Kylie Minogue – Your Disco Needs You
Question: can you have a hit so gay it irrevocably changes your career? Even damages it? Answer: yes you can. Case in point: Go West by Pet Shop Boys.
Back in 1993 Neil Tennant was yet to publicly confirm his sexuality, while Chris Lowe has yet to utter a word about his. But with Go West any last vestiges of ambiguity were swept away by a robust male voice choir and a Village People cover version. The result was a no.2 smash hit, but it was to be the last time the PSBs were commercially huge, and from that point on it was strictly fanbase only – loyal, but diminishing. To borrow the title of another of their hits, was it worth it? I’m not sure – though, with delicious irony, it has become the chant of choice for Arsenal fans.
Which brings us neatly to a record so gay it makes Go West sound like U2 on a depressed day, Your Disco Needs You by Kylie Minogue.
In 2000, Kylie was at a very interesting point in her career. Having already long out-lasted most of her peers, her reinvention on Deconstruction hadn’t quite worked, despite being largely brilliant. So when Parlophone signed her and promised a return to her pop roots, those of us who care about these things got very excited indeed – with good reason, as it turned out. Light Years was a glorious album, heralded by a pair of gold lamé hotpants and a knockout no.1 single, Spinning Around. Suddenly Kylie was once again pop’s impossible princess and everyone pretended they’d always liked her despite not buying her last two records.
It’s always a luxury to have loads of potential singles to choose from when planning an album campaign, and with Light Years there was certainly no shortage. But the track that absolutely screams “RELEASE ME!” is Your Disco Needs You. Written by Kylie, Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, possibly when they were off their heads, it is without doubt one of the campest things ever recorded. As anyone who has ever attended a Kylie concert since the turn of the century will attest, it is her unofficial anthem. I have no doubt that – had it been released as a single in the UK – it would have shot to the top of the charts.
But you shouldn’t necessarily listen to those who scream loudest, for Your Disco Needs You may well have finished Kylie off before her resurgence truly got underway. Yes, it is fabulous but it is perhaps a touch too fabulous. It is gayer than Elton John setting fire to his Dolce and Gabbana collections during spring break in Key West, and would have pushed Kylie over a line she has always trodden very carefully upon. I’m not for a second saying that “too gay” is a bad thing – but pop is short for popular, and when you become too much of one thing you limit your audience. You can be too rock, too pop, too hip hop, too straight, too authentic, too manufactured. The trick is to get the balance right, and by keeping Disco as an album track I actually think Parlophone made the right choice (though of course it got chucked out in Germany, because there is no such thing as too much of anything there.)
Your Disco Needs You: number one in our hearts, nowhere in the charts. But for Kylie, even greater success was to come.
Entered chart: was not released
Who could sing this today and have a hit? NADINE COYLE