The Minogue Flip-side: A Survey of Kylie's Anti-Material

Since the end of her hugely successful Aphrodite Les Folies World Tour, Ms. Kylie Minogue has been hinting about doing what she's dubbed an "anti-tour"--a back to basics kind of show that would see her exclusively performing rare and unreleased material AKA a Kylie fan's wettest wet dream (yes, even wetter than the splash zone). Well this week Kylie officially announced that the Anti Tour is happening (so far only two dates in her native Australia have been announced) and it has already sold out. What other pop star has ever put together a show strictly to thank their fans, with absolutely nothing to promote AND composed the setlist entirely of b-sides, unreleased demos and other rarities? The answer is no one and that's because there is no other pop star like Kylie Minogue. The relationship that exists between the pop legend and her fans is clearly a very special and, most importantly, authentic one--the love goes both ways. Even back in 2009, Kylie assembled a special North American tour with nothing to promote but bringing happiness and joy to her loyal fans.

I said it in my review of the Pet Shop Boy's new album, Format, and I'll say it again: pop fans live for the rare. B-sides, leaked demos--basically songs that didn't quite make the cut--are infinitely more appealing and intriguing than released material and Kylie's flip-side catalog is enormous in content. What Miss Minogue will perform during the Anti Tour is anyone's guess, but here is a short little guide to the best of the Minogue flip-side (which has been divided chronologically by record label for your reading pleasure). For the record, all of the songs I've listed here are amazing and should be checked out (most of them can be easily found on youtube).

Mushroom/The PWL Years (1987-1992)
"Getting Closer" was the b-side to the very first Australian release of "Locomotion." There is something in the song that almost foreshadows the more dance oriented material Kylie would be doing in later years. It would be so wonderful to see "Getting Closer" mashed up with "Closer," the 1992 b-side to "Finer Feelings," which, along with "Do You Dare?" was the beginning of DanceKylie.
"Made in Heaven" was the international b-side to Kylie's "Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi" single and it is definitely one of the most unanimously loved Kylie tracks. The pure bubble gum track was given completely new meaning when, in 2006, it was recorded as a ballad for Kylie's documentary, White Diamond. I am fairly certain Kylie will be performing this version on the tour.
"We Know the Meaning of Love" was the b-side to "Tears on my Pillow" and is another PWL gem.
Kylie's 1990 Rhythm of Love album, her best of that time period, didn't produce any b-sides, but album tracks such as "Things Can Only Get Better" and the title track are crazy good.

The Deconstruction Years (1994-1998)
This was Kylie's most experimental time period and is regarded by her fans as being the most interesting. Though we all love the pop gloss of the current Parlophone material, many fans would love to see Kylie return to the more edgy material she was doing in the 90s. The Anti Tour may just give Kylie that opportunity.

"Where is the Feeling?" is by no means a rare track, it was even released as a single in 1995, but Ms. Minogue has never performed this song on any of her tours. The remixes that were released for this track are far and away the best of Minogue's career, especially the BIR Soundtrack Mix which is 13 minutes of heaven. A bit of the soundtrack mix leading into the Bish Bosh Remix of the track would make the most perfect opener for the tour.
"Difficult by Design" and "Gotta Move On"--these two tracks were recorded with the Rapino brothers for Kylie's first Deconstruction album but they never made the cut. They were, however, released for the first time in 2001 on the Hits+ compilation, which assembles a great deal of amazing, rare Kylie tracks (a must-have album). These are two of my personal favorite Kylie tracks of all-time and they deserve a lot more recognition than they get.
"Stay This Way" could easily be called a sister track to the "Confide in Me" b-side, "If You Don't Love Me." Musically they are very similar, but since Kylie did the latter on the Aphrodite Tour, it'd be nice to see "Stay This Way" have its moment in the sun.
"Aston Martin," a never-released track from this period, very similar in style to "Nothing Can Stop Us", is also a huge fan favorite. Only a low quality demo of this track has seen the light of day, but an updated live version of this would go down a storm!

I am fairly certain that Kylie's Anti Tour will be very heavy on material related to her 1998 Impossible Princess album. It's Kylie's biggest flop but it's also the fans' most beloved album. "Love Takes Over Me" is an absolutely brilliant song and was the b-side to Kylie's Australia-only single "Cowboy Style." The song, like most of those recorded for IP, is emotionally raw and aggressive and would translate really well live. "Take Me With You" is arguably the most haunting and intimate song in Kylie's catalog; it was first released on the now very rare Other Sides EP. Luckily for those of us who can't afford to track down a copy, it is also available on Hits+, Intimate and Live and the 2004 BMG Artists Collection compilation. I don't think there's even a chance Kylie won't be performing this.
For years a song called "You're the One" has been one of the most sought-after and talked-about unreleased songs recorded during this time period. A fairly poor quality demo was leaked onto the internet in the late 90s, but that's about it. If there's any song Kylie fans will go ape-shit for on this tour, it's definitely an updated "You're the One."

The Parlophone Years (2000-Present)
Of all her labels, Kylie has spent the most time and released the most material with Parlophone... naturally the amount of rare material related to this time period is practically unquantifiable. To make things easier to read, I'll be sub-dividing this section by album.

Light Years:
The first rare track from this project that comes to mind is "Ocean Blue." This beautiful, acoustic b-side to "On a Night Like This" is one of Kylie's best, most mature and most beloved tracks. It is absolutely gorgeous. From all the reading I've done over the years, a ton of material was recorded for the Light Years album, most of which has never even leaked online. One of the most speculated about tracks though is called "Pinkadelica" and to have Kylie perform this (if it does actually exist) would definitely be the most amazing surprise possible.

The best b-side from this album by far is "Tightrope" (which was also a bonus track on the Australian edition of the album). A track called "No Better" was recorded for the album and leaked online, but was never officially released. It's also pretty damn fabulous. Many of Fever's fantastic album tracks have never been performed live, most notably "Love Affair", which, like so many of the previously mentioned tracks, is a major Kylie highlight.

Body Language:
I have but two words: "Slo Motion." This track was the bonus track for the Australian edition of the album and it is gorgeous. Like Fever, many of this album's tracks have never been performed live, "Sweet Music" being one of them. This track needs its moment. It is too fabulous to never be performed.

Ultimate Kylie:
Some of Kylie's best material was recorded for this greatest hits album. The problem? Most of it was criminally never released. Thankfully, however, a lot of the material from those sessions has leaked online, including the seminal, epic and perfect "Loving You." I would place "Loving You" amongst my top 10 all-time favorite Kylie songs. If I make it to one of the shows and she plays this, I will literally be on the floor crying my eyes out. Another absolutely brilliant track from these sessions is called "I Know" and was recorded with the Scissor Sisters.

Like Light Years, a shit ton of material was recorded for this album. Clearly it was very difficult for Kylie and co to choose a direction for X and the album has been criticized for that, but I absolutely adore its kaleidoscopic nature. Major highlights from this period are "Flower" (which was performed on the X tour and is definitely amongst Kylie's all-time best), "Lose Control" and the "Wow" b-sides "Do it Again" and "Cherry Bomb." Kylie also recorded two brilliant tracks with Mylo for the album called "Spell of Desire" and "In the Mood for Love" (at the time there were hard feelings on Mylo's end over the tracks not being accepted, so I doubt Kylie will be performing them).

Not a lot of unreleased material has surfaced from this project. The two bonus tracks "Heartstrings" and especially "Mighty Rivers" are fantastic. A demo for a song called "Change Your Mind" leaked and would definitely be great live.

This article ended up being much longer than I had originally anticipated, but it's so easy to get carried away when reviewing and revisiting such brilliant material. To think that so much of it has been relegated to the b-side or has never been released at all is criminal. I will end this by simply stating that Kylie is one of the most consistently good artists of our time. Because she is so unashamedly pop, it is easy for mainstream music critics to dismiss her talent, but behind all the glitter and feathers there is a truly visionary and giving artist who takes great pride and joy in bringing love and happiness to her legions of fans.
We love you, Kylie! 
Here's to another 25 years of music.
P.S. How is the studio version of "Flower" not commercially available? I mean seriously, it makes no sense.

by Tranna Wintour The World Of Tranna Wintour Thanks, Tranna!

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Jon said...

Between you and the fabulously named "Tranna Wintour", you have such a comprehensive knowledge of Miss Minogue's career, it is not surprising this blog is becoming known as the "Encyclopaedia of Kylie"! Jx

John said...

I would die if she performed You're The One, Take Me With You and Flower just to name three. I think with all her unreleased stuff we could all make a different tracklist for each night lol. I pray to God this tour gets released on DVD and CD. That way we would finally have some of these tracks released!

Barbarella's Galaxy said...

Wonderful article. Kylie has such a massive catalog of non-album songs, both leaked and released. In fact, I always felt that Kylie was way up there in the top 5 acts that should do a tour like this (with Pet Shop Boys being at the very top!).

I REALLY hope this tour will see some kind of a release!!!