Fresh arrangements give the global pop star’s biggest hits new life

“If I turn up at the studio in heels or with my hair done, I probably just arrived from an event,” says Kylie Minogue with a laugh. “Other times my shoes are off, the makeup is off, I’m making a mess. I like to feel completely comfortable, and I am a complete clown in the studio.”

It’s been 25 years since the Australian pop queen’s cover of Little Eva’s 1962 hit “The Loco-Motion” became a worldwide sensation and brought her an array of awards and acclaim. Since then Minogue’s career has been anything but linear, and has included acting roles in such challenging productions as Shakespeare’s The Tempest. But her greatest successes have been in dance and pop music: She’s sold more than 60 million albums across the globe.

That worldwide acclaim is what enticed her to revisit her biggest pop hits on her latest album, The Abbey Road Sessions. Still, she confesses to taking more than a few deep breaths before entering the Beatles’ famed studio to record. “There is only one studio for which you say its name and people immediately know what you’re talking about,” says Minogue, 44. “There is only one Abbey Road. It is history, and when you’re there, you are on hallowed ground.”

The 16 tracks on the album—which debuted at No. 2 on the U.K. albums chart—mainly revisit Minogue’s most popular songs, including “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” “I Should Be So Lucky” and “Finer Feelings.” Although the new versions aren’t radically different, the album presents a more mature, nuanced side of the artist’s work. “We had the luxury of experimenting,” she says of the arrangements. “Some songs worked, some didn’t. But we kept going.”

Lesser-known tracks on the album include “Flower,” a fan favorite that Minogue had not previously recorded. “I wrote that with Steve Anderson in 2007,” she says of the song she calls a “love letter” to an unborn child. “It’s a heartening yet painful song.”

Rerecording “Where the Wild Roses Grow” with Nick Cave, her guest on the original version, was another highlight for Minogue on a record full of memorable music. “I was listening to the mixes on headphones, and I was completely transported,” she marvels. “The songs were so lush, and in other places so sparse and lovely. That’s what I hope others hear when they listen to this album. It just takes you away.”

–Nancy Dunham

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