Dannii Minogue and London Records are celebrating the 20th anniversary of arguably Dannii’s most successful album ‘Neon Nights’ with a whole raft of new versions of the album and some gorgeous merchandise (the slipmat is genius!). Dannii has also commissioned some brand new remixes for the reissue and you can listen to Initial Talk’s new mix of her Top 5 hit ‘Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling’ below:
I already revisited the classic album 5 years ago, so to mark the 20th anniversary I’m ranking each track on the original album from 15 to 1. Will you agree with my choices? Read on and let us know your rankings @entfocus.
15A Piece of Time
Let’s start by saying that this is by no means a bad song, but someone has to be last on my list unfortunately! This is one of three tracks on the album written by Dannii with members of French indie rock band Neïmo; Bruno Alexandre, Camille Troillard and Matthieu Joly. On paper that doesn’t sound like a good mix for an electro-pop album, but the results speak for themselves. This track definitely borrows from the 80s and plays with cutting up Dannii’s vocal to interesting effect.
I always see this track as almost a pair with ‘Creep’ as the album’s darker moments. Co-written by Dannii alongside Ian Masterson and Terry Ronald, ‘Push’ is a throbbing 80s electro-pop number that samples ‘White Horse’ by Danish duo Laid Back (released in 19830. Listen to that track below:
13On The Loop
The second of the Neïmo tracks is an energetic bop which again utilises a slight glitchy vocal style. Bruno from Neimo recently revealed on the Minogue-loving podcast This is Disco, that rather than sampling a 70s funk track, Neimo decided to write their own funk track which they then sped up and cut up into pieces to create the backing track. Terry Ronald suggested the song should be called ‘On The Loop’ based on the loop sample they’d created, and it stuck!
Another track that makes great use of a sample (1981’s jazzy ‘Thighs High’ by Tom Browne), this is a summery bop that sees Dannii hitting the high notes vocally. The track was cowritten and produced by Gil Cang who’s love of reggae music is clearly evident in this breezy track, but prior to this track he’d also had a hand in tracks for Aswad, Michael Jackson, Billie Piper and more.
11It Won’t Work Out
The only ballad on the album is the sublime ‘It Won’t Work Out’ which closes out the album. Written by Dannii with Ian and Terry, it’s an emotional break up song that could well have been in contention as a single as a Ross Cullum single mix turned up on 2007’s ‘Unleashed’ compilation.
This one hits hard with it’s blend of industrial sounds, hard beats and whispery vocals that build to a big chorus. Written by Dannii with Swedish producers Korpi and Blackcell with Kaz Poole (one half of Alisha’s Attic) as one of a three tracks that made the album; the others being ‘For The Record’ and ‘Put The Needle On It’.
The most risque song on the album, allegedly about the vibrations you get from a speaker when music is playing….hmmm. Dannii wrote this with songwriter (and future X Factor vocal coach), Savan Kotecha and it sees her having fun on a rap in the middle 8 that’s definitely a lot saucier than ‘We ain’t at McDonalds, so what’s your beef?’!
Another fine slice of upbeat electro-pop, ‘Mystified’ has one of the catchiest choruses on the album. It’s another Dannii, Ian and Terry collaboration and lyrically deals with rumours that your lover is cheating and not being honest.
7Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling
The final Neïmo track and the fourth and final single to be lifted from the album is ‘Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling’ which showcases the poppier side of the album. Upon release a bootleg version which mashed up the song with Madonna’s ‘Into The Groove’ was released. It’s the first time Madonna had given her permission for one of her songs to be sampled and it contains Madonna’s vocal line of “Now I know you’re mine”.
6For The Record
For me there were two better choices for the final single that also showcase the album’s more pop songs. ‘For The Record’ is one of them; a joyous, uplifting, playful track about being smitten with someone. It’s another track Dannii wrote with Korpi & Blackcell and Kaz Poole.
5Come and Get It
A hidden track on the album, this dance pop track was written by Dannii with Jean-Claude Ades and Hannah Robinson(Rachel Stevens/Annie). Jean-Claude is the man behind ‘I Begin To Wonder’ and he worked his magic again here with this light, floaty dance number that was given a limited promo run in his native Germany under JCA featuring Dannii Minogue.
4Hey! (So What)
One of only three songs that Dannii didn’t have a hand in writing on the album, this is a slinky, flirtatious track written by Hannah Robinson and production duo Jewels & Stone that screamed out for single treatment in my opinion. The latter would go on to work with Dannii again on tracks ‘I Can’t Sleep At Night’ and ‘Sunrise’ for ‘Hits and Beyond’ (also on ‘Club Disco’).
3Put The Needle On It
The first proper single from the project, ‘Put The Needle On It’ firmly set the tone for the electro-funk of the album. It peaked at No.7 on the Official UK Singles Chart and saw Dannii reveal a new look with short cropped brunette hair with just a hint of blonde in the video as she spins on a giant record.
2Who Do You Love Now?
The song that made the entire project a possibility! Dannii was shocked and extremely flattered when DJ Pete Tong approached her to put vocals to dance track ‘Stringer’ by Riva that was blowing up the clubs. Dannii happily accepted and it gave her a new chart best when it peaked at No.3 in the UK and saw London Records offering her an album deal.
1I Begin To Wonder
The top 3 could all have been the No.1 choice here, but there’s something about ‘I Begin To Wonder’ that just hit at the perfect time for Dannii. It narrowly missed out on becoming her first No.1 single when it peaked on release at No.2 but has gone on to become her signature song. It also received the mash up treatment thanks to an official mix featuring Dead or Alive’s ‘You Spin Me Round’.
A special mention to some of the b-sides in this era (which appear on the upcoming 21 track album too), with ‘Goodbye Song’ and ‘Hide and Seek’ single worthy contenders for me.
‘Neon Nights’ 20th Anniversary editions will be released on 12th June. You can pre-order it now.
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