10 Kylie Minogue singles that deserved better

With the hugely successful release of “Padam Padam,” pop princess Kylie Minogue has propelled herself right back into the mainstream, and it’s about padam time too! The lead single from her sixteenth studio album, Tension quickly became the song of the summer, and a worldwide padam-ic was declared. It resulted in a welcome and long overdue return to the UK Singles Chart for the pop icon too, marking her highest charting solo single (#8) since “All the Lovers” (#3) in 2010. 

But now, over thirty-five years into her career, it’s completely reasonable to expect the singer’s releases to be more geared towards album success, of which she’s enjoyed plenty. Her last four releases: Tension, Disco, Golden and Step Back in Time: The Definitive Collection all topped the UK Albums Chart, but in more recent years she hasn’t made the same impact on the Singles Chart, until now. 

The success of the now Grammy-nominated “Padam Padam” and follow-up single “Tension” has shown fans and critics alike that you just can’t write Kylie off. With that in mind, here are a few of her best singles that deserved to crack the UK Top 40, but never did.

Cowboy Style 

UK Chart Position: Not released in the UK

Album: Impossible Princess

Culminating her time at Deconstruction, Kylie released this edgy, Celtic pop track as her fourth and final single from Impossible Princess, but only in Australia! When really, it deserved world domination. While not the most commercially appealing or successful of her albums, Impossible Princess includes some of the singer’s most unique and interesting work. Indicative of this and continuing the departure from her mainstream pop beginnings, “Cowboy Style” oozes cool and should have seen her ride out this era in style. Yet, the song—and era as whole—were largely misunderstood, but the girls who get it, get it. 

Your Disco Needs You

UK Chart Position: #152

Album: Light Years

Ridiculously considered both “too gay” and “too campy” to be released in the UK—like those limits even exist for Kylie!—this undisputable anthem was utterly robbed of a fair run at the charts. But despite only being released internationally, it’s become Kylie’s most popular non-single in the UK, earning 20,000 downloads. As a fan favorite, Kylie has obviously performed it on several of her tours, blowing the roof off arenas worldwide every single time. If Parlophone had ANY sense they would have released it in the UK too, because it would have absolutely obliterated the charts. 


UK Chart Position: #96

Album: The Abbey Road Sessions

In 2012 Kylie released The Abbey Road Sessions, a sublime orchestral compilation album featuring reworked versions of her classic songs. “Flower” was the album’s only original song and became its lead single. Its disappointing chart performance was partly down to the fact that when pre-ordering the album it was given away as a free download, making it ineligible to chart until the album was released. It’s a shame, because the song is a wonderful showcase of Kylie’s versatility, seeing her briefly step away from her more high-energy pop hits to deliver a softer, more vulnerable ballad – stunning stuff! 


UK Chart Position: Did not chart

Album: Non-album single

Kylie Minogue, doing dubstep? Yes, you read that correctly. “Skirt” might just be the most uncharacteristically Kylie song that she’s ever done, and for the ambition alone, it deserved so much more. Its lack of an album to call home didn’t do it any favors, and much like parts of her Deconstruction era, it was clearly misunderstood. Its chaotic mixture of sounds is certainly quite jarring at first, but it’s an infectious earworm that’s such a grower. The dubstep drop into Kylie’s gorgeous chorus shouldn’t work, but it just does. Actually, looking back, it was too cool for the charts. 

I Was Gonna Cancel 

UK Chart Position: #59

Album: Kiss Me Once

The second single from Kiss Me Once was written and produced by Pharrell Williams, and you can hear his influence all over it. It’s a funky, disco bop that truly stands out amongst the album’s eclectic sounds. Yet, this slight stylistic deviation didn’t quite connect with Kylie’s fans or the public. Thankfully the song was later used for a lip sync on Drag Race Season 7 and thereby introduced to many who originally missed it upon its unfairly underwhelming release. Miss RuPaul really said “Justice for I’m Gonna Cancel,” and she was right to do so!

Music’s Too Sad Without You 

UK Chart Position: Did not chart 

Album: Golden

As the princess of pop, Kylie is rightfully renowned for her upbeat, camp classics. However, she’s more than capable of delivering a beautiful ballad too, as she proved, not for the first time, with her fifth single from Golden. This mellow collaboration with Jack Savorretti compliments and contrasts the more high-energy country pop that’s characteristic of Golden, giving listeners a taste of the album’s softer side, which really is worth exploring. The pair’s voices blend together so beautifully and create a duet that deserved so much more than the tumbleweed response it was met with on release. 

New York City 

UK Chart Position: Did not chart

Album: Step Back in Time: The Definitive Collection

The only original song from Kylie’s most comprehensive greatest hits album, Step Back in Time: The Definitive Collection, sounds like it was written in five minutes, but honestly, who cares!? It’s simple, catchy and SO feel good. It will make you want to book a trip to the iconic US city and prance around like the most annoying tourist ever! She performed it on her Golden tour during a Studio 54 inspired disco medley, alongside “Raining Glitter” and “On a Night Like This,” causing crowds everywhere to ascend. Pity those who slept on it won’t be seeing heaven though!

Say Something 

UK Chart Position: #56

Album: Disco

The arrival of Kylie’s album Disco during lockdown in 2020 truly did more to get us through the pandemic than any politician did. The album’s lead single has a rich, mesmeric quality to it that really set the tone for the dreamlike euphoria of her Disco era. Obviously she couldn’t tour this album, but Kylie did bless us with Infinite Disco, a livestream concert during which she sang the single alongside a choir and wow, what a moment! Its failure to break the UK Top 40 only served as further confirmation of the severe lack of taste many suffered during this time. 

Kiss of Life 

UK Chart Position: Did not chart

Album: DISCO: Guest List Edition

A collaboration between Kylie Minogue and Jessie Ware was long overdue, and when the real-life besties finally got together for a song on reissue, Disco: The Guest List Edition, the results were even more fab than expected. Their playful mixture of vocals work in perfect harmony with the song’s synthy hook and groovy beat. And if that wasn’t enough, they also delivered a music video for the ages, full of fashion, fun, and farce. They really said “Oh you want camp? We’ll give you CAMP.” And what did we give the song back in return? NOTHING! We should all be ashamed. 

10 Out of 10

UK Chart Position: Did not chart

Album: Tension

While “Padam Padam” was the official lead single for Tension, it actually wasn’t the first song we heard from the album. For that, Kylie collaborated with DJ Oliver Heldens and together they delivered this total dance-pop dream. Heldens brings a commercial, modern feel to the production, while Kylie’s vocals give it that powerful, sexy edge that all the best female pop bangers boast. Its chorus is high camp, combined with an irresistible beat that should have seen the song strut its way right up the charts. The scores are in: full marks. ♦

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