- Impossible Princess
Infobox Album | Name = Impossible Princess
Released = October 1997 (Japan)
12 January 1998 (Australia)
23 March 1998 (UK)
26 May 2003 (UK re-release)
19 September 2003 (Australian re-release)
Recorded = October 1995–May 1997 in
Electronica, Dance, Techno, Trip hop
Length = 47:26 (Australian edition)
47:42 (European edition)
51:69 (Japanese edition)
Label = Deconstruction,
Producer = Steve Anderson,
Dave Seaman, Dave Ball, Ingo Vauk, Rob Dougan, Jay Burnett, James Dean Bradfield, Dave Eringa
Allmusicrating|4|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:76j20r6ay48c link]
Billboard Magazine" (Positive) [http://www.kylie.co.uk/press/00000016.shtml link]
NME" rating|4|10 [http://www.kylie.co.uk/press/00000017.shtml link]
Slant Magazinerating|4|5 [http://www.slantmagazine.com/music/music_review.asp?ID=381 link]
Last album = "Kylie Minogue"
This album = "Impossible Princess"
Next album = "
"Impossible Princess" is the sixth
albumby Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue. It was released by Deconstruction Recordson 23 March 1998 in the United Kingdom to mixed reviews. The album was produced by Dave Ball, Ingo Vauk, and Brothers in Rhythm. Most critics complimented its maturity and personal subject matter, while others called it uninspired and unbelievable. "Impossible Princess" was a success in Minogue's native Australia, it reached number four on the Australian albums chart, number one on the Australian Music Report chart in January 1998 [http://www.kylie.com/2006_site/music/impossible_princess.htm "Albums: "Impossible Princess"] . Kylie.com. Retrieved 5 August 2007.] and was certified platinum for sales of 70,000 copies. [ [http://www.aria.com.au/pages/aria-charts-end-of-year-charts-top-100-albums-1998.htm "End Of Year Charts: Top 100 Albums 1998"] . Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 6 August 2007.] [http://www.aria.com.au/pages/aria-charts-accreditations-albums-1998.htm "Accreditations: 1998 Albums"] . Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 6 August 2007.] The album was a commercial disappointment in the UK and only sold 100,000 copies, far below Minogue's previous albums "Kylie Minogue" and " Let's Get to It". [http://www.slokylie.com/disc/albums/06-ip.html "World Chart Positions"] . SloKylie.com: The Slovenian Kylie Page. Retrieved 11 July 2006.]
The album represented a change in Minogue's musical style and featured several live instruments. "Impossible Princess" became the first album Minogue had full creative control over, which resulted in her contributing to all of the
lyricsthat appeared on the album. [Baker and Minogue, Hodder and Stoughton, 2002. p 107.] The album was retitled "Kylie Minogue" at the last minute in the UK following the death of Princess Diana in August 1997. ["The Complete Kylie". "Cleo". November 1997.] A remastered edition of "Impossible Princess" was issued by BMGin 2003 with a bonus disc of remixes and B-sides.
In 1995, Minogue recorded the song "
Where the Wild Roses Grow", a duet with Australian rock musician Nick Cave. The song's lyricsnarrated a murder from the points of view of both the murderer (Cave), and his victim (Minogue). The song was a chart and critical success which demonstrated that Minogue could be accepted outside of her established genre as a dance artist. That year, she recited the lyrics to " I Should Be So Lucky" as poetry in London's Royal Albert Hall"Poetry Jam" at Cave's suggestion. She later credited him with giving her the confidence to express herself through her music, saying, "he taught me to never veer too far from who I am, but to go further, try different things, and never lose sight of myself at the core. For me, the hard part was unleashing the core of myself and being totally truthful in my music".Larry Flick. "Review of "Impossible Princess". Billboard.com. March 1998.]
The following year Minogue began a relationship with French photographer
Stéphane Sednaoui.Baker and Minogue, Hodder and Stoughton, 2002. p 108.] Together they embarked on a series of trips across the United States and southern China on a mission of self-discovery. The trips and her relationship with Sednaoui made Minogue feel free to express her own creativity and talent. [Baker and Minogue, Hodder and Stoughton, 2002. p 108.] Sednaoui also introduced her to the work of such musicians as Björk, Japanese pop artist Towa Teiand the band U2, all of whom would influence the musical styles on "Impossible Princess".
Recording and production
Brothers in Rhythm, a house musicduo consisting of Steve Anderson and Dave Seaman, were chosen as the main producers of the album. In 1995, Minogue and Brothers in Rhythm began recording rough demos at Real World studios in Bath, England. The demos consisted of Minogue's lyrical ideas over various backing tracks. The demos were later rearranged and real instruments were added to replace the samples or keyboards initially emulating them.Neil Rees. [http://www.kylie.co.uk/features/steveanderson.shtml "Meet Big Brother!"] . Kylie.co.uk (LiMBO Kylie Minogue Online). 19 March 1999. (Link inactive since November 2007).] All string and orchestral arrangements were recorded at Sarm West studios in Londonby Anderson and Gavyn Wright,"Impossible Princess" (CD liner notes). Deconstruction Records. March 1998.] and in mid-1996, the album was mixed at Real World studios by Alan Bremner. The recording of "Impossible Princess" took nearly two years, becoming the longest period of time Minogue had worked on a project since her time on the Australian soap opera" Neighbours". [Baker and Minogue, Hodder and Stoughton, 2002. p 107.] Anderson later explained that the album took a long time to record "due to the pure perfectionism of all creatively involved".
Writing and composition
Minogue began writing lyrics for "Impossible Princess" in 1996 during her trips with Sednaoui to the U.S. and China. When she returned, Minogue was constantly writing down words, exploring the form and meaning of sentences. [Baker and Minogue, Hodder and Stoughton, 2002. p 111.] She had written lyrics before, but called them "safe, just neatly rhymed words and that's that". [John Walsh. "Lucky In Luck". "
Vogue Magazine". November 1997.] For "Impossible Princess", she took inspiration from Sednaoui and her own experiences as a celebrity. Minogue initially had a hard time embracing her past, looking back on it as a time of pain and confused embarrassment. [Baker and Minogue, Hodder and Stoughton, 2002. p 112.] Confronting her past helped her improve her confidence; she said "it was like I'd climbed Mount Everest, or jumped out of a plane. So many things that I had avoided for so long were right there. That was what Nick (Cave) was saying to me. 'It'll be brilliant. It'll confront all of your past, all in one fell swoop'. And he was right." ["Kylie Defeats Her Demons". "The Australian". September 1997.] In 1996, Minogue collaborated with members of the alternative musicband Manic Street Preachers. She first met with Manic Street Preachers' lead singer, James Dean Bradfieldat his home. She brought some lyrics she had written and he strummed a Tamla Motown-type track on his guitar. Bradfield later sent her a demo of "I Don't Need Anyone", which she loved, stating "it was so refreshing to hear something so different from what I had been working on. To have something so fresh come in that somebody else had been working on and taken control of, was a nice break for me.""That's Impossible, Princess!!". " Rolling Stone". January 1998.] Minogue gave Bradfield another two sets of lyrics. He took parts from each set and blended them together to create the album's lead single " Some Kind of Bliss".
The album became the first release to contain songs solely written by Minogue. Minogue composed the song "
Too Far" on a grand piano; additional instruments were added during production. Minogue wrote dozens of songs with various producers over a two-year period, many of which remain unreleased. After a set of lyrics were completed, she would record a vocal demo and evaluate the song's potential.
Minogue had greater freedom to make "Impossible Princess" sound as she wanted it to. Deconstruction's
A&Rdepartment had not been present for much of the recording, due to the poor health of its head, Pete Hadfield. [Baker and Minogue, Hodder and Stoughton, 2002. pp 113–114.] This left Minogue with creative control over the project. At first she believed that the album contained too many musical styles, but changed her mind, stating, "I thought, partly to justify it to myself, but mainly because it's the truth, that if I had a whole album that sounded like "Some Kind of Bliss", or a whole album that sounded like "Too Far", it would be a lie, because I'm all over the place as a person".
Album name and artwork
The name of the album is a reference to a book of
poetrywritten by Billy Childishtitled "Poems to Break the Hearts of Impossible Princesses". The book was given to Minogue as a gift by Nick Cave, and she has said that the poems summarized where she was at that time in her life. [Frances Whiting. "Princess Kylie on the Move". "Sunday Mail". 26 April 1998.] In the United Kingdom and Europe, the album's title was changed to "Kylie Minogue" following the death of Diana, Princess of Walesin August 1997. Minogue has since explained the name change: ["The Complete Kylie". "Cleo Magazine". November 1997.]
Minogue and Sednaoui wanted to create a special three-dimensional cover for a limited edition of "Impossible Princess" to represent Minogue's three-dimensional personality depicted on the album. The cover photo shoot ran for a week, with Minogue not leaving the studio until 3:00 or 4:00 a.m.. Shooting a cover in 3-D required multiple static
cameras and for Minogue to pose for long periods of time, which she quickly grew tired of.Baker and Minogue, Hodder and Stoughton, 2002. p. 114.] To achieve the background of swirling lights, Sednaoui dressed from head to toe in black, ran and jumped around Minogue with a kitchen light covered with plastic gels. Other photographs were taken at the shoot, but most remain unreleased. These pictures featured Minogue posing in front of castles and city backdrops, representing the many kingdoms of an impossible princess. The 3D cover was released in Japan in October 1997 and was accompanied by four limited edition postcards. [ [http://www.mixkylie.co.uk/discoworld.php?page=3&icons=on "Discography 1994–1998"] . MixKylie.co.uk. Retrieved 6 August 2007.]
The album received mixed reactions from international music
critics. "Billboard Magazine" described it as "stunning" and concluded that "it's a golden commercial opportunity for a major [record company] with vision and energy [to release it in the United States] . A sharp ear will detect a kinship between "Impossible Princess" and Madonna's hugely successful album, " Ray of Light". John Mangan, in a review for " The Age" said that the album "sounds right and constitutes another step in the right direction", praising the "moody trip-hop style" of "Jump" and the "funky hoe-down sound" of " Cowboy Style". [John Mangan. "Review of "Impossible Princess". " The Age". 1998.] "Who Magazine" in Australia compared Minogue's vocal style to a young Sinéad O'Connor, crediting her for her range in vocal styles displayed on the album. The magazine also commented that the album "sounds right and constitutes another step in the right direction" towards Minogue gaining credibility in the music industry, and rated the album eight out of ten stars. ["Review of "Impossible Princess". "Who Magazine". January 1998.]
In Britain, "
Music Week" gave the album a negative assessment, writing that "Kylie's vocals take on a stroppy edge...but not strong enough to do much". ["Review of "Impossible Princess". " Music Week". August 1997.] Ben Willmott, in a review for " NME", was less than impressed with the album and Minogue's musical direction, calling her "a total fraud" and "unconvincing". Willmott was also critical of Minogue's collaborations with James Dean Bradfield, calling "Some Kind of Bliss" "supremely irritating". He gave the album four out of ten stars in his review. [Ben Willmott. "Review of "Impossible Princess". " NME". September 1997.]
Chart performance and sales
"Impossible Princess" reached number four on the Australian albums chart and number one on the Australian Music Report chart in January 1998. [http://www.kylie.com/2006_site/music/impossible_princess.htm "Albums: "Impossible Princess"] . Kylie.com. Retrieved 5 August 2007.] It became the thirty-first best selling album of 1998 and was certified platinum for sales of 70,000 copies. [ [http://www.aria.com.au/pages/aria-charts-end-of-year-charts-top-100-albums-1998.htm "End Of Year Charts: Top 100 Albums 1998"] .
Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 6 August 2007.] [http://www.aria.com.au/pages/aria-charts-accreditations-albums-1998.htm "Accreditations: 1998 Albums"] . Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 6 August 2007.] In the United Kingdom, the album reached number ten and was certified silver in April 1998. [ [http://www.bpi.co.uk/platinum/platinumright.asp?rq=search_plat&r_id=27496 UK certification for "Impossible Princess"] . British Phonographic Industry. 1 April 1998. Retrieved 6 August 2007.] "Impossible Princess" became Minogue's fourth album to chart in Germany, where it peaked at number seventy-eight. The album reached number one in Israel, although it received limited promotion.
Some Kind of Bliss", the first single, became Minogue's least-successful lead singlerelease, reaching number twenty-two on the UK Singles Chart. [ [http://www.kylie.com/2006_site/music/some_kind_of_bliss.htm "Some Kind of Bliss"] . Kylie.com. Retrieved 7 August 2007.] Written with James Dean Bradfieldof the Manic Street Preachers, the song gave Minogue an edgier sound, with guitars taking the place of the drum machine beats heavily featured in her earlier efforts. [Review of "Some Kind of Bliss". " Music Week". 30 August 1997.] The single was released the week of Princess Diana's funeral and had to compete against Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997", which became the fastest-selling single in the UK, selling 658,000 copies in the UK on that day alone, and over 1.5 million copies in its first week and it would remain at number one for 5 weeks.
The second single "
Did It Again" featured an aggressive vocal style, with alternative and Eastern musical influences. ["Possibly, Princess". "HeadCleaner". 1998.] It became a top-twenty hit for Minogue in the UK and Australia. [ [http://www.kylie.com/2006_site/music/did_it_again.htm "Did It Again"] . Kylie.com. Retrieved 7 August 2007.] The song also featured a music video, directed by Pedro Romanhi. Minogue satirised her image in the video, in which four major incarnations of her career, "Indie Kylie", "Dance Kylie", "Sex Kylie", and "Cute Kylie", battled for supremacy.
"Breathe", the third single, reached the top twenty in the UK, and was moderately successful in other parts of the world, reaching number one in
Israeland the top forty in Australia. [ [http://www.kylie.com/2006_site/music/breath.htm "Breathe"] . Kylie.com. Retrieved 7 August 2007.] " Cowboy Style" was exclusively released as a single in Australia due to the success of Minogue's Intimate and Live concert tour.
Re-release bonus disc
The re-release of "Impossible Princess" includes a bonus disc of remixes and B-sides.
ales and Certifications
*Intimate and Live Tour – Minogue's concert tour in support of the album.
author=William Baker, Kylie Minogue
title=Kylie: La La La
publisher=Hodder & Stoughton
id=ISBN 0-340-73440-X Paperback version.
* [http://www.kylie.com/ Kylie.com] — official website.
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