The internet is full of people who think it’s a brilliant idea to take a dance pop, R&B and hip-hop song and play it slower and sadder on acoustic instruments. Once in a while, this is a brilliant, but most of the time, it’s either painfully precious or oppressively dull. There’s usually this condescending implication that the source material has been made more powerful and artistically substantial when rendered in the style of sad sack indie troubadours. It’s as if the performer is nudging at you, saying “see, it’s a deep and meaningful song, if you slow it down to crying speed.”
Kylie Minogue’s Abbey Road Sessions, a new collection of her old hits remade with new arrangements and live instrumentation, could have been like this. It’s not, mainly because Minogue has no interest in denying the power of her original recordings or snuffing out the joy at the core of her best songs. In the case of “I Should Be So Lucky” or “Come Into My World,” she strips out electronic textures and dance beats to reveal that the song was always, in essence, a classic ballad.
Others, like “All the Lovers,” take on a greater warmth.
Minogue is brilliant at making you feel her joy on dance songs, but as it turns out, she’s just as good at melodrama. “Can’t You Get Out Of My Head,” a song that was already a little brooding in its original arrangement, takes on a regal grandeur with its keyboard hooks transposed to strings.