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The Hits & Beyond


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  • Dannii Minogue has had an enduring but inconsistent career. She has released just four full-length studio albums since 1990, on three different labels. She has never quite managed to achieve the momentum to become a major player in the way her older sister Kylie has, her big hits coming in fits and starts, and never translating into major album sales. That said, she has enjoyed a number of successful singles, and this greatest-hits collection is a timely reminder of her best work. Sporting 15 hit singles, all but one of which were Top 20 hits in the U.K., it's a convincing argument for Minogue as a viable club artist. The very earliest hits, "$ucce$$" and "Love & Kisses," sound rather dated now, but from the time Steve "Silk" Hurley remixed "Baby Love" into Dannii's first bona fide floor-filler, she audibly finds her groove. Her second and least successful album, Get into You, is represented here only by her cover of Melba Moore's disco classic "This Is It," which is a shame, as the overlooked "This Is the Way" is one of her best early flirtations with house music. After a few years in the wilderness, Girl saw a move into full-on trance music, and the sexually charged "All I Wanna Do" is one of her definitive hits. "Disremembrance" is the only non-Top 20 single here; it stalled just outside as the third single from Girl, but its inclusion is essential, as it's probably the finest thing she's ever recorded. The radio edit doesn't quite have the impact of the astounding eight-minute orchestral mix, which can be found on the deluxe edition of the Girl album, but it's still a beautiful should-have-been classic. Another career hiatus later and the singles from Neon Nights see Dannii finally hitting a commercial peak. "Who Do You Love Now?" and "I Begin to Wonder" were worldwide smashes, and deservedly so. A brace of singles from what was to be a fifth studio album, which was ultimately canceled in favor of this hits collection, is sadly more of a mixed bag. "You Won't Forget About Me" is wonderful: an assured, string-drenched career high that should have been another huge hit. Perhaps its failure caused a failure of nerve in Dannii's camp, as follow-up single "Perfection" is a painfully generic attempt at recapturing former glories; sampling something as overdone as "Turn the Beat Around" and placing an uninspired, hackneyed vocal over the top is frankly beneath someone of Minogue's calibre. It sounds like it would better suit an act like Cascada or Kelly Llorenna. "So Under Pressure" is a little better, and goes down as one of Minogue's more inventive moments, but it isn't particularly instant, and was her smallest hit in quite some time. A further five tracks from the recording sessions for the unreleased fifth album are included to augment the 15 singles. They're all enjoyable, but none stand up with her essential work. This is by no means a definitive representation of Dannii's best work. Five less successful early singles are missed, for example, and a lot of her best songs are album tracks on Girl and Neon Nights. However, those looking for an introduction to the younger Minogue would do well to start here. ~ John Lucas
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