Rhythm of Love is the third studio album by Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue, released on 12 November 1990 by PWL. Like her previous studio albums, Stock Aitken Waterman were the primary producers off the album, but featured new producers and collaborations including Keith Cohen, Stephen Bray and Michael Jay. Unlike her two previous efforts, Minogue started to become more involved in the process of creating the album. She recorded the album in the spring and summer of 1990 in London and Los Angeles. Rhythm of Love deals with many subjects including love, having fun and more. Musically, the album brought a new direction with a more sexual image and a more dance-influenced sound.
After the album's release, Rhythm of Love received generally positive reviews from most music critics. Many complimented it as her best work with Stock Aitken and Waterman, along with critics praising Minogue herself for stepping out of her comfort zone. Though some did find it similar to her previous efforts. The album generated moderate success on the record charts, having charted inside the top fifty in countries including United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Sweden, and was certified Platinum in the United Kingdom.
The album spawned four singles, sometimes referred to as the Golden Quartet. "Better the Devil You Know" became one of Minogue's biggest successes, charting inside the top twenty in Israel, Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden and France. The music video generated a more sexual image to her career. Minogue promoted the album with her Rhythm of Love Tour in Australia and Asia. The album is considered by many to be a definitive turning point in Minogue's career, noted for successfully beginning a departure from the bubblegum pop sound of her first two albums and showing her as a more mature, credible musical artist.
In 1979, an 11 year-old Kylie Minogue was established as a child actress, appearing as a cameo actress in the TV series The Sullivans and Skyways. Both Minogue and her sister Dannii Minogue were child stars trying to achieve success in the TV industry of Australia, but Dannii received better opportunities as a TV actress than Kylie. At the time, Kylie became jealous of Dannii's new found success in Australia. In 1985, Kylie was cast as one of the lead roles on TV soap The Henderson Kids but her role only lasted one season, and was completed after two seasons. Realising her acting was going nowhere, Kylie then switched to music and this, her third album, was produced by the Stock Aitken Waterman team, along with Keith Cohen, Stephen Bray and Michael Jay ("The World Still Turns"). It included for the first time, songs co-written by Minogue. The album was a departure from the bubblegum pop music of its predecessors and attempted to present a more stylish and contemporary dance sound. Several of its tracks became popular hits in the clubs of the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. The album reached number nine on the UK album charts and was certified platinum.
With a new musical direction, Minogue had the opportunity to break out of the mould her record company had created for her. Heavily influenced by her then boyfriend Michael Hutchence, lead singer of INXS, Minogue explored and presented herself in a more sexual and raunchier manner. The media dubbed this 'SexKylie', as fishnet tights and dark eye makeup quickly replaced the big hair, bright colors and Christmas ornament-like earrings. Nick Levine from Digital Spy stated musically that it's "still perky early Kylie pop, but there's a definite progression here: a slightly dancier sound, more sax, guitars and rapping, and – gasp! – tracks produced by people other than Stock Aitken Waterman."
"What Do I Have to Do" was originally planned to be the follow-up to "Better the Devil You Know" in late 1990, but was held back after the release of "Step Back in Time" until January 1991, when a newer remix of the song was used for the single version. "I Am the One for You", written by Minogue, Phil Harding, Ian Curnow, was an unused track from these recording sessions which was eventually made available to fans on the Australian-only 1998 compilation Greatest Remix Hits 4.
After the album's release, Rhythm of Love received generally positive reviews from most music critics. Chris True of Allmusic describes the album as Minogue's "best work from the Stock-Aitken-Waterman era", and writes that "the songwriting is stronger, the production dynamic, and Kylie seems more confident vocally". Nick Levine from Digital Spy gave it a positive review, awarding the studio album four stars out of five. He stated "Rhythm Of Love is well worth another listen" and concluded saying "It's got the odd dud - stand up, 'One Boy Girl' - and the pop rush fades towards the end, but this is definitely KM's best effort yet, thanks largely to the continued brilliance of those singles. If you can't find something to bop to here, you need to get yourself on the NHS waiting list for a new pair of Dancing Feet."
Rhythm of Love debuted at number seventeen on the Australian Albums Chart. It climbed to number thirteen but fell afterwards. However, when Minogue was promoting her Rhythm of Love Tour, the album climbed the chart once again and eventually peaked at number ten. In New Zealand, the album spent a sole week on the charts at number thirty six, not becoming successful in that country. It performed similarly in Sweden, only peaking at number forty four on the charts there. In Spain the album peaked number twenty six and stayed in the charts for ten weeks, later being certified Gold there.
In June 1991, the album was reissued as Rhythm of Love: The Gold Album and featured bonus remixes. In the UK, Rhythm of Love was certified platinum, and has sold over 300,000 units. In Australia, the original CD was issued as a 'white' picture disc. The album was later re-released as a special "Gold Version" in May 1991, containing three bonus remixes, and went on to receive platinum certification in both the UK and Australia.
The album's lead single "Better The Devil You Know" was released on 30 April 1990. The song received positive reviews from most music critics, with critics noting it as a highlight to the album. Many critics noted the new style of Minogue's direction, not being the same as her previous music. Commercially, the song was successful on the charts peaking inside the top twenty in countries including Australia, Belgium, France, Israel, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom, being both certified in Australia and the UK. The music video was directed by Paul Goldman and was filmed in Melbourne. The video featured Minogue in very mild sexually suggestive scenes with a black man, who played the role of her lover. It caused some controversy as it presented Minogue in a much more mature image than videos from earlier years. The album's second single "Step Back in Time" was released on 22 October 1990. Originally, the song "What Do I Have to Do?" was going to be released as the second single but the decision was changed to "Step Back in Time". This song marks the first time Minogue took her music into the genre of disco. The song peaked inside the top ten in Australia, UK, Ireland and South Africa.
The album's third single "What Do I Have to Do" was released on 21 January 1991. The song received very positive reviews from music critics, praising the song as being a 90's masterpiece. "What Do I Have to Do" had smaller success than her previous. It peaked at 11 in her native Australia, becoming her first to miss the top ten. It managed to peak at 6 in the UK, however. The album's last single, "Shocked" was released on 20 May 1991. The song was critically acclaimed from music critics, noting it as one of Minogue's best work and a highlight. However, the song didn't have much success, but peaked inside the top ten in the United Kingdom and her native Australia.
To promote the successful tour of Australia and Japan, a special tour edition was released in Australia on Double LP, CD and Cassette, containing three bonus tracks in a gold outersleeve. This edition was later released in the UK on CD & Cassette, and is commonly referred to as 'the Gold edition'.
Australian special edition
Another edition in special packaging was released in Australia only to promote the "Shocked" single. The same CD/Cassette as the tour edition was included along with a second CD/cassette of the "Shocked" Australian single.