Neon Nights Revisited: Dannii Minogue’s Dance Gem
Long before Chromeo became a staple in providing amazing songs that threw listeners back to the 80s, Dannii Minogue existed. Well, she existed for a while before then but in Neon Nights, the Australian dance diva provided a perfect album that culminated in disco and dance and a throwback to sounds of the 80s. With a “White Horse” sample, a mash up with “You Spin Me Round”, and an eventually Madonna approved mash-up, what could go wrong? Nothing did, and all was right for the younger Minogue for once, career wise that is. Neon Nights was a solid record that everyone enjoyed. Its hybrid of modern electronic and a retro sound coincided neatly, solidifying Dannii as a force to be reckoned with.
What better way to start off an album than by thanking the dance community for embracing you? A dirty pop number, “Put the Needle On It” was penned by Minogue and served as the album’s lead single. While Minogue urges “all [her] freaks” to do its namesake, its hypnotic rhythm carries you off to the dance floor. And just for added effect, the song contains a hashtag worthy moment: “dirty hands, I demand.” Next up in the mix is “Creep”, where the track retains the sexual electro nature of its predecessor. Originally released by Jean-Claude Ades, “I Begin to Wonder” was turned into an upbeat pop number, giving Minogue her highest charting position, #2. “Hey! (So What)” and “For the Record” both make for a more playful sound, while maintaining a cute romantic notion. Sampling Tom Browne’s “Thighs High (Grip Your Hips and Move),” the album moves into a funk-electro hybrid. “On the Loop” and “Push” serve as a juxtaposition; the former freely admitting to vulnerability about love while the latter seems to be involved in a rough, loveless relationship and wanting to escape.
The wary nature of romance continues in “Mystified.” Minogue questions and confronts her lover about his late night activities after she “heard it on the grapevine.” The Parisian sessions resulted in some of Minogue’s more upbeat and playful sounds, creating my ultimate beach track that solely rests in “Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling.” Written with Neïmo and Terry Ronald, the disco-tastic track is one of the album’s highlights, having served as the final single from Neon Nights. Camp is a word thrown around a lot when it comes to either Minogue sister, and “Vibe On” is one of the playful/naughtier/camp tracks. Though she claims it’s written about speakers, I’m not buying it. The electro diddy is accompanied by an amazing (read: camp) rap where Minogue mentions the good vibrations and how her friends are envious of her fun. Taking a page straight out of the 80s, “A Piece of Time” feels broken — but in a good sense. As the synth flavored track continues, various lyrics are removed, mimicking its intention to take pieces at a time. The fade out overlaps and distorts, signifying an end to the main show.
“Where do we go now?” It’s the first line “Who Do You Love Now?” and it resonated with the pop star quite well. After having spent the later part of the 90s working on various projects, Dutch duo Riva convinced the Australian to sing on their trance song, reigniting the latter’s career after a stalemate. Though not officially a single from Minogue’s 2003 album, the song was inserted amongst the dance gems. Coming to a close, “It Won’t Work Out” admits defeat when it comes to romance. Quite a contrast to the rest of the album, the closing track retains a beautiful and elegant sadness, more akin to a last dance on an unbearable night. After the song ends, silence continues until the hidden track comes on. “If you want it, you’ve got to come and get it” endlessly repeats. “Come and Get It” was remixed by Sebastian Krieg and officially closed out the album in a disco number.
Twelve years after its initial release, Neon Nights continues to be played endlessly in my household. Whether I’m groovin’ to the funk and electro, or singing out loud and off key, Disco Dannii has maintained a place on the dance floor. With her amazing return, I sincerely hope Dannii contributes to dance music with more tunes fit for summer.
Neon Nights is available to download from iTunes.