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Impossible Princess

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Impossible Princess
Studio album by Kylie Minogue
Released 1 November 1997 (1997-11-01)
Recorded October 1995 - May 1997;
Dave and Ingo's Place, DMC Studios, Mayfair Studios, Real World Studios, Roundhouse, Sarm East Studios, Sarm West Studios, Spike Studios
Length 49:57
Kylie Minogue chronology
Kylie Minogue
Impossible Princess
Light Years
Alternative cover
Limited edition three-dimensional album cover
Singles from Impossible Princess
  1. "Some Kind of Bliss"
    Released: September 1997
  2. "Did It Again"
    Released: November 1997
  3. "Breathe"
    Released: February 1998
  4. "Cowboy Style"
    Released: August 1998

Impossible Princess is the sixth studio album by Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue released on 1 November 1997 by Deconstruction Records. Minogue collaborated with new record producers and composers for the album, including Dave Ball, Ingo Vauk, Brothers in Rhythm, Manic Street Preachers and Rob Dougan. Deconstruction's A&R department had not been present for much of the recording due to Hadfield's poor health. This left Minogue with partial creative control over the project. The album took over two years to finish, making it her longest project ever penned by Minogue since her success as Charlene Mitchell in TV soap opera Neighbours.

The album's music is a departure from Minogue's previous work, focusing on dance music and infuses strong elements of trip-hop, rock and drum and bass. This became Minogue's first musical effort to contributed on all the lyrics and composition of the album.[2] Minogue traveled around the world writing song lyrics, and had centered on several concepts including her relationship with French photographer Stéphane Sednaoui, self evaluation, friendship and taking risks.

Upon release, Impossible Princess received mixed reviews. British critics in particular criticized the album's composition and Minogue's attempt in furthering her songwriting and production credibility. However, critics outside of the United Kingdom commended the production and lyrical content. In its first week of release, the album entered at number four on the Australian Albums Chart and number one on the Australian Music Report chart in January 1998, and was certified Platinum. The album became her lowest charting studio album in the UK, having peaked at ten. The album was supported by the Intimate and Live concert tour.

Minogue promoted the album by releasing a series of tracks, including "Some Kind of Bliss", "Did It Again" and "Breathe". The album has been recognized as one of Minogue's greatest triumphs and a big step forward in terms of musical composition. A remastered edition of Impossible Princess with title reinstated, was issued by BMG in 2003 with a bonus disc of remixes and B-sides. The album has received retrospective acclaim from critics and recognition, calling it one of the most underrated albums in pop history.


Kylie Minogue left London-based PWL in 1992 after British tabloids accused the staff of PWL for creating "cheap" and "dated" music for other artists on the label.[3] Minogue signed a three-album deal with British dance label Deconstruction Records in order to achieve further creative credibility in her music.[4][5] Minogue released her first self-titled album through Deconstruction in fall 1994 and received mixed reception from music critics.[6] The album peaked inside the top three in Australia and sold over two million copies worldwide as of April 2007.[6][7]

In early 1995, Minogue recorded the song "Where the Wild Roses Grow", a duet with Australian rock musician Nick Cave. Cave had been interested in working with Minogue since hearing "Better the Devil You Know" (April 1990), saying it contained "one of pop music's most violent and distressing lyrics".[8] It achieve critical acclaim from many of Minogue's fiercest critics, who praised her transition from being the once-dubbed "singing budgie" to a mature woman.[9]

Minogue began a personal relationship with French photographer Stéphane Sednaoui.[10] Together they embarked on a series of trips across the United States and South East Asia. The experience with Sendaoui made Minogue feel comfortable to express her own creativity and talent.[10] Sednaoui also introduced her to the work of musicians including Björk, Shirley Manson and her band Garbage, Towa Tei and the band U2, all of whom would influence the musical styles on Impossible Princess.[10] In an interview published by NME, Minogue felt that she trusted his judgement in being more experimental and having more creative control.[11]

Recording and production[edit]

Minogue performing the songs on her Anti-Tour.

Returning from her trips, Minogue started writing lyrics and explored the form and meaning of sentences.[12] She had written lyrics before, but described them as "safe, just neatly rhymed words".[13] Each morning, Minogue would present lyrics to Seaman from the night before.[11] During her first sessions with Brothers in Rhythm, Minogue began recording rough demos in Bath, England and completed a track "You're the One" which didn't make the album.[11][14] Minogue, Seaman and Anderson then wrote "Dreams" but scrapped the song from the project; she revealed it was "at the top of the pile, just hanging around."[15][16]

Bradfield contacted Minogue's A&R Pete Hadfield, asking him what their current project was where Hadfield replied "Kylie Minogue's new album". He asked Hadfield if he could work with Minogue and was approved.[17] When Bradfield sent her a demo of "I Don't Need Anyone", she loved it instantly; "it was so refreshing to hear something so different [...] To have something so fresh come in that somebody else had been working on and taken control of, was a nice break for me."[11][18] Minogue said Deconstruction did not force her in changing her "girl-next-door" persona and allowed her to naturally change.[19] Minogue's view on Impossible Princess was to be taken seriously as an artist and songwriter.[16] Though she was reluctant in being in charge of the album, she reaffirmed "It's my album more than ever ... it's the album I've had most to do with."[16] She believed that her new image would receive a positive approach to many of the public and fans, by not confining herself to a "pigeonhole".[16]

Minogue felt each song had its "own Kylie persona" and wanted the album to be her most personal effort.[20] She told Australian TV presenter Richard Wilkins from Entertainment Tonight in 1998; "[...] It's been the most exciting time to be able to write my own lyrics, my own songs and watch these songs grow and morph into this and that and in what I'm really pleased with".[20] Impossible Princess took nearly two years to record, becoming the longest period of time Minogue had worked on a project since her time acting on the Australian soap opera Neighbours (from 1986 to 1988).[2] Anderson later explained that its lengthy time was "due to the pure perfectionism of all creatively involved".[14]


The song contains an aggressive vocal style, with alternative and Eastern musical influences.

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Minogue participated in co-producing and co-composing certain tracks off Impossible Princess.[20] Several songs employ live instrumentation where Minogue commented; "I was joking with [James Dean Brafield] 'Oh my god, every instrument is a real instrument, I don't think I've ever had this before!"[21] She felt it was unusual because she was familiar with the use of synthesizers.[21] Minogue attended all music sessions from start to finish.[22] During the middle of the album sessions, she often turned up late and asked several questions because she wanted more information on how to produce, composed and "change and distort" songs.[22]

Impossible Princess takes influence of mid-1990 music to the extent where Chris True from Allmusic said the album had been influenced by the rapid 1990s change of techno, informally dubbed as "Techno Revolution".[23] Minogue cited The Verve, The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, The Eels and the "British music scene" as influences.[24] It combines trip-hop,[1][25] techno,[23][26] britpop,[27][28] pop music, indie rock[26] and dance music. Marcel Anders from Orkus felt though the album includes guitar-based tracks, "Most tracks are still very dancefloor oriented."[28] Music critic Michael R. Smith from the noted the techno elements,[26] while a reviewer from Classic Pop Magazine found influences of 1990s britpop. Digital Spy critic Nick Levine felt the album was "all over the dance-pop shop".[25] Minogue recognized the album as a pop and dance album.[29]

Minogue viewed the composition of "Say Hey" as a late night or early morning track.[30] "I Don't Need Anyone" was the album's most straightforward and solid indie rock track.[31] "Jump" is a downbeat trip-hop track[27] while "Breathe" utilizes slow dance music.[25] Minogue composed the bridge section of the track by using a synthesizer.[32] "Drunk" is a trance-inspired song that features elements of dance-pop and electronica was compared to songs from Madonna's album Ray of Light, retrospectively.[1]

"Cowboy Style" fuses folk pop and Middle eastern music while "Through the Years" was compared to Björk's single "Venus as a Boy" for its trip-hop music.[25][1] "Some Kind of Bliss" provided Minogue with an edgier sound, with guitars taking the place of the drum machine beats heavily featured on her earlier efforts.[33] The fourth track "Did It Again" used a similar approach and uses electric guitars, drums, acoustic guitars and keyboards.[9] "Too Far" and "Limbo" are "schizophrenic" drum and bass songs that feature elements of rock music; they are recognized as one of Minogue's "toughest club cuts" to date.[25]

Lyrical depiction[edit]

"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."[18]

—Minogue talking about the musical genres off Impossible Princess.

Minogue is credited as the co-writer to all the songs on the album.[14] Minogue revealed to Mag UK that writing the lyrics to all the songs was an easy process by saying "[..] It was really easy ... I started lots of diary's and burnt them all, I just made a mistake by going back through them and think 'Oh my god that's really bad.'"[34]

"Too Far" wrote the song at a local cafe she regularly visited.[35] "Breathe" was written at a point where Minogue felt calm, often saying "I'm thinking" in order to concentrate what really was going on in her mind.[36] "Dreams" talks about Minogue pushing boundaries.[37] "Limbo" talks about Minogue's frustration that she could not see anyone outside a certain country due to bureaucracy laws, which was rumored to be about Sednaoui who lived in France.[38] The lyrics were originally worded differently but the final result was scrapped.[38]

Her relationship with Sednaoui (and previous relationships) served as a core theme to the album.[39] "Cowboy Style" talked about Minogue becoming comfortable with Sednaoui. William Baker, who to this day is Minogue's second creative director, felt the song was inspired by Middle Eastern culture and mysticism.[40] "Say Hey" talks about Minogue's communication with Sednaoui.[30] "Drunk" talks about wanting satisfaction from Sednaoui. She commented the she wanted Sednaoui to "take all off her" and "not some of her."[41] "Through the Years" was the only song on the album that talked about her previous relationships with other men. She revealed that seeing an ex-boyfriend made her "churn out lyrics" to the song.[42]

Minogue's status as a celebrity was a source of inspiration on the album.[43] On "Did It Again", Minogue is telling herself off for "doing things again and again" and themes include self-consciousness.[44] Some critics favored how Minogue portrayed herself in the video to create an image of insecurities, basing on both the four Kylie's and the lyrical content.[45] "Some Kind of Bliss" is about her being happy and said "To me [the song] is about being able, not necessarily shut your eyes and feel that someone is there but they way where you are close to someone [...] the ability to feel like they're with you even if they are a million miles away." "Jump" is about accepting who she is and who she wants to be.[46]

Packaging and title[edit]

The album sleeve was designed and photographed by Sednaoui.[47] The cover artwork features Minogue inside a cut cone that is projected by color lighting, with no title or name imprinted on the cover.[48] The original photoshoot was shot in a blue and yellow hue but was change.[48] Sednaoui was inspired by the Japanese and French pop culture,[49] and identified Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki as an inspiration at the time.[49] To prepare for the video for "GBI: German Bold Italic", Minogue and Baker traveled to New York City to find unique kimono outfits. They both found a kimono in Greenwich Village but asked the owner to help her into the costume as Minogue found it difficult to wear.[49] Minogue's makeup artist for the video was Paul Starr, who was inspired by traditional geisha and New Romantic era. The video remained unreleased until the song was released in October 1998.[49]

"I've lived with that title for two years and I had already done a lot of press talking about the name, but after the tragedy of Diana occurred we had to rethink. [...] I don't want to be constantly explaining or upsetting people. So we've taken the name off for now, but I'd like to keep the option for putting it back in the future."[50]

—Minogue talking about the name change and death of Princess Diana.

Minogue cited the book Memoirs of a Geisha as an influence for the shoot. Sednaoui likened her as a combination of a geisha and manga heroine which resembled the interpretation of femininity; "powerful, dynamic, seductive and entrancing, yet somehow masked and tied to the invisible bonds of her own tradition - her pop celebrity life."[51] Manga art became the main theme for the album photoshoot.[51] Many of Baker's friends had supplied Minogue with latex catsuits and silicon breasts for the shoot to create a lifelike anime character but Minogue refused to wear them.

The 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 she grew tired of posing for long periods of time.[52] The background of swirling lights was achieved by Sednaoui, who was dressed in black-out suit. Minogue was dressed in a blue and dotted Véronique Leroy mini dress.[53] Minogue recalled "The shoot was so very difficult but we knew that once we got it right it would be amazing."[53] Sednaoui believed that Minogue had a lot of positive energy through the shoot, writing "[...] all the other shoots we did were always fun and easy ..."[53]

Some unreleased photos were featured in Minogue's books but most remain unpublished. Some show Minogue in front of castles and city backdrops, representing the many kingdoms of an impossible princess.[52] The 3D cover was first released in Japan and was accompanied by four limited edition postcards.[54] Minogue sported a dark, indie-rock image for the cover of "Did It Again".[55] The title references Poems to Break the Harts of Impossible Princesses (1994) by Billy Childish. It was given to Minogue as a gift by Cave; she said its poems summarized where she was at that time in her life.[56] She recalled "The first time I saw the name Impossible Princess, It had me written all over it."[16] She elaborated "It is practically about everything, even impossible things - The desires to have all my sense full, to experience life in the most possible way. "[16] Due to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in August 1997, the title was changed to Kylie Minogue for the UK and the rest of Europe.[57]


Deconstruction planned to release a lead single in January 1997. Hadfield was concerned with the lack of single choices because he didn't believe they were up to commercial standards.[51] This led to reproducing new music and sounds to make the album "perfect", and a potential January release was postponed until May.[51] Hadfield was unimpressed with the new improvements and a potential May release and a back-up September release were all scrapped.[51] Minogue was concerned about Deconstruction postponing the album by commenting; "I've told not to be frustrated, but I was frustrated because the album should be out [...] The point of it is to get it out and maybe people will like it, they may love it or they might hate it, but it was in my hands."[16] Minogue's Australian-based record label Mushroom decided to broadcast six of the twelve songs on the album through Australian airplay, while Deconstruction issued an extended play with six tracks.[58]

Impossible Princess was released on November 1, 1997 in Japan and Taiwan by BMG with the bonus track "Tears".[54][59] The album was postponed in the Oceania and Europe regions after the death of Princess Diana. Mushroom had released the album in Australia and New Zealand in February 1998 and Deconstruction released the album in the UK. Customers who bought the album at Australian electronic store HMV received a free extended play that featured six unreleased songs. Deconstruction changed their decision of the release and replaced it with a new EP that featured three new tracks.[60] Minogue told Billboard that she and Deconstruction had plans to release the album in North America.[61] Minogue contemplated in using one of her magazine appearances as the US cover for the album, but Deconstruction called off the plans after they failed to find an American label to promote it.[62]


Indie Kylie, Dance Kylie, Sex Kylie and Cute Kylie in the video for "Did It Again"

The album's lead single "Some Kind of Bliss" was released physically on 8 September 1997.[63][64] The song received negative reviews from most music critics, who slated the production values and Minogue's transition to rock music.[65] The song charted at twenty-seven in Australia, forty-six in New Zealand and twenty-four in the UK.[66] A music video was shot for the single, which features Minogue and her lover running away from the police. "Did it Again" was released physically on 24 November of that year as the second single.[67] The song received favorable reviews from music critics, many whom highlighted it as an album standout. The song peaked inside the top twenty in both Australia and the UK.[68] Minogue satirised her image in the songs music video, in which four major incarnations of her career, "Indie Kylie", "Dance Kylie", "Sex Kylie", and "Cute Kylie", battled for supremacy.[68]

"Breathe" was released physically in February 1998 as the third single, and final single with Deconstruction. The song received positive reviews from music critics, who commended the production and composition; many whom highlighted that as an album standout.[25] The song reached the top twenty in the UK, as well as the top thirty in Australia. The song reached number one in Israel.[69] A music video was shot for the single, which features Minogue inside an airspace with lighting and spiraling effects. The album's last single "Cowboy Style" was an Australian-only single released on 18 August 1998 by Mushroom. The song achieved positive reviews from music critics, who likened her metaphorically twisted lyrical content. The song peaked at number thirty-nine on the Australian Singles Chart.[70] A music video was shot for the single, which features Minogue performing live on her Intimate and Live tour in Australia.

The album's opener "Too Far" was released as the album's first and only promotional single.[43][71] The song was contemplated on being the lead single for the album by Steve Anderson. After "Some Kind of Bliss'" release, Deconstruction Records released "Too Far" as a promotional single in the United Kingdom and the United States as a radio format and vinyl.[71] The song receieved critical acclaim from music critics, who felt it was a highlighted in both the album and Minogue's back catalog. The song did not chart or receive an accompanying music video.

Concert tour[edit]

Minogue embarked a promotional tour in the Oceanic region in October 1997. Minogue performed in Singapore and then followed with Australian state capitals Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide. Next was Auckland and she finished off in Hong Kong. After the albums European release, she went on to promote the album with concert gigs in Norway, Denmark and Holland. Minogue embarked an Australian and European tour Intimate and Live, which spanned from 2 June 1998 to 8 July 1998. Minogue started rehearsing for the tour while she was asked to perform at the 1998 Sydney Mardi Gras in January.[72] The production made for the tour was on a lower budget than her previous tours, only to give it more off a "special and unique" atmosphere. She decided to have it low budget so she could establish more risks in her performances rather than have a production bigger than her.[72]

Kylie and Baker had started drawing stage concepts of how the tour would look like and wanted it to reflect onto the album's personal meaning.[72] Objects in the album's content, including the "K" symbol and the multi-coloured cone had been featured on the tour. During the tour, Minogue was accompanied by only two dancers (David Scotchford and Ashley Wallen) and a backing group – mainly John Farnham's band members – with added backing vocalists. Despite initial plans not to take the show outside of Australia, she decided to extend it into Europe due to high demand.[72] From the supporting album, Minogue performed "Too Far", "Some Kind of Bliss", "Breathe", "Cowboy Style", "Say Hey", "Drunk", "Did It Again", "Limbo" and unreleased track "Free". The live album with the same name was released on 30 November 1998 in Australia and the live DVD with the same name was released in July 2002.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[23] (Positive)[73]
Classic Pop Magazine (Positive)[27]
The Daily Vault (A-)[26]
Digital Spy 4/5 stars[25]
FasterLouder 5/5 stars[74]
NME 4/10[65]
Q 2/5 stars[57]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[1]
Who 8/10[75]

Impossible Princess received generally positive reviews from music critics. Billboard‍ '​s Larry Flick described the album as "stunning", concluding that "[i]t'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."[76] Chris True of Allmusic called it "a pretty damn good record" and opined, "Unlike [Minogue's] early work, this album sounds stronger and has a more natural feel. Her songwriting abilities have come a long way, and Impossible Princess actually flows together as an album."[23] Sarah Smith from FasterLouder said the album is one of the most adventurous pop albums of the '90s. She felt the album "defied critics' expectations of Kylie, who for the first (and last) time in her career left "the real Kylie" fully exposed."[74]

Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine was impressed with the album's "starkly personal and unified cord". He noted the album found her "stretching herself way beyond anything she had done before (or anything she has done since)" and "is the work of an artist willing to take risks, not a pop queen concerned with preserving her reign."[1] Levine from Digital Spy commended the album for being her most "intriguing" album of her career. Levine wrote that although the content mismatches at times, "it's a key piece in the trickier-than-you-think jigsaw puzzle that is Kylie Minogue's recording career."[25] While review her album X, Evan Sawdey from PopMatters critically praised the album in saying "For those who still have a copy of her Manic Street Preachers-assisted [Impossible Princess], then you have one of the most crazed, damn-near perfect dance-pop albums ever created."[77]

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".[78] A reviewer from Australian magazine Who compared Minogue's singing to a young Sinéad O'Connor, praising her range in vocal styles. The author also commented that it was a major step towards her gaining credibility in the music industry.[75]> Smith from The Daily Vault cited it as the singer's best album; his positive review continued: "Impossible Princess was a giant step forward for Kylie. She may have overshot her mark [...] and since this one she has returned to the predictable, safe dance music that she is known for."[26]

The album was generally criticized for the albums over production and musical shift. Ben Willmott of NME slammed the entire work and Minogue's musical direction, branding her "a total fraud" that was "unconvincing". Specifically, he lambasted her collaborations with Bradfield, panning "Some Kind of Bliss" as "supremely irritating".[65] A reviewer from the publication Music Week was less than impressed, writing that "Kylie's vocals take on a stroppy edge ... but not strong enough to do much".[79] Listing their best Kylie songs, a reviewer from said "[Impossible Princess] remains Kylie watershed moment creatively. Recorded over two years and free from many record company restrictions pushing her here and there, the resulting LP remains Kylie at her most pure."[80]


Impossible Princess was noteworthy in many award ceremonies. It was nominated three times at the ARIA Music Awards, for "Album of the Year", "Best Female Artist" and "Best Pop Release", which lost respectively, and the two singles; "Did It Again" and "Cowboy Style" was nominated for "Single of the Year" and "Best Female Artist" respectively.[81][82] This became her first album to be nominated for Album of the Year by the organisation. Sarah Smith from FasterLouder rated the album at number five on their The Most Underrated Albums of All Time, saying "Why Madonna's [Ray Of Light] was acclaimed for pushing these boundaries at the very same moment [Impossible Princess] was maligned for it, is confusing, but perhaps best explained by the music media's ongoing narrative of these two singers: Madonna is meant to challenge, Kylie, to smile, pout and spin round."[74] Slant Magazine included the album on their Vital Pop: 50 Essential Pop Albums list in June 2003.[83]

At the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, Minogue won the International Viewer's Choice Awards (Australian entry) for "Did It Again".[84] That same year, Minogue was awarded an special achievement award from the Government of Australia for her contribution towards Australia's Music Exports.

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted and peaked at number four on the ARIA Albums Chart and number one on the Australian Music Report chart in January 1998.[85][86] It became the highest debuting album on the top 50 chart for the week.[87] It dropped to eight for two consecutive weeks, unable to reach a higher position and descended out of the chart on the week end 26 April 1998 for fourteen weeks. It re-entered at number forty and managed to enter back inside the top ten, staying there for three non-consecutive weeks and stayed in the albums chart for thirty-five weeks in the top fifty (including three separate stays in the Top 10 during its run) making it Minogue's longest-charting album at that point.[85] It became the thirty-first best-selling album of 1998 and was certified Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments of 70,000 copies.[88][89]

In the UK, it entered the UK Albums Chart at number ten on 4 April 1998. Despite being higher than her previous album Let's Get To It, which reached number fifteen, it descended its way out and had a duration of four weeks.[90][91] Despite the higher charting peak, Impossible Princess is Minogue's worst selling studio album in the UK. Publications in the United Kingdom pointed out that the lack of devoted promotion with a tour was a benefit of low sales, along with Minogue's radical change through the media industry, who criticised her appearance and the material on the record.[43][92] After a year of its release, UK Virgin Radio mocked the sales of the album along with Minogue's concepts, stating: "We've done something to improve Kylie's records: we've banned them."[93]


Impact and recognition[edit]

Impossible Princess was considered to be an example of Minogue's constant "reinventions" and is recognized as her most personal and experimental album to date.[94][95] British tabloids had often referred her to as "Indie Kylie" for her musical transition, but Minogue commented that she always disliked being dubbed Indie Kylie.[11] Critics believed Impossible Princes was her biggest leap forward in terms of musical composition. Chris True from Allmusic examined that "She recruits Manic Street Preachers' James Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore, and Nicky Wire, starts writing unaided, and completely changes musical direction. Enter Kylie Minogue's Impossible Princess. From the trippy cover art to the abundance of guitars and experimental vocal tracks, this was her "great leap forward."[23]

Minogue's portrayals in "Did it Again" was well-received from critics. During an interview with Jetstar Airways magazine, journalist Simon Price stated that the four different Kylies were brilliantly satirised in the video.[96] Baker commented that "Many of Kylie's fans still regard Impossible Princess as their favourite album, a sentiment shared by many who worked with her ... Even at its release it was received rather well by the critics - but the public was not apparently willing to accept a darker, more serious Kylie.[92] Tom Parker, who wrote the liner notes for the special edition of Impossible Princess, wrote that "One listen proves that [Impossible Princess] is not, as is often suggested, the morose antithesis to Kylie's trademark disco music - it is as full of life and love as many of her greatest hits." He concluded that "Arguably, Kylie's strength has always been her talent for reinvention, [...] and with its intended title finally restored, Impossible Princess remains as one of her greatest triumphs."[43]

Minogue commented in retrospect that she was ready to "forget the painful criticism" and "accept the past, embrace it, use it".[97] Alan McGee from The Observer called her "Self-realized Kylie" and felt that she had been fighting her previous egos to be taken seriously, "[But] Sadly, Kylie Minogue lost the battle and Impossible Princess bombed. She was written off again."[98] Michael Paoletta from Billboard said that it is her most misunderstood album in her discography, praising her self-penned tracks "Too Far" and "Say Hey".[99]

Portrayal in media backlash[edit]

"The move got her in the papers, but, unfortunately, critical acclaim was lacking (and so were sales). Critics called it a mistake, and the public was less than impressed. Which is sad because it is a pretty damn good record."[23]

-Chris True from Allmusic on his views of the medias depiction of Impossible Princess.

Minogue and Impossible Princess were largely criticized in the UK.[16][100] Many articles criticized the singers serious image and often embarrassed her by publishing stories of the low sales the album received.[100] Minogue's fan base were less than impressed by the result of Impossible Princess and her image as Indie Kylie.[23][101] Willmoth said that Minogue's new persona as "Indie Kylie" was total "fraud-like" and felt that the only persona that will ever suit her is "Sex Kylie".[65] Classic Pop magazine said that "[Impossible Princess] still divides Kylie's fanbase into two comps. One half regards the album as a bold artistic statement that strips away the veneer of the pop princess, while the other half sees it as a pretentious vanity project that almost ended her career."[27]

In February 1998, American singer Madonna released her album Ray of Light. The album received positive reviews and sold 20 million units worldwide.[102][103] Many critics had constantly compared, and likened Ray of Light over Impossible Princess. R. Smith questioned whether both albums had been influenced similar in coincidence or whether Impossible Princess had copied other artists and Ray of Light served a more superior outcome.[26] He felt Impossible Princess deserved a better fate than it did.[26] Allmusic commented about the negative publicity saying "The album, soon retitled Kylie Minogue in England due to the death of Princess Diana, was successful, but her attempt at developing her sound met firm resistance critically, with many radio stations and journalists writing her off, figuring her career had run its course."[100]

Adrian Denning said it contained the biggest misconception in going "Indie Kylie" and eventually concluded "So, a brave yet flawed album? An inconsistent album? Well, both of those things but also a transitional album that had to be made. Once Kylie had put in such a performance creatively, make no mistake about this being her album, there was no turning back, really."[104] The album became Minogue's lowest selling album to date in the United Kingdom but withheld being her lowest in Australia, which became her most successful album since her debut album.[6] Tim Jonze opined that Minogue going back to pop music and disco in her 2000 album Light Years saved her career if she did another album similar to Impossible Princess.[105]

Reaction by Minogue[edit]

Minogue denounced the release of "Some Kind of Bliss". She commented "I think the static was that Elton John had 75 percent of the sales that week, so mine didn't get off at a good start."[16] She felt regret for parting with Stock Aitken Waterman because her work with her current production team did not go well.[16] Deconstruction revealed that they would drop Minogue if sales did not increase,[106] Deconstruction Records had lost a strong profit from income sales of the album and Minogue said she did not enjoy this. Minogue contemplated retirement due to the overwhelming failure of the campaign, saying "I have no qualifications, what else am I suppose to do?"[16]

Minogue talked about Impossible Princess with Billboard while she was promoting Light Years. She believed that the press branding her "Indie Kylie" scared off her fans, saying "The press had a bit of a field day with it, calling me 'Indie Kylie' and such, which I think people were scared off."[107] She described the era and project as a "bit of a purge."[107] She has since stated that while at the time Impossible Princess was strong, "I've gotten stronger and more focused since that album."[107]

Impossible Princess was Minogue's last album with both Deconstruction Records and distribution label Sony BMG. She released a press statement to AAP in Australia stating "I am no longer with Deconstruction Records. It was a mutual agreement completely, which is great because it was very amicable. Thank God, because I would have hated it to have been anything other than that. You become like family with a record company, particularly with Deonstruction. They're lovely, genuine, Northern bastards!"[106] Minogue told NME in 2008 that if she ever wrote another album solely by her or wrote song that were personal to her, "it'd be seen as 'Impossible Princess 2'". She did admit she does not intend to do this because she may fear it "it would be equally critiqued."[108] In October 2012, she revealed that her most disappointing career moment was in fact the low sales of Impossible Princess by commenting "look at Impossible Princess - it didn't exactly sell truckloads of album!"[109] She reaffirmed that the period of Impossible Princess was not a period of "mistake" but "wanted more help" than she had received.[107]

In an interview with, when Minogue was asked if the songs she wrote have a different reaction now than it does then, she replied; "Oh yeah, definitely. I don't always realise it at the time. Now when I listen to some of the songs on Impossible Princess - actually, my least successful album - I think, 'Wow, you weren't very happy then, were you?'"[110] Both Nick Cave and James Dean Bradfield expressed their loyalty towards her during the time of the album, with Bradfield saying "Kylie, love her to bits. She got dropped because I worked with her, which I am sorry for."[111]

Use in various culture[edit]

In a 20-year career revelation, Peter Conrad from The Guardian wrote about the album; "The roles she played jarringly contradicted each other, but Kylie took pride in her inauthenticity. One of her albums admitted as much in its title: it summed her up as an [Impossible Princess]. In a photo story for Vogue Australia, Luhrmann joked more dangerously about the nonentity that lay beneath this versatile shape-changing. Hiring Bert Stern as his photographer, he made Kylie act out the life story of an imaginary starlet. 'Who's that girl?' asked one of Luhrmann's made-up magazine headlines. No one knew, not even the girl herself."[112] Dorian Lysnkey from the same publication exampled Impossible Princess, Massive Attack's name change to "Massive" and The Strokes debut album on why pop culture would not prevent political or social massacre, which used American singer-songwriter Kesha's single "Die Young" as the example for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. When the song was banned from the US temporary because of the shooting, Lysnkey opined that the decisions of removing the song was based on hypersensitivity and hypocrisy while Impossible Princess, Massive Attack and "New York City Cops" were dropped because the decisions may have created panicky decisions based on fear of outrage.[113]

In 2009, American author and screenwriter Kevin Killian wrote the gay poetic book, Impossible Princess which was named after the album. The book, loosely about homosexuality and erotica, was mentioned to be about Minogue herself.[114] Nico Medina, a writer and author, wrote the book entitled The Straight Road to Kylie (2007). The book, which talks about a boy pretending to date a popular it-girl in order to see Kylie Minogue live, comments about the album branding it "Kylie's most masterful album."[115]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Impossible Princess.

No. Title Music Producer(s) Length
1. "Too Far"   4:43
2. "Cowboy Style"  
  • Brothers in Rhythm
3. "Some Kind of Bliss"  
4. "Did It Again"  
  • Minogue
  • Anderson
  • Seaman
  • Brothers in Rhythm
5. "Breathe"  
  • Minogue
  • Ball
  • Vauk
6. "Say Hey"  
  • Minogue
  • Brothers in Rhythm
7. "Drunk"  
  • Minogue
  • Anderson
  • Seaman
  • Brothers in Rhythm
8. "I Don't Need Anyone"  
  • Eringa
  • Bradfield
9. "Jump"  
  • Dougan
  • Jay Burnett (co.)
10. "Limbo"  
  • Minogue
  • Ball
  • Vauk
  • Ball
  • Vauk
11. "Through the Years"  
  • Minogue
  • Ball
  • Vauk
  • Ball
  • Vauk
12. "Dreams"  
  • Minogue
  • Anderson
  • Seaman
  • Brothers in Rhythm
Total length:

Release formats[edit]

  • CD — containing the 12-track album.
  • CD Japanese Edition — 13-track album including the bonus track "Tears".
  • CD Limited Edition — 12-track album including lenticular cover art.
  • CD Promo — 12-track album released exclusively in the United Kingdom.
  • UK Cassette Promo — 6-track cassette released exclusively in the United Kingdom. Contains the songs "Cowboy Style", "Through the Years", "Breathe", "Jump", "Drunk" and "I Don't Need Anyone".
  • CD Australian/New Zealand Sampler — 6-track CD released exclusively in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Cassette — containing the 12-tracks.
  • 2002 Re-Issue — containing original 12-track album with bonus disc off 12 new remixes/songs.


Subsequent releases[edit]

The list below are a series of singles, compilations and extended plays that accommodated the album's release:


Credits for Impossible Princess adapted from liner notes.[124]



Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[125] Platinum 70,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalog
Japan[126] 1 November 1997 BMG CD BVCP-6068
Australia[54][127] 12 January 1998 Mushroom Records MUSH33069.2
Cassette MUSH33069.4
United Kingdom[54][128] 23 March 1998 Deconstruction Records CD 74321 51727 2
Cassette 74321 51727 4
26 May 2003 Special edition 82876511152
Australia[129] September 2003 Mushroom Records MUSH337322

See also[edit]


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