The Abbey Road Sessions (Kylie Minogue album)

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The Abbey Road Sessions
Compilation album by Kylie Minogue
Released 24 October 2012 (2012-10-24)
Recorded November 2011; Abbey Road Studios (London, England)
Genre Orchestral
Length 55:34
Label Parlophone
Producer
Kylie Minogue chronology
The Best of Kylie Minogue
(2012)
The Abbey Road Sessions
(2012)
Singles from The Abbey Road Sessions
  1. "Flower"
    Released: 25 September 2012[1]
  2. "On a Night Like This"
    Released: 17 December 2012[2]

The Abbey Road Sessions is an orchestral compilation album by Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue, released on 24 October 2012 by Parlophone. The album's production was primarily produced by Steve Anderson and Colin Elliot. The album features sixteen tracks, all radically reworked, spanning Minogue's 25 years in the music industry. The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London with Minogue's band and a full orchestra during November 2011.[3] Musically, the album is primarily orchestral music, which features several instrumentation of guitars, pianos, strings and drums.

The album's lead single "Flower", which was originally written in 2007, was a new titled song to the album. The album received generally positive reviews from music critics, with many finding the recordings her best vocal delivery to date, while some dismissed her transition to orchestral music. Upon its release, the album received generally modest success worldwide, entering the top forty in countries including Scotland, Australia, Ireland, Switzerland, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, where it received a certification. Minogue then went on to promote the album with live performances.

Development and recording[edit]

Minogue made her live comeback at Abbey Road Studios in England on 11 November 2011, as part of a special showcase for EMI. She was accompanied by a 22-piece orchestra to perform two of her hits, "All the Lovers" and "On a Night Like This". That same night, Minogue announced that her forthcoming studio album would celebrate 25 years since the release of her debut single "Locomotion" and would contain reworkings of some of her best known songs. She revealed: "I've been at Abbey Road for about two weeks in total. Not just for this, I've been working on a project for next year. Next year's my 25th anniversary so we’ve been recording acoustic and orchestral versions of a number of my hits".[4]

On 21 October 2012, Minogue was interviewed on the production of the sessions saying, "It's exploring other avenues – but I don't think it takes me completely away from the dancefloor, because I'm still a sucker for that [...] But I think it just rounds things up, makes things more whole and satisfies a different place in me."[5] Before recording at Abbey Road, she had started rehearsals "somewhere cheaper".[6] She said that the Abbey Road studio was "a bit intimidating. I thought the place would have attitude but the whole experience was really gorgeous and you know, you know you are on hallowed ground."[7]

One of the songs that was recorded for the album that didn't make the final cut, "Breathe" was uploaded on Minogue's official YouTube account on 13 December 2012.[8]

Composition[edit]

The Abbey Road Sessions were primarily based on orchestral music. The album presented a more "dark", "fragile"[9] and personal style. "Never Too Late" was described as a "sad, tender piano torch song".[9] "Confide in Me" was mostly identified as the album's standout track, being described as a "Moroccan reinvention that swings from intimate to intense."[9] "Hand on Your Heart" was also a highlight, but was generally compared to Jose Gonzales's version, which he covered back in 2006.[9] "The Loco-Motion" was compared to the original version by Little Eva, which was recorded back in the '60s and was described as "playful essence retained on a cute and rockin' [...]"[10]

For the album, Minogue requested Australian musician Nick Cave to re-record their duet single, "Where the Wild Roses Grow". It was noted as a highlight on the album for being more "stripped" than its "haunting, spare original."[10] "Can't Get You Out of My Head" was cited as the "weirdest" on the album for displaying "weird, frenzied strings".[10] The album's only new track, "Flower", was originally written while Minogue was recovering from her breast cancer diagnosis. The song was intended to be included on her X album, but was cut. Lyrically, the song deals with Minogue desiring a child.[11]

Promotion[edit]

Minogue headlined BBC's Proms in the Park in September 2012 performing eight tracks from the album.[12] In support of the release of the album, she performed The Abbey Road Sessions version of her previous singles in television shows and specials. On 27 October 2012, she performed "Never Too Late" on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.[13] On 18 November 2012, she performed "The Loco-Motion" on Strictly Come Dancing.[14] On 19 November 2012, she performed "On a Night Like This" on Royal Variety Show.[15] In December 2012, she performed "Can't Get You Out of My Head" on X Factor Italy and The X Factor UK.[16][17] In December 2012, she performed "On a Night Like This" and "Can't Get You Out of My Head" on the Nobel Peace Prize Concert.[18] On 21 December 2012, she performed "Come Into My World" on Alan Carr: Chatty Man and the next month, the show aired Minogue's performance of "Better the Devil You Know". For the U.S. promotion of the album, she performed "The Loco-Motion" on Dancing with the Stars on 13 November 2012 and on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on 14 November 2012.[19]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 68/100[20]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[21]
The A.V. Club B[22]
BBC Music positive[23]
The Boston Globe positive[24]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[25]
Herald Sun positive[26]
The Independent 3/5 stars[27]
The Irish Independent mixed[28]
musicOMH 3/5 stars[29]
The New Zealand Herald 3.5/5 stars[10]
NME 3/10[30]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars [31]

Upon its release, The Abbey Road Sessions received positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 69, based on 10 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[20] The Guardian's Caroline Sullivan said the more older songs on the album "sculpts them into grownup love songs sung by a Kylie who sounds [...] like a fortysomething woman who has encountered a few slings and arrows along the way."[25] Matthew Horton of Virgin Media compared the album to Tori Amos and Pete Gabriel, writing that "[i]t's a brave gambit. Orchestral arrangements work well enough with the more expansive pop songs." He concluded, "Kylie's in warm, seductive voice. There's a touch of the nasal squeaks here and there, but that's just a hint of familiarity in an otherwise intriguing new adventure."[32] Andy Gill of The Independent said the album worked out "impressively", calling it "a more traditional makeover, an attempt to give a more elegant lustre to callow pop kitsch, usually by slowing the song down and loading on strings."[27] Jeff Katz from Idolator awarded the album four-and-a-half our of five, praising the reinvention of her collection stating "in terms of marketing, as the gorgeous orchestration sets great expectations for the album as a whole. And as weʼve come to expect from Kylie, she delivers."[33]

Tim Sendra from Allmusic stated that the re-invention of the album consisted "class", that the reworked songs were "very effective" and that he'd enjoyed every song except "The Loco-Motion". He concluded: "(s)he's always been willing to take risks, and despite the initial thought that her music may not stand up to the orchestral treatment, The Abbey Road Sessions is another victory in a career full of them."[21] Cameron Adams of the Herald Sun declared the album her most vocal driven album to date.[26] Scott Kara of The New Zealand Herald opined "the hit-and-miss quality of the album doesn't matter one bit for the simple reason this is one for the fans—who will no doubt absolutely adore it, darling."[10] Robert Copsey of Digital Spy wrote that "the whole record [...] shows a rarely-seen maturity in Kylie; and it suits her remarkably well", adding that the new reworks of the songs were "interesting".[34] Annie Zaleski from The A.V. Club graded the album B, stating the album "makes a solid case for her longevity [...] these songs are transformed into timeless, classy compositions."[35] Marc Hirsh from The Boston Globe stated the album fits in "neatly" to her K25 anniversary and "creates a palpable sense of physical space."[36]

However, Simon Gage of the Daily Express stated that "[i]t's not that it's bad, just frankly a little daft" and also compared it to Tori Amos.[37] John Meager of The Irish Independent wrote that Kylie "isn't a good enough singer to be able to shoulder a project like this" and the album "sadly [...] the whole thing falls flat on its face."[28] Jon O'Brien of Yahoo! Music was more positive by writing "The Abbey Road Sessions doesn't always hit the mark. But it's an always intriguing and regularly enchanting concept which proves just how under-rated both Kylie's vocal ability and back catalogue is."[38] Jenny Stevens of the NME was more scathing, awarding it three our of ten, stating that "Confide in Me" is "worthwhile in an otherwise sorry array of pop bangers left soggy on the barbecue."[30]

Commercial performance[edit]

The Abbey Road Sessions debuted at two on the UK Albums Chart behind Calvin Harris's 18 Months, selling 37,556 copies in its first week.[39] The following week, the album slipped to number seven on sales of 17,395 copies.[40] It was certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 16 November 2012, denoting shipments in excess of 100,000 copies. The album entered at number seven on the Australian Albums Chart and number three on the Australia Artist Albums Chart.[41][42] However, the album slipped out the top forty in its third week at forty-four. The album entered at thirty-nine on the New Zealand Albums Chart, but slipped off the chart the next week.

Elsewhere, the album generated moderate charting success. In Switzerland, the album debuted at seventeen, until slipping out the top fifty in its third week.[43] The album did not achieve better success in Austria, only peaking at fifty-four for a sole week, becoming her least successful album in her Austrian charting discography.[44] The album debuted at twenty-four on the French Albums Chart, but fell out the top 100 in its third week. The album debuted at nineteen on the Spanish Albums Chart, but descended the rest of the way after its final peak.[45] The album did manage to have longer success in Belgium than other European markets, peaking at twenty-two and thirty-one on the Belgium Flanders and Belgium Wallonia charts.[46][47]

Singles[edit]

"Flower" was released as the first single from the album.[1] The song was originally penned for Minogue's tenth studio album, X, but was not added. The song received favourable reviews from music critics. It reached the top forty in Belgium (both Wallonia and Flanders) but remained outside the top fifty in the Netherlands. The song was ineligible to chart in the United Kingdom until the release of The Abbey Road Sessions, where it only peaked at ninety-six for a sole week on the charts.[48]

"On a Night Like This" was released as the second single from the album.[2] The song was originally a single taken from Minogue's seventh studio album, Light Years.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks produced by Steve Anderson and Colin Elliot, except "Flower" produced by Steve Anderson. Credits adapted from the liner notes of The Abbey Road Sessions.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "All the Lovers"  
3:22
2. "On a Night Like This"  
3:00
3. "Better the Devil You Know"   3:58
4. "Hand on Your Heart"  
  • Stock
  • Aitken
  • Waterman
3:36
5. "I Believe in You"   2:48
6. "Come Into My World"  
3:32
7. "Finer Feelings"  
  • Stock
  • Waterman
3:35
8. "Confide in Me"  
4:08
9. "Slow"   4:08
10. "The Loco-Motion"   2:34
11. "Can't Get You Out of My Head"  
  • Dennis
  • Davis
3:33
12. "Where the Wild Roses Grow" (with Nick Cave) Cave 4:05
13. "Flower"  
  • Anderson
  • Minogue
3:31
14. "I Should Be So Lucky"  
  • Stock
  • Aitken
  • Waterman
3:14
15. "Love at First Sight"  
3:35
16. "Never Too Late"  
  • Stock
  • Aitken
  • Waterman
3:01
Total length:
55:34

Personnel[edit]

Credits for The Abbey Road Sessions adapted from album liner notes.[51]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
position
Argentine Albums Chart[52] 12
Australian Albums Chart[41] 7
Austrian Albums Chart[44] 53
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[46] 22
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)[47] 31
Czech Albums Chart[53] 10
Dutch Albums Chart[54] 24
French Albums Chart[55] 24
German Albums Chart[56] 31
Greek Albums Chart[57] 61
Irish Albums Chart[58] 10
Italian Albums Chart[59] 23
Japanese Albums Chart[60] 110
Mexican Albums Chart[61] 52
New Zealand Albums Chart[62] 39
Scottish Albums Chart[63] 2
Spanish Albums Chart[45] 19
Swiss Albums Chart[43] 17
Taiwanese Western Albums Chart[64] 10
UK Albums Chart[65] 2
US Billboard 200[66] 120

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification
United Kingdom[67] Gold

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format
Japan[50] 24 October 2012 EMI CD, LP, digital download,
limited edition
Australia[49] 26 October 2012 Warner Music Australia
Austria[3] EMI
Belgium[3]
Finland[3]
Germany[3]
Ireland[3]
Luxembourg[3]
Netherlands[3]
Norway[3]
Switzerland[3]
United Kingdom[68] 29 October 2012 Parlophone
Canada[3] 30 October 2012 EMI
Italy[3]
Mexico[3]
Spain[3]
Sweden[3] 31 October 2012
United States[69] 6 November 2012 Astralwerks

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