trick the producer Lostboy recycled from his 10:35 with Tiesto, but we'll let it slide). it's giving all the requisite cunt.
36. Better Than Today from Aphrodite
well, this won't be a popular one I'm tempted to apologise in advance, but actually, FUCK YOU ALL. I really like Better Than Today. there's something a bit theater kid about that staccato piano beat and that chorus with Kylie's elastic vocal range on show, and maybe a touch of glam rock too. is Kylie's life hard, and does she live for the weekend? questions for another day perhaps. the song peaks with the middle 8. one to STRUT TO! actually, both songs that came from Nerina Pallot were a great fit for Kylie Ann — I'd have happily taken a few more.
sidenote - I've never seen this video before. her creative team really was CLEAN OUT of ideas by 2011 huh