Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Neon Nights 10 Year Anniversary

I remember March 17, 2003. As a life-long, demented Dannii fan I had been anticipating Neon Nights for months. This was back in the olden days when albums didn't leak and fans still rushed to record stores on the day of release. Even then there was a feeling that we were in for something extraordinary. After turning unwarranted flopping into artform in the late '90s, things were finally looking up for my childhood idol.

"Who Do You Love Now?" reintroduced the younger Minogue to Australian nightclubs in 2001 and the holiday connoisseur took things to the next level in late 2002 with the then extremely raunchy "Put The Needle On It". That brilliant pop tune was a well-deserved top 20 hit and, more importantly, a rebirth of sorts. Dannii was now the sexy, edgy Minogue and radio ate her new sound up.

It seemed improbable that she could maintain this level of quality over a full album but then "I Begin To Wonder" dropped and I got the sneaking suspicious that Kylie's wig was about to snatched by her own sister.

As it turns out, I was right. Neon Nights was the album everyone wanted Body Language to be. It picked up where Fever left off but took a more colourful path. For all the moody synths and pouty photoshoots, Dannii's fourth opus is a remarkably fun and carefree affair.

I can't think of another album that makes me as inexplicably happy. And while the lyrics never stray far from clubbing and bedroom antics, the production is wildly adventurous - tapping in disco, '80s pop and the emerging French house movement. 10 years on, Holidannii's masterpiece holds up brilliantly.

Idolator recently asked me to write a retrospective to celebrate the birthday of 2003's best album and I hope I did it justice. Dannii and Kylie both tweeted the link, so I'll take that as implicit Minogue approval.


Anonymous said...

Comparing Dannii to Kylie or Madonna is like comparing how many people like sardines on their sandwich compares to peanut butter. 99.9% are going to say peanut butter.
How many copies of Dannii's 'Greatest Hits' album were sold in the first week for instance?

Hasa said...

I loved Neon Nights when it first came out. Only Dannii record I was into. After your article today I listened to it at work and sorry to say it hasn't aged well at all.

SRM said...

Fantastic album. Still sounds fresh to this day to be honest.

But 'Body Language' was a stellar album as well in its own right!

Bruce said...

Mike, you are the queen of all stans.

One day when the light is glowing, you'll be in your castle golden. But until the gates are open, you just better feel this moment!

Anonymous said...

In interviews Kylie has said that she wishes she had recorded some of Dannii's tracks

Scarlett said...

I haven't commented in forever, but Neon Nights' birthday has got me feeling chatty! ;) I just wanted to say that absolutely love your Idolator retrospective. I really enjoyed it - it's a wonderful tribute to a truly underrated gem. I was 16 when I picked up an imported copy of Neon Nights from Tower Records in the spring of '03. 10 years later, Tower's gone, and I'm well into my 20s - but Neon Nights is still amazing. It's one of those albums where I get sad when the second to last track starts playing because that means it's almost over. (Takes a lot longer to happen if I'm spinning the reissue, haha!)

(Not really music-related, but I read your "Keep On Running With Mike & Andy Bull" post, and I hope all is going OK. :) Take care!)

Nafensays said...

This album is perfection!

Mike said...

hey Scarlett, how are you? Are you on Twitter? Let's catch up!!! xx