Subjugated and/or oppressed by the Stock, Aitken & Waterman popheadlock, by 1990 it was common knowledge that Kylie hankered after a co-write credit and a tiny pause after the chorus where she could draw breath; maybe also a little less legobrick and a little more cowbell, a little less Miriam Stockley and a little more Flyte Tyme. Rhythm Of Love was the fourth album (and third Kylie album) I ever owned; the fact that it diverged wildly from all that was familiar and comfortable by having eleven tracks instead of ten blew my nine-year-old mind somewhat, as did the fact that four of them weren’t SAW compositions/production jobs at all! Also: Rhythm, of love! Bloody hell!
At the time the title track seemed like the epitome of SLINK and needless to say I didn’t care about it at all: it wasn’t as primarycoloured/fun as the customary SAW numbahs ("What Do I Have To Do"! fuck yeah!), it was obviously never ever going to be a single ("What Do I Have To Do"! it sounds like a spaceship!), she says “syncopated” which seemed a bit showy and unnecessary (she says “bed” on "What Do I Have To Do"! therefore she has already used up her new-Kylie-words quota on this album, possibly), it was track eleven on an eleven track album and I wasn’t used to having to listen for this long. Whereas now it doesn’t sound boringly adult and undisciplined so much as it does clattery and frantic and looose; the chorus is barked unseductively in crisp phonetic blocks (“ta give yur luv ta mi – an ah give ma luv ta yoo”); there is a Sax (sex) Bit and a French (sex!) Bit that she stumbles over slightly (“d’amour” to rhyme with “skewer”).
And suddenly credhungry po-facery is glorious fun, and an infinitely more successful break from the customary (invariably ace) boxy SAW chunks than the vast majority of her much heralded eponymous 1994 First Actual Proper Grownup Album (singles aside, the most extraordinarily blank thing she has ever done, a big empty zero of a record, way more ‘insubstantial’/'impersonal' than the albums that came before it) if only because really it barely breaks from the boxy SAW-format at all. If "Rhythm Of Love" was Kylie tentatively toeing the waters of artistic emancipation and eventual commercial doom, it doesn’t really show; she was firmly back in the SAW straightjacket on album number four, by this point seemingly more interested in subverting from within with highly contentious album sleeves on which she Isn’t Smiling and is accompanied by some Men.
Kylie is no stranger to "Secret" tracks (she has them on albums 1, 2, 3, and also 9) but "Rhythm Of Love" is the most crucial of those early flings; lost down the back of her Stock/Aitken/Waterman years and mourned by too few.
ILM's 2005 collaborative mix project hoonja-doonja!