Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Girl - The Deluxe Edition

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!

8 comments:

magical froggy said...

I have to share your love for KUWTGT, I completely fell in love with it on first listen. As for the extended mix, the only bit that makes me scratch my head the bizarre rap in the middle. Did they find Jazzi P busking in Soho??! I guess it was left off due to it sharing elements with 'Just A Little Bit'? Dannii is the Queen of Original Material after all!

Gotta keep it up, gotta keep it up, YEAH!

Mike said...

LOL @ Jazzi P!

I love the rap - it's so early 90s Kylie but better because it's Dannii.

Miss Heidi Von Binterschlappen said...

*BREAKING NEWS!*

NEW $ucce$$ for Dannii!!!!!

16 (NE) Dannii Minogue - The Complete Collection (1 week) [ 900 ]

Touch Me Like That also dashes 7-1 on the Commercial Pop chart
And is #1 on the Upfront Club Chart!

$ucce$$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I still haven't bothered getting the reissues yet so will comment on the new tracks later.

Hules said...

I fell off my bicycle and landed on my face (bone-deep gash in my jaw, blood everywhere, dash to hospital so plastic surgeon could stich my facial muscles back together), but I was actually listening to one of the 700 remixes of "Disremembrance" at the time, so all in all, it is a happy memory.

EricMontreal22 said...

Great review and spot on. I discovered the album very shortly after falling for Light Years when Iw as looking for more Minogue brilliant dance pop--and the next best thing I could find was Girl--tracked down a used copy online, then all the singles (I won't say how much I spent on Cocnut) etc...

I'm proud to say that in 2000 among my friends NO ONE knew who Dannii was or how brilliant this album was--I converted a lot of people--although I seriously thought the flop of it wwould lead to her career being over.

A brilliant album that if Kylie had released in 1997 instead woulda been huge I think. Also interesting that Dannii was one of the very first to work with Metro and Xenomania when they were branching away from PWL, etc. I'd love to know more about her being offered an early version of Believe...

While I still think Xenomania are brilliant--I agree with everything else you say... My only complaints would be no radio mix of Disremembrance or the 7" mix of Heaven Can Wait that was done for a potential single and released on Coconut (Ideally I woulda included the original Moving Up as well but...) I prefer the Trouser Enthusiasts mixes in full but have the singles for that, but I do wish that a few better remixes had been done (stuff liek the Qattara mix ar ejust the kinds of remixes I hate).

While an album from 1997 doesn't need a remastering, the sound seems especially clear to me--listen to that acoustic guitar on Heaven Can Wait...

Mike said...

Hules, at least Dannii was there to sooth your pain! Ouch!

Thanks for your comment Eric. Well done for sharing Dannii's brilliance with your friends and family. I totally agree that "Girl" would have been huge if Kylie released it. In many ways, Dannii was a Kylie substitute for some fans during Kylie's time with Deconstruction. Dannii was the one making the club friendly pop that Kylie's fans wanted but weren't getting. The wheel has turned full circle again with Dannii picking up new fans with TMLT while many old school Kylie fans can't stomach 2 Hearts.

The 7" mix of Heaven Can Wait is fabulous and should have been included. However it's hard to complain about a package this extensive and generous. I hope they re-release Get Into You. That would be a blast!

undisco_me said...

I hope they release that 'third' album of hers that never saw the light - Dannii Vs Motiv8 would put me in a coma I'd refuse to get out of.

I once tried to get Dannii to give a straight answer about Believe but she got all narky in the 'ask moi anything (except about moi career)' section on her site. Appar she was typsy with Tezza at the time whilst answering that lot.

Keep Up With The Gays is so energetic, like Dannii I need to lie down to appreciate the sensation.

Pity there is no 'radio edit' of the cloud nine Heaven Can Wait - truly sublime when it hits the g-spot.

tommie said...

I feel like I need to comment now that I've *finally* given the Deluxe edition a proper listen about two months too late; I'll have to say that I think I've dismissed Girl a bit too much before! I think the sheer bizarreness of Everybody Changes Underwater and the pointless If It Moves - Dub It! put me off the album before, but the inclusion of Keep Up With The Good Times, Someone New AND the fabulous Coconut (that everyone hates) seems to balance the album out for me.

Why Someone New never was a single I'll never know... or why Keep Up With The Good Times was left to rot in the vaults! Dannii's career choices are quite mysterious at times - what an enigma!

And the Gettin' Harder mix of Movin' Up is just... LOL.

Now you need to review the Video Collection.