Dannii announced today in an interview with Cameron Adams that she is not only returning to music but also the stage! The glorious Sydney Mardi Gra festivities this summer. So so so very soon! As she's a pop legend, DSTP has taken this opportunity to revel in all things DM by wandering through her delicious discography & celebrating some of my favourite hits, b-sides and rarities. It was hard to select ten songs from her huge discography but, for me, these are the ones that had me constantly hitting repeat and earned a very special place in my heart.
UPDATE: Dannii has revealed the brand song #pressplay today which not only arrives in time for Mardi Gra but also celebrates her time in the music industry being 25th years since her very first single Love and Kisses came out. Check it out below:
Given the arena Dannii is returning on Everlasting Night seems the perfect song to begin proceedings. I think it was either 1995 Gay Pride at Galaxy when I first heard this gloriously euphoric song that was announced as the next single. My 11 year old heart raced as the uplifting synths pumped through the sound systems while Dannii's vocals boomed throughout. It was amazing. Everlasting Night became the anthem I'd hum in-between school breaks at my first year of my very dreary secondary school. The song worked as a rainbow blanket comforting those first few difficult months at big school when you're trying to find friends and forge alliances but also gain strength & mark out your identity. Everlasting Night was that song for me. It wouldn't be until 1998 when a hard copy was available thanks to Everlasting Night becoming entwined with the Mardi Gra festivities in Sydney which it was somewhat re-written & re-produced. A best-of compilation cannot exist without Everlasting Night. It is almighty awesome.
Sounding like a disco call to arms, Who Do You Love Now was a trance-tastic club power ballad that takes no prisoners. It ravaged you entirely. When the beat kicked-in goosebumps soared through every fibre of the body. Soaring high into the charts at no.3 in the UK it really should've gone straight to no.1. Who Do You Love Now is a pumping athletic club song that snatches the hi-NRG baton that was Dannii's epic single All I Wanna Do and refuses to regress, paved the way for Dannii's Neon Night's album and emerged as an unrelenting mini-marathon of a club hit. Absolutely flawless.
All I Wanna Do is a regal dance-pop song. Posture royally straight, beats decked out like diamonds and refrains addictive, All I Wanna Do is one of shiniest gems in Dannii's crown. All I Wanna Do became the highest charting UK single of her career, entering the UK Top 40 at no.4. Her success with the song ensured its writers and producers replicated the song into what emerged into Believe which as everyone knows became a huge hit for Cher. With its James Bond Theme-esque guitars underscoring Dannii's siren-like vocal, All I Wanna Do was a revelation when I first heard it 1997 and I still marvel at its decadent display of dance, almighty production and sweeping electronic nuances.
An addictive pop cherry of a song if there ever was one, Nervous found itself on constant replay when I first heard it. Not once did it ever feel the side-effects of overplay: burn out. Being a b-side to I Begin To Wonder in 2003, it's over ten years now and I don't think I'll ever tire hearing it. It is immense. Written by Ian Masterson and Terry Ronald, Nervous is a song I've always wondered why the hell it wasn't a) on the album and b) potentially a single! I L.O.V.E Nervous. Its delicious smooth dark electro synths slide over Dannii's sensual vocals and marry-up together to create an highly edgy pop song with raw slicks and addictive beats. Gorgeous.
I Begin To Wonder leaves me breathless. Just like Who Do You Love Now, I Begin To Wonder takes no prisoners and had me in a disco asthama attack. Written by Dannii Minogue, Jean-Claude Ades, Dacia Bridges and Olaf Kramolowsky for Minogue's 2003 album Neon Nights it incredibly well in the United Kingdom charting at no.2 and certified gold in Australia. I Begin To Wonder is, in many ways, the one song in Dannii's music box that feels very much like a supermodel strutting down the catwalk edging out all competitors, totally fierce and full of attitude. It simply struts.
In many ways, this is I Begin To Wonders very naughty twin sister. Released a promo single in Germany and somewhat lost as a hidden track on Neon Nights I refuse to allow Come & Get It to be forgotten. For me, the composition written by JCA and Dannii is perhaps more favourable than its sister track. I don't know why exactly but there's something about the Donna Summer-esque vocals layered over the chorus and huge Blade Runner movie soundtrack atmosphere that has always drawn to Come & Get It. As such it is a must in any Dannii essential playlist. The vocal arrangements over the chorus is pure ecstasy and worth the entry price alone. Dreamy.
Talking of Dannii's vocals, it was Dannii's ever happy cover of Melba Moore's This Is It which saw me really take notice of the amazing lungs, harmonies and vocal arrangement contained in Dannii's singles. This Is It was also the first single from her second album and it felt very much like a game-changer. For sure, I loved Success and Baby Love, but it was with this release I felt Dannii was putting the exclamation mark in her pop delivery. The message was very much "I have arrived - take notice!". It became one of Dannii's biggest singles repeating the top ten success of her debut single Love and Kisses when it went no.10 in summer months of 1993. Moreover, it is rare example in pop where the cover eclipsed the original and has become staple in Dannii's live shows. Pure pop bliss.
Another JCA production, co-written by pop queen Hannah Robinson and Dannii Feels Like I Do is nothing else like she released during her time with AATW. In many ways you could almost imagine Lady Gaga plonk this on her future albums (you know, when she had her high pop-voltage moments and refrained from going into that weird arty-pop space Gaga loves to linger around for, sadly, too long). Feels Like I Do was decked out in sharp beats, euphoric rifts and uplifting toplines. It is irresistibly catchy and feels delicious next to So Under Pressure where the song was given b-side status. It was eventually given well-deserved higher prominence on Dannii's Club Disco album which is well worth tracking down if you can get a copy.
This was a b-side initially available on the release of Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling and the Masterson/Ronald track should've been a single. I won't hear any arguments exposing otherwise. The bitchy lyrics are tremendous as they wrap themselves around the whip-ass immense production. Goodbye Song is, in many ways, is unusual in that there is no other song like it in Dannii's huge discography and for that reason alone it deserves toasting. On so many levels this track works. Quirky, delicious, creative and funky I never tire of Goodbye Song. On the re-release of Dannii Minogue's excellent Neon Nights, Goodbye Song finally found itself on the album it long deserved be on.
Dannii rarely does ballads. But when she does they're immense. Whether it be I Don't Wanna Take This Pain, The Winner Takes It All or Live For The One I Love Dannii's ballads reveal not only a softer side but also great power behind her voice. One of my favourites of these moments was the last track on her Neon Nights album It Won't Work Out. Written by Terry Ronald, Ian Masterson and Dannii, the song feels confessional, incredibly heart-breaking and revelatory. As such, this chillingly honest heartfelt narrative is not only a brilliant moment on Neon Nights but highlights stunning vocals from Dannii. It is a perfect closer to a excellent pop album and one I constantly go back to. Beautiful.
Dannii has released a number of greatest hits packages and the recent This Is It: The Very Best Of Dannii Minogue features all her singles and the new song Cos You're Beautiful. Besides the studio albums all of which were re-released and re-mastered with unreleased material and are well-worth hunting down, a lot of the rarer songs featured above are also available on the following releases - The 1995 Sessions, The Early Years, The Hits & Beyond, Club Disco, Unleashed - all of which you can all track down on places like Amazon.