Kylie Minogue - Kiss Me Once (Parlophone)
Once is probably too much despite Kylie's many helpers
Getting lippy: Kylie Minogue puckers up for the cover shot
When Madonna wore a Kylie Min-ogue T-shirt to the MTV European Music Awards in 2000, it was assumed she was being magnanimous and ironic. But the fact is that, in this country at least, Kylie is as big a deal these days. And with her presence as one of the four mentors on BBC1's talent show The Voice, the Aussie sex-thimble has become an inextricable part of the fabric of British life.
And yet her status as our favourite cuddly mainstream entertainer is in danger of eclipsing her role as musical artiste. Kiss Me Once, her 12th studio album, is her attempt to reassert herself as Kylie the pop star. In this, she has had a lot of assistance.
The credits on the album sleeve extend to dozens of producers, composers, engineers and programmers, including Sia Furler (who has written for Rihanna, Christina Aguilera and Eminem), Greg Kurstin (Katy Perry, Beyoncé, Shakira) and Pharrell Williams, the ubiquitous co-creator of, and performer on, last year's three biggest singles - Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines, Daft Punk's Get Lucky and his own song, Happy.
Nothing has been left to chance and all the stops have been pulled out to ensure that the 45-year-old enjoys the biggest and best record of her pop life (she even recently signed with Jay Z's Roc Nation management team).
It charted last week at number two, which augurs well, although it remains to be seen whether it sticks around. Much will depend on the singles lifted from it.
The first, Into The Blue, only reached number 12, hardly surprising considering it was bland disco-lite with machine-tweaked squeaks from La Minogue. The same is true for much of the rest of the album. There are some generic lyrics about sex that don't quite convince (or might make you cringe, depending on your age) and lashings of cutesy come-ons unbecoming from a woman approaching 50.
Elsewhere, there are generically funky club cuts, midtempo jams, even a foray into dubstep on Sexercize, as well as the obligatory ballad, Beautiful, on which Kylie's voice is Autotuned into oblivion.
By far the classiest track is I Was Gonna Cancel. Worthy of the mighty Chic, it was penned by Pharrell, who could probably knock out songs of this calibre in his sleep. In fact, he probably did.