I've been so preoccupied with "Club Disco" and "Unleashed" over the past week that I haven't had the opportunity to fully process Dannii's fabulous re-releases. I've decided to focus on the deluxe edition of "Girl" today because it holds a special place in my heart and I honestly believe it is one of the most underrated pop albums of all time. With any luck, Dannii's misunderstood masterpiece will now find a whole new audience via the re-release. I just hope the grotesque dead Dannii cover doesn't turn off too many potential consumers!
"Girl" was a major turning point for Dannii. After the disastrous chart performance and critical mauling of "Get Into You", Dannii's career was at an all time low. She was lampooned in the press for riding on Kylie's coattails, retreated to the abyss of breakfast television and only made headlines by posing for Playboy. Dannii was on a one way track to being the La Toya of the Minogue family until she re-appeared in 1997 with "All I Wanna Do". The song's amazing quality raised as many eyebrows as Dannii's stunning new image. Now a svelte blond with massive tits, Dannii firmly asserted herself as the sexiest Minogue sister and her poptastic music provided a welcome relief to Kylie's late 90s indie experimentation. Despite the success of "All I Wanna Do", "Girl" experienced disappointing sales mostly due to the bizarre choice of "Everything I Wanted" as the album's second single. While Dannii flopped on the mainstream charts, she scored three consecutive #1 club hits in the UK and was warmly received by the gay community in Britain and Australia.
That leads me to my special attachment to "Girl". It was the soundtrack to my coming out. The singles from "Girl" were huge in the gay clubs and my devotion to Dannii was such that I skipped school exams to attend record signings with my new scene friends. LOL. Dannii returned to Australia briefly after "Girl" and became a fixture on the gay scene. It was slightly surreal to see Dannii dancing next to you in clubs and I warmly remember witnessing the spectacle of Dannii being chased across the dancefloor by a feral drag queen at the RHI! "Girl" was the birth of Dannii as a trashy gay icon and the beginning of her reign as the undisputed queen on clubs.
Few pop albums can boast the delicate production and playful experimentation of "Girl". From Xenomania's monster hit "All I Wanna Do" to the hilariously absurd "Everybody Changes Underwater", "Girl" is breathtakingly fun and original. I was very excited to hear the new tracks on the deluxe edition and I'm happy to report that they are suitably fabulous. Here's my review of the previously unreleased tracks:
Movin' Up (Original Extended Mix) - 9/10
"Movin' Up" is equally loved and hated by Dannii fans. Some people think Dannii's cheesy cover version sounds out of place on "Girl", while others like myself revel in Dannii's gloriously upbeat slice of 90s house music. This mix is adorable.
Keep Up With The Good Times - 10/10
The only completely new track on the album is an absolute treat. Written and produced by Xenomania, "Keep Up With The Good Times" is a shocking reminder of how brilliant Brian Higgins used to be before he started churning out the same old rubbish for Girls Aloud and wrote Kylie's worst single in a decade ("Giving You Up"). The music is dated but time hasn't dulled the shiny brilliance of the chorus and uplifting lyrics. It goes without saying that this should have been on the album. A lost classic.
Someone New (Flexifingers Radio Edit) - 10/10
I've always loved the album's Japanese bonus track and I'm ecstatic to finally get an official edit. It doesn't quite capture the magnificence of the original but it's still one of Dannii's finest songs from "Girl". The existence of a radio edit is interesting of itself. The rumour that "Someone New" was once considered as a single might have some truth in it after all.
All I Wanna Do (Trouser Enthusiasts Radio Edit) - 9/10
I love the Trouser Enthusiasts (ie. Dannii's songwriting partners Ian Masterson and David Green). Their remix of Kylie's "Did It Again" is a favourite of mine and their remixes for the likes of Gina G, Donna Summer and Gloria Estefan have all been fagtastic. This amazing mix is no exception.
Disremembrance (Trouser Enthusiasts Radio Edit) - 9/10
For many years, "Disremembrance" was my favourite Dannii track. I blame the camp video clip - gothic Dannii forever! I prefer the pure pop of the album version but this mix has an evocative, darker tone that suits the song perfectly.
Heaven Can Wait (Trouser Enthusiasts Cloud Nine Mix) - 7.5/10
Another Xenomania contribution, "Heaven Can Wait" holds up as one of the loveliest songs on "Girl". This epic mix is at least five minutes too long for my dodgy concentration span but it's still a fun addition to anyone's Dannii collection.
Disremembrance (Full Orechestral 12" Mix) - 8/10
I love the dreamy beginning to this remix. The remainder of the mix is fairly straightforward but just as lovely.
Disremembrance (Twyce As Nyce 1:40am Club Mix) - 5/10
This is a bit of a mess and deconstructs the song to the point where it's barely recognisable. Headache material.
Movin' Up (Gettin' Harder Mix) - 7.5/10
I was gettin' harder by the second listening to this trashy effort. Somebody pass me a glow stick!
Keep Up With The Good Times (Xenomania 12" Mix) - 9/10
The more I hear "Keep Up With The Good Times", the more I love it. This mix is a spectacular hands in the air dancefloor anthem, only slightly marred by some dated voice effects. Vintage Dannii!