Kylie Minogue has been a glittery pop princess since the late ’80s, with a staggering back catalog of ballads, party jams and dance anthems.
In honor of Kylie’s 49th birthday today (we can’t believe it either!), we’re ranking her 49 best songs. We should be so lucky!
One of the darker tracks on Aphrodite features a whispering Kylie and the twinkliest, yet spookiest synths of her later career.
48. “100 Degrees”
More sugary than a 10-foot candy cane, Kylie’s duet with sister Danni still makes the list—mainly because it finally gave us that sexy disco carol we’ve been missing. It’s a Christmas miracle!
47. “Red Blooded Woman”
Is it controversial that I consider Body Language Kylie’s best album? It’s R&B swagger and KM’s sudden penchant for rapping belie a deeper sensitivity and intimacy. “Red Blooded Woman” is a sweaty dip in self-possession and sex appeal.
46. “So Now Goodbye”
It’s Light Years’ hyperkinetic kiss-off that explodes into a million disco ball smithereens. It’s-OH-SO-tired-of-excuses, y’all!
45. “Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi”
This lilting, yet danceable ballad is full of tween angst and exactly five words of French. That percussion leading into the chorus? Sweet, heartfelt, and lovely!
They’re often compared, but Kylie comes closest to entering Robyn’s world of dizzy dance-floor wonderment on “Illusion,” the Aphrodite non-single that loses itself in a hypnotic, beeping motif in every chorus. An underrated Kylie moment.
43. “Wouldn’t Change a Thing”
“Wouldn’t Change a Thing” is all about the sincerity of those confessional verses (“Maybe I’m not right every time / But I know I’m right about this heart of mine”), and the addictively hiccupy chirps (“I-I-I-I-wouldn’t change!”)
42. “Never Too Late”
Speaking of sweet sincerity: Why can’t you try to be a maaaan about this? It’s never too late to change your mind, boys.
The shadowy, melodramatic ballet in the “Chocolate” video is a little hilarious, but Kylie really achieves a one-of-a-kind mix of soulful sultriness here. Plus, you have to love that transcendent break (“And I’m ad-dic-ted to you”) and entrancing hip-hop breakdown (“Your candy kisses are sweet, I know“).
40. “2 Hearts”
X is my least favorite Kylie album of the post-Impossible Princess era thanks to its disconnected kitschiness, but the nervy, sinister vocal of “2 Hearts” and Kylie’s attitudinal announcement (“I’m in love, I’m in love“) are damn cool.
Fast-talking, electrified-in-love Kylie goes crazy and zaps us with fun during this keyboard blitz off Rhythm of Love. And who can forget that bridge, rapped by pre-Fefe Dobson wonder Jazzi P?
38. “All I See”
You gotta love a midtempo dance ballad performed entirely in one of Kylie’s sugary, yet vulnerable coos. The DJ’s got us feeling like we did when we first met Kylie: Energized and fabulous.
37. “All the Lovers”
Do we need anything more in life than a music video in which near-naked dudes pile up on the street, make out with each other, and get lost in Kylie’s goddess glare? The pint-sized pop queen once revealed censors wanted her to cut the gay smooches and she told them “Nothing doing.”
Robbie Williams and Kylie rock out on this jam, perhaps her fiercest collaboration to date.
In this earworm Kylie plays erotic Operation with us—connecting our collarbone to our neckbone to our jawbone and commanding us to “set [our] mind on Freaky Mode.”
It’s an anatomy lesson and an innuendo-laden tribute to cellular technology.
Wow-wow-wow-wow is right! This song is lost in a Spirograph of color and lust, and we’re gleefully convulsing with the beat.
33. “After Dark”
I love me some bass-heavy Body Language boot-knocking: “After Dark” is a seriously sensual, dusk-till-dawn lovefest, and it’s impossible not to submit to its naughty come ons.
32. “In Your Eyes”
I can tell what you’re thinking. My heart is racing, pulsing, and pouncing on this jam, too.
31. “Burning Up”
Fever’s climactic jam is cold as ice cream and hot as lava. I love the beguiling acoustic opener and the ho-hum lyrics that precede the no-holds-barred sensations of the chorus.
Kylie easily filled the role of a modern-day Goddess of Love on her 2010 album, Aphrodite. The title track’s industrial beat and Kylie’s cheeky query (“Can you feel me on your stereo?”) made her a deity in the club world.
29. “Your Love”
This come-down jam is unassuming but gorgeous, a perfect counterbalance to the Euro-glitz of the rest of Fever.
28. “Better Than Today”
Empowerment pop is a personal favorite, and “Better Than Today” bops along like the most righteous Pride parade ever. “What’s the point of living if you don’t take a chance?/What’s the point of living if you don’t want to dance?” Beats me.
27. “I Believe In You”
This Grammy-nominated blast of celestial poppiness feels like its beaming down between the clouds, here to cascade us in rays of icy hope. It was the perfect addition to Ultimate Kylie, which should be any newbie’s first Kylie purchase.
26. “Love at First Sight”
This Dance Dance Revolution-ready hit makes everything go from wrong to right. A pop veteran in 2002, Kylie was still capable of purring, “We were meant to be as o-o-o-o-o-oneee!” like she (and we) needed to the music to survive.
25. “Sweet Music”
Kylie’s strutting down the block and touting the hot new sensations, bragging about laying down a new track and making magic with her producer-lover. Among Kylie choruses, none thump harder than this. Love the line, “Let’s make this demo right!”
The crown jewel of X is this pretty thing, which culminates in one of the trippiest, sweetest breaks ever—and some ballsy innuendo, to boot. “I’m sensitized tonight/And you can watch me come alive.”
This could be the wickedest rarity in Kylie’s catalog. Light Years’s “secret” track plays open-sesame with inhibitions, daring us to break free and unlock the code to the dance underworld. It is a hard-rocking, booty-shaking blast, and when Kylie coos, “I take you for a gambling man,” you’re ready to put all your chips on her.
22. “On A Night Like This”
Seizing the moment is such a valiant disco ambition: Here, Kylie is mesmerized by a dance-floor lover’s kiss and terrified of leaving the night behind. We’re there with her, hoping the heavy beats and breaths never end.
21. “Especially For You”
You have to have a deep affection for Kylie’s early schmaltzy days— I still get a huge, tearful reaction to her duet with Jason Donovan. It’s sweet enough for prom, homecoming, an middle-school -dance, or a kindergarten graduation. Forget the loneliness and the sorrow!
20. “What Do I Have to Do”
Kylie took a moment to claim dance-floor urgency as one of her vital characteristics, and “What Do I Have to Do” contemplates her own meaningfulness as a disco diva. “What do I have to do to get the message through?/How can I prove that I really love you?” By being your immaculate damn self, KM!
19. “Step Back in Time”
Kylie nonchalantly namedrops the O’Jays in this kickass, strut-to-the-beat ode to bygone eras of groove. Did she mention that she also wants to funk?
18. “Come Into My World”
Michel Gondry gifted us with the magnificent video for “Come Into My World,” featuring several Kylies in the freshest H&M gear, but the song itself is also a comely request for companionship. It won Kylie her only Grammy, for Best Dance Recording, in 2004.
17. “Your Disco Needs You”
Heralded as Kylie’s finest moment by many, “Your Disco Needs You” is as stern as Uncle Sam in its quest to get you hustling on the dance floor. It culminates in a wonderful explosion of end-of-the-world zeal, with Kylie once again rising above the fray as our mirrorball-wielding goddess.
You knew it was coming. Carole King’s swingin’ ditty for Little Eva sprang back to life as Kylie’s breakout U.S. hit. Though it’s not the least dated jam in Kylie’s oeuvre, it’s got definite cheesy nostalgic charm. Jump up, jump back, and love it again.
15. “I Was Gonna Cancel”
Don’t let the toned-down video by Dimitri Basil fool you, the Pharrell-penned track off Kiss Me Once. still has an infectious high-energy vibe to it.
This would be a meditative masterpiece if it weren’t so confrontational and sexually aggressive. Impossible Princess’ unassuming heartstopper trips into unexpected carnality, assuring you “It won’t be long now” as you try to time your hyperventilations.
13. “Got to Be Certain”
On the surface “Certain” is a smiling prude anthem about making up your mind before going too far, but the song itself contains an ABBA-level pop riff that is intoxicating. Stock, Aitken, and Waterman trick you with teenage sentiments, then trounce you with a locomotive of addictive synth sizzle.
12. “Where the Wild Roses Grow”
This Nick Cave duet is Kylie’s most unexpected song. As Nick croons in his terrifying, funereal style about where the roses grow “sweet and scarlet and free,” Kylie haunts us with a static vocal and her most cryptic lyrics to date. It’s a moving story song and — in vocal and in the video — Kylie gives a strong, strange acting performance.
11. “Cowboy Style”
This stylistic mishmash is an adrenalized, sexualized quest for freedom. Kylie sings, “I am frightened/I’m aroused/I’m enlightened to the now” and totally sells it.
Body Language’s saucy opener is a sweltering paean to sex. Kylie herself said it was her favorite single, and it’s easy to hear why. It’s a tantalizingly naughty gem.
9. “I Should Be So Lucky”
The fluffiest and funnest of Kylie’s early hits, “Lucky” is fancy-free and fun bubblegum pop. Grab a hairbrush and head to the mirror.
8. “Get Outta My Way”
Get ready to strut the runway: Aphrodite’s best track is a fierce, hard-stomping winner that wants you to embrace your defiant side. Ever wondered “what’ll happen if you ain’t givin’ your girl what she needs”? Apparently, celestial dance-floor magic. Who knew?
7. “Spinning Around”
Co-written by Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi, “Spinning Around” is Light Years’ most liberated dance opus. The hook in the chorus is unforgettable, as are Kylie’s gold-lamé bootie shorts in the video.
“Timebomb” is a note-perfect, three-minute pop bullet; a dance anthem that wriggles into your nervous system and throbs even harder upon every new listen. Every time I hear it, time stops.
Do you wanna dance like it was the last dance? The answer is always, “Yes.”
5. “Hand on Your Heart”
It’s a ballad! It’s a dance song! It’s the the dorkiest and single greatest Stock-Aitken-Waterman production in Kylie’s history.
Even early on, KM was hollering at suitors, “Put your hand on your heart and tell me it’s all over!”
Some lucky U.S. customers got “Butterfly” on their copy of Fever, but luckier international fans got to collect it in its original incarnation on Light Years.
It is a blitzing, wing-flapping, runway-dominating flame vortex. If butterflies are what Kylie wants, let her be the Monarch, because this jam turns any club into a happening, hard-thrusting gay bar.
3. “Confide In Me”
Demanding intimacy is one of Kylie’s calling cards, and this gently prodding, yet desperately longing track is lovely and vulnerable. This could be a Sinead O’Connor song, but Kylie challenging a lover to be more honest is one of her greatest audio moments.
2. “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”
Yes, Kylie’s American breakthrough got overplayed when it dropped in 2001, but it still holds up as a cool, streamlined dance-floor magnet. And it offers one of the most hypnotic beats of the past 20 years.
1. “Better the Devil You Know”
It’s not as sophisticated and sultry as Kylie’s later work, but this 1990 powerhouse is at the top of my list for a single reason: It’s Kylie nailing, for the first time, her greatest asset—dance-floor urgency.
She’s sweet, but not spineless. Tough, but not hard.
In “Devil,” Kylie forgives, forgets, and proclaims. And our spirits crescendo along. It’s the blueprint for all of Kylie’s future plans, establishing her as a dependable, rational and rightfully regal source of pop majesty.
What Kylie Minogue songs send you “spinning around?” Share in the comments section below.