A cool blend of contemporary & retro culture

Why you’ll find it hard keeping this Kylie single out of your head

There once was a time when Kylie Minogue was criticised for following in the footsteps of one-time pop queen, Madonna. Whatever Madge did, Kylie would soon enough emulate. When questioned by Cream in 1994 about the presumed plagiarising, Kylie was quick to bite back:

“To say I’m copying Madonna is ridiculous. You only have to look at where she’s drawn inspiration; from the 1920s right through to the 1970s. She was the ’80s so she doesn’t need to do that again. There isn’t much left. I think now I’m being myself more than ever before.”

Thirty years on from that quote, it seems Kylie is being herself even more. She is certainly steering clear of the current glut of pop stars who all aim to sound the same, and her new single Padam Padam stands out like a glistening gem of a pop track in comparison to the redundant crap that’s currently clogging up the charts.

Like, seriously, when someone says the name ‘Dua Lipa’, do you do a double-take and wonder if they’re talking about Demi Lovato. Dami Im or even Doja Cat? I know I do. Take away the heavy makeup and ‘feat’ artist next to them and not only do these women look the same, many of their songs sound the same.

On her latest single ‘Padam Padam’, Kylie couldn’t sound further from others in this week’s top ten if she tried. She does seem to have borrowed just three seconds of an old Edith Piaf song, but I’ll get to that later…

The song starts out with a Middle Eastern-sounding murmur over sinister synthesisers that soon enough morph into ecstatic EDM strings and beats. Before you know it, you’re thinking you’re in a club at 3.03am dancing with mates with arms in the air… But I digress.

To the current chart, at the time of writing, Morgan Wallen’s Last Night was number one – sounding more like a country parody than a genuine love song. The inanely named The Beginning: Cupid and their song Fifty Fifty at number two is hardly distinguishable from the hundreds of other Korean pop ballads we’ve heard. And Miley Cyrus’s Flowers sounds just like a gender-role-reversal of Bruno Mars’ When I Was Your Man. It’s even more ironic now to hear Mars sing “… our song on the radio but it don’t sound the same” because all of it does sound the fucking same.

Choosing to go her own way, Kylie nowadays delivers singles that are in no way connected to the sounds du jour. 2020’s Say Something was a fab disco-tinged slow-burner – far from the simply slapped-together filth of Cardi B’s WAP, Lady Gaga’s Babylon or Megan Thee Stallion’s B.I.T.C.H. Further back, 2012’s Timebomb, while hooky in sound, had absolutely no connection to the repetitive ramblings of Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe or (god forbid) Psy’s relentless Gangnam Style.

On the contrary, Kylie’s latest single is instantly infectious but far from familiar; its chorus is automatically catchy but still has you wondering what it’s all about.

The song’s title alone should signify that this is no ordinary pop tune. To start with, the title is a doubling-up of a French acronym used to describe someone who won’t sleep with their other half before establishing their real feelings for one another, but by the second verse Kylie’s lyrics command that she and her partner get their kit off quickly – once again stripping a word’s original meaning and giving us something altogether fresh.

A quick Google search will reveal that Padam, padam is indeed the title of an old Edith Piaf song, but that tune itself is packed with sad sentiment. There are three seconds at the start of Piaf’s song that do have me thinking Kylie might have been slightly inspired (check it for yourself below).

But, as Ed Sheeran will tell you, there are only a limited number of chords an artist can use in coming up with a song, so I’m just going to turn the other way in having heard Piaf’s Padam, padam and insist that Kylie’s is a fab, fun, fresh single that sure beats the copycat Doja Cat-type crap that’s currently cluttering the charts.

In short, Padam padam is just a brilliant pop song.

Maybe Madonna would like to take a leaf out of Ky’s book some time?

Antonino Tati

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