Kylie is Kylie Minogue's debut studio album that was released on July 4, 1988 by Mushroom Records.
Kylie Minogue was a child actress from the age of eleven, appearing in cameo roles in "The Sullivans", "Skyways" and "The Henderson Kids." In April of 1986, she played Charlene Mitchell, a schoolgirl turned garage mechanic in the soap opera, "Neighbours."
Minogue learned how to play violin and piano at a very young age while taking singing and dancing lessons with her sister Dannii. In 1985, she used her earnings from "The Henderson Kids" to record three songs with producer Greg Petherick at "Young Talent Time", a weekly Australian music programme (which already featured Dannii as a regular performer).
During her time in Neighbours, Minogue joined a band along with cast members Guy Pearce, Peter O'Brien and Alan Dale, which Petherick arranged. He later suggested Minogue cover Little Eva's song "The Loco-Motion" with the band during a Fitzroy Football Club benefit concert at the Festival Hall in 1986, where she also sang a duet of "I Got You Babe."
Impressed by the performance, Petherick arranged for Minogue to record the former song, re-titled as "Locomotion", with producer Kaj Dahlstrom, who invested $10,000 to record it. Petherick submitted the demo track to many record labels before reaching out to Michael Gudinski, head of Mushroom Records. Gudinski was reluctant at first, calling the demo "a bit of a one-hit wonder."
During a trip to London several months after receiving the demo track, Gudinski decided to sign Minogue because of her popularity from "Neighbours." She signed with the label in early 1987.
The decision was made when not many established actors in television chose to make a record. The signing was met with polarised opinions from critics and employees of Mushroom Records; many thought it would be the end of the company and dubbed Minogue as "The Singing Budgie."
In June 1987, Mushroom Records had Mike Duffy, an audio engineer for Stock Aitken Waterman producers, over for a three-month residency at Platinum Studios in South Yarra. He was asked to remix the "Locomotion" demo track with the help of a synthesizer to make it sound more like Bananarama's cover of "Venus." It was the first time he had produced a record himself.
The song was released as Minogue's debut single on July 27, 1987, three weeks after Neighbours wedding episode premiered. A week after its release, the single topped the Australian charts, remaining there for seven week and becoming the best-selling single of the decade.
Around that time, Minogue was set up with Terry Blamey, who would be her manager for 25 years.
The success of "Locomotion" resulted in Minogue and Blamey travelling to London to work with Stock, Aitken and Waterman in September 1987. Pete Waterman, the only member of the trio aware of Minogue's trip, was unavailable; he was busy making The Hit Man and Her and had not told Mike Stock she was in London.
Minogue and Blamey waited for ten days in their hotel without hearing from the producers. They eventually turned up at the studio at the last minute. The producers wrote "I Should Be So Lucky" in 40 minutes and Minogue recorded it quickly before she returned to Australia that afternoon to work on "Neighbours."
Stock recalled the abrupt session: "Her ear is very tuned in so I sang her the tune and she sang it back at me and at that point I put the tapes aside and went on to other things ... We treated [Minogue] rather shabbily."
He wrote the lyrics in response to what he had learned about Minogue: although she was a successful soap star, he thought there had to be something wrong with her and figured she must be unlucky in love.
At the time, the producers didn't take Minogue's career seriously because of time constraints and her obligations to "Neighbours." They did not even listen to the song until Waterman heard it played by a DJ at a Christmas party that year and said it was "really good."
In February 1988, Stock travelled to Melbourne and apologised to Minogue for her previous recording session. They went on to record the songs "Got to Be Certain" and "Turn It into Love" with her.
The recording sessions with Stock and engineer Karen Hewitt took place at Allan Eaton Studios and RBX Studios in Melbourne for only a couple of hours at night, between filming her last episodes for "Neighbours." Minogue frequently broke down emotionally due to pressure from work; Stock said she was "often tearful" at the studio during that time.
Minogue took a break from filming "Neighbours" to fly to London in March. The producers had a copy of "Locomotion" produced by Duffy, which Waterman was not keen on. They re-recorded the song with Minogue at their studio in London and changed the name back to "The Loco-Motion." Portions of the vocals from the demo track were kept in the new version.
For the album, Stock wanted to make it full of single-potential tracks, similar to the form of greatest hits compilations. Minogue stayed with her mother in Waterman's apartment during the recording sessions over Easter in 1988, which took place at PWL Studios 1, 2 & 5 (London).
- I Should Be So Lucky 3:28
- The Loco-Motion 3:17
- Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi 4:03
- It's No Secret 4:01
- Got To Be Certain 3:21
- Turn It Into Love 3:39
- I Miss You 3:17
- I'll Still Be Loving You 3:51
- Look My Way 3:39
- Love At First Sight 3:10
"Kylie" debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart on 16 July 1988. In its seventh week, it peaked at number one and stayed there for four consecutive weeks. She became the youngest artist to have a number-one album at the age of 20; she held that record until Canadian recording artist Avril Lavigne's album, "Let Go" reached the top of the chart in 2002, when she was 18 years old.
The album topped the chart for two additional weeks in November, for a total of six weeks in the number-one position, her longest-running number-one album on this chart.
It was the best-selling album of 1988 in the UK with sales of 1.29 million copies over the course of six months. On 5 January 1989, it was certified six times platinum by British Phonographic Industry.
"Kylie" went on to be the fifth highest-selling album of the decade—the highest by a female solo artist—in the UK and was the first album by a female solo artist to exceed sales of two million. As of 2006, it has sold 2,105,698 copies in the United Kingdom.
In Minogue's native Australia, the album entered at number two, where it remained for three consecutive weeks. It stayed in the top fifty for a total of twenty-eight weeks. It was certified four times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association.
In New Zealand, "Kylie" debuted at number ten, and eventually topped the chart for six weeks. It is her only number-one album in the region and stayed on the charts for a total of fifty-three weeks.
In November 1989, the album was certified platinum by Recorded Music NZ. It also reached the top ten in Germany, Norway and Switzerland.
In the United States, "Kylie" debuted and peaked at number fifty-three on the Billboard 200. This was Minogue's only charting album in the United States until her 2001 album Fever hit the charts in 2002. In 1989, the album was certified gold in the United States, selling over 500,000 copies.
The album was certified platinum in Hong Kong by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry for selling over 15,000 units. In Japan, it peaked at number 30 and sold 102,000 copies as of 2006. It has sold over five million copies worldwide.
"Kylie" received mixed reviews from music critics. Giving the album two-and-a-half out of five stars, Chris True from AllMusic said that although the production values "are dated at best" and the melodies "are nothing but standard", her upbeat personality makes them "bearable."
In another mixed review, Nick Levine of Digital Spy also panned the dated production saying the record was "as loaded with variety as a loaf of bread". He felt her personality and the "quintessentially '80s charm" compensated for its weaknesses, while calling "I Should Be So Lucky" the stand out "classic" track.
Chris Heath of Smash Hits praised the "simple, deliriously wonderful disco" tracks while Rolling Stone suggested they sound like "delightful trifles" and are as "cheesily and identically redolent of the late 80s' as a pair of stone-washed jean shorts".
In the Recommended section, the writers of Billboard applauded the cover of "The Loco-Motion" but found the "mechanical production and assembly-line writing... may lack the warm necessary for a U.S. breakthrough."
Ian Peel of Classic Pop commended the hooks saying they are "simple ... but never really leave you," adding the songs "sound pretty much the same."
From the same publication, Mark Elliot praised the Hi-NRG pop tunes that "set the benchmark for her spectacular career," and ranked it as the third-best Stock Aitken Waterman album. In a review for the 2015 reissue of the album, Sweeney found it "soulless", but the production flaws was made up by the "well-crafted melodies."
In 2018, Cinquemani ranked "Kylie" as Minogue's worst studio album, criticizing her vocals which sound "like she was forced to suck down a lungful of helium". He concluded that the album was "as lightweight and unsatisfying as cotton candy—and goes down just as easy."