2012 is also K25. That sentence either made absolutely no sense to you or sent you into a dance-pop reverie, largely depending on whether you’re a Kylie Minogue fan or not. The 25′s for the amount of time she’s been in the industry; the K25′s for the mass concert and promotional and film(?!) campaign she’s staging for the occasion. Part of that campaign is this, “Timebomb,” a single that’ll be on her upcoming greatest-hits compilation.
Now stop. Even accepting that greatest-hits singles can be good (which they can, sometimes) A new Kylie Minogue single, unfortunately, isn’t quite as much of an event as it was when such things would immediately follow up “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head.” Aphrodite, her last album, wasn’t a dance album so much as an album for the point where you’re a diva maybe 90 percent of the way through your dance set, where you’ve stopped trying to perform at all because you know the audience’s just going to bask in your presence anway. It was gorgeous and airbrushed and absolutely resigned, and it’s possible to listen to the average single without being moved to dance at all. And when your particular niche, that of the chilly-voiced diva, is getting more and more occupied by the year, that’s not really the sort of album you want to release.
You wonder, then, why “Timebomb” wasn’t on there, because it’s actually energetic and quite great. Listen below. (The introductory videostuff ends at about 0:20.)
Groundbreaking this is not; it’s a dance-pop song about how it’s really, really necessary to get all your dancing done before impending disaster/apocalypse/time-bomb explosions. Kylie’s vocals are chopped and quantized and slicked with syrup and backing vocals, and the synths either burble or strobe depending on whether it’s a verse or a chorus. But it’s all well-executed, which these days really is a lot to ask for, and the bridge, with “wait. wait. please don’t make me wait” set to radar pings and snippets of Kylie’s voice so short they sound like hiccups, might be one of the best of the year.
There’s immediacy to this, in other words, and verve; when Kylie sings about timebombs, it does in fact sound like something might explode at some point. The metaphor’s earned. And you can listen to this without the urge to put on the new Saint Etienne or Ladyhawke or Little Boots singles instead–or, for that matter, Kylie’s old stuff. For an between-albums promo single, that’s the highest compliment you can ask for.