And so enters a pop icon…
I Should Be So Lucky, by Kylie Minogue (her 1st of seven #1s)
5 weeks, from 14th February – 20th March 1988
I could try and be clever about this, but no. I love Kylie. I know very few people who don’t like Kylie (apart from Americans, who just don’t know who she is) and those that do dislike her are idiots, plain and simple. She’s uncontroversially, undemandingly, unaggressively lovely – the perfect pop puppet.
And this is where it all started (almost), with Kylie at her most puppety – bopping and smiling her way through a Stock-Aitken-Waterman-by-numbers pop tune. (I genuinely think this is ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’, just rejigged in a higher key and sped up a little.) There’s very little to write home about on the music front – it’s catchy and frothy, a disposable stick of bubblegum. She has much better to come.
The main thing I do notice is that Kylie sounds a little uncomfortable. The song is pitched a little too high for her, and the lyrics come so thick and fast… In my imagination there is no complication etc… that they always sound on the verge of getting away from her. In the video too, she grins and wrinkles her nose, but seems very aware of how tacky this tune is. Tacky, and trashy but, like all the best SAW, kind of irresistible.
‘I Should Be So Lucky’ caps off our run of four chart-topping pop bangers. And it’s been a case of diminishing returns, moving from the peerless Pet Shop Boys, past Belinda Carlisle and Tiffany to, God love her, Kylie. The full gamut of late-eighties pop, in fourteen weeks of chart-topping singles. And when was the last time, if ever, that we had three solo female #1s in a row…? (And not one of them British!)
I don’t really need to go into the Kylie backstory. ‘Neighbours’, Scott and Charlene, yadda yadda yadda. Plus it’s probably best saved for her next number one, in which a storyline from the show plays out on top of the charts. I was much too young to experience all this first hand, but I will say that meeting Kylie in writing this blog feels like a big step towards my childhood. She was still churning out huge hits when I was a teenager, and even older. And she didn’t feel like a well-regarded legacy act but a genuinely still-popular star. Back then, when she was taking over the world with sophisticated pop classics like ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’, the early SAW hits from a decade previous looked and sounded impossibly naff. They deserve their moment in the sun, though, and there’s plenty more to come before the decade’s out.
This is my final post of 2022, and so I’ll wish all my visitors, readers, likers and commenters a very Happy New Year, and a healthy and wealthy 2023. See you in a few days!