There’s a jazzy spring in Dami Im’s step on this collection of exquisitely performed standards and classics. By Libby Petworth
If the track listing of an album can be read as a statement by the artist in question, the opening track of Dami Im’s fifth studio album would suggest she is at a pretty good point in her life. “It’s a new dawn / It’s a new day / It’s a new life for me / And I’m feeling good”, she sings on ‘Feeling Good’, her take on the track made famous by Nina Simone in 1965. And Im has every right to be feeling good about I Hear a Song, an expertly performed and produced album which, if there remained any doubt, showcases Im as one of the most capable and versatile performers in music today.
With a stint in Nashville inspiring her to tell her own stories in song, dance-pop queen Kylie Minogue has delivered a country-inflected album with a few questionable tics of the genre, but plenty of pop hooks and a satisfying emotional depth. By Emilee Johnson
It’s almost inevitable that, on the release of Kylie Minogue’s fourteenth studio album, she would be damned if she did and damned if she didn’t. She could have changed up her sound and risked accusations she was resorting to gimmicks to keep her career afloat, or stuck with the tried-and-tested shiny dance-pop that has served her so well since 1987 and risked accusations her music was tired and no longer relevant. Throw in the fact she is approaching fifty, an age where female musicians are expected to ‘age gracefully’ and resort to easy listening covers albums, and the amount of flak she will be thrown increases significantly. So is Minogue’s flirtation with country music on Golden a stroke of brilliance or a momentously disastrous decision?
A core of solid songwriting – and that unmistakeable voice – anchor Kim Wilde’s latest offering, as it rolls between upbeat dance-pop and a serious moment or two. By Andrea Beattie
While enjoying of glass of wine in her garden after a long day back in 2009, Kim Wilde says she had a close encounter of the alien kind. The British ’80s pop icon saw bright lights hover above her garden and then dart from one side of the sky to the other before disappearing, presumably never to be seen again.
Spookily, the UFO sighting is a fitting metaphor for Wilde’s pop career, which reached starry heights in the ’80s, wavered dramatically in the years after, and then almost faded altogether in favour of motherhood and a career in landscape gardening (albeit peppered with the occasional under-the-radar music release).