Since 1987, Kylie Minogue has gifted the gays – yes, her music is tailor-made for the limp-wrists – with some of the most iconic pop anthems in history. Although she’s never had as much success stateside (she has zero chart-toppers on the Billboard Hot 100, ‘barbaric’ applies here), Kylie’s earned her status as one of the most legendary female entertainers in the music industry with seven UK number one singles (as well as 34 top 10 hits), 80 million records sold and three BRIT Awards. Another impressive stat: Kylie is also the highest-selling artist female artist of all time in Australia. Following the release of Padam Padam – taken from her forthcoming 16th album Tension – we’ve ranked all of Kylie’s lead singles (bar Only You from her Christmas album) from I Should Be So Lucky to her addictive new medical anthem.
15. Word Is Out (1991, Let’s Get To It)
Let’s start off with facts: “bad” is not a word we’d ever use to associate with “Kylie Minogue lead single”. Ever! Some leads, however, just soar above others. Taken from her fourth album Let’s Get To It, Word Is Out is a charming and frivolous funkathon, seeing Kylie explore uncharted genres (at the time) such as new-jack swing and R&B. But… it just doesn’t pack the same iconic-pop-punch like the rest of this list. Davina McCall’s inclusion in the music video was iconic, though.
14. Some Kind of Bliss (1997, Impossible Princess)
Honing in on the 90s Britpop craze, Kylie launched one of her edgiest concoctions at the tail end of the decade with the alternative rock and pop track Some Kind of Bliss, which would’ve – we should add – slotted in perfectly on the soundtrack to Cruel Intentions. Although it marked one of her least commercially successful singles to date (again, at the time), the laidback summery production, Kylie’s effervescent vocals and the Bonnie & Clyde-inspired video is the reason why Some Kind of Bliss has achieved cult-status.
13. Into the Blue (2014, Kiss Me Once)
It may be controversial to rank Into the Blue this low, but – it bears repeating – Kylie doesn’t have a bad lead single. Not one! It’s a gorgeous, catchy electropop tune but it’s rather… safe? Safe isn’t necessarily bad, but we’re used to Kylie reinventing the wheel, almost, with her disco and dance-pop offerings from Can’t Get You Out of My Head to All The Lovers and Say Something, as well as her new banger Padam Padam. All of the aforementioned still sound fresh as hell and have permeated the minds of queers for [insert really long time here], and this one, for me personally, didn’t have the same effect.
12. Dancing (2018, Golden)
Kylie’s twang phase arrived with her 2018 chart-topping album Golden, led by the country-pop stylings of Dancing. While the Sky Adams-produced bop still retained Kylie’s classic dance-pop sound with an infectious, hummable chorus, she clearly enjoyed her foray into hoedown with an accompanying video that saw her embrace her inner line-dancing cowgirl. It won’t be remembered as one of Kylie’s most memorable lead singles as it didn’t break new ground sonically, but it was a harmless and merry ode to dancing away your hurdles and having a swell time on the dancefloor. For that, Kylie, we thank thee.
11. 2 Hearts (2007, X)
Glam-rock was memorably invented by Kylie Minogue OBE (we love facts) with 2 Hearts, a piano-driven thumper resembling the works of British electronic duo Goldfrapp. A remake of Kish Sauve’s 2005 track of the same name, 2 Hearts’ electro-rock beats and relentless “woo!”s marked yet another fresh reinvention for Kylie, although it was arguably one of the weakest cuts from her 10th album X. (Like a Drug was right there!) It’s not regarded as highly as some of Kylie’s other leads, but it must be noted that it was her first post-cancer single and reminded fans that she still had what it takes to create an unforgettable pop moment.
10. I Should Be So Lucky (1987, Kylie)
The follow-up to Kylie’s breakthrough debut single Locomotion (which still ranks as her most successful hit in the U.S. with a number three peak – I know, sacrilege), I Should Be So Lucky has endured as one of her all-time classics. Her first UK chart-topper, the Stock Aitken Waterman-produced bop is notable for its nostalgic (and uplifting) 80s production and blend of bubblegum pop and new wave. It still pops off!
9. Hand on Your Heart (1989, Enjoy Yourself)
Thanks to Hand on Your Heart, our Kylie defeated the sophomore slump. (Imagine if the Kylie Minogue was a one-album wonder?) The 80s hit, written and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman (of course), is Kylie at her most adorable: she doesn’t believe her boyfriend wants to end their relationship (been there!) and tries to reconcile with the tool (who dumps Kylie?) by bopping around a circus-themed set in a rather unstable/cursed love-heart dress. Love it.
8. Say Something (2020, DISCO)
The gays unleashed a collective gasp when Kylie announced the title of her 15th album: DISCO. Released smack-dab in the middle of the pandemic, lead single Say Something provided a reprieve for pop fans with its inter-galactic nu-disco beats, Kylie’s irresistible (aren’t they always?) vocals and necessary plea for unity: “Love is love / It never ends / Can we all be as one again?” Deserved to debut at number-one in every single country, really.
7. Better the Devil You Know (1990, Rhythm of Love)
Stock Aitken Waterman continued to deliver on the Kylie lead single front with Better the Devil You Know, a delectable dance-pop tune about her departure from Australian soap Neighbours and her relationship with INXS’s lead singer Michael Hutchence. The earworm marked one of Kylie’s first major transformations as she shedded her girl-next-door persona for a more mature and experimental image. Better the Devil You Know is widely credited as the dawn of Kylie’s future path as a disco connoisseur.
6. Padam Padam (2023, Tension)
Taken from the pop icon’s forthcoming 16th album Tension, Padam Padam is a camp-as-tits electro-pop banger that sees Kylie enter her medical era. (‘Increased heart rate’ and ‘tachycardia’ are now extinct: Padam Padam is the way.) The Lostboy-produced anthem immediately infected the minds and souls of Gay Twitter, becoming one of 2023’s most viral moments whilst continuing to cement Kylie’s status as a genius pop hitmaker in the process. Get it to number one! Now!
5. Spinning Around (2000, Light Years)
Following Kylie’s foray into experimental pop and the indie genre with her sixth studio album Impossible Princess, the Aussie icon made a triumphant comeback on the charts with her disco-inspired jam Spinning Around. Upon release, the song reached the pole position in Australia and the UK while its video created a media storm thanks to Kylie’s legendary gold hotpants, which – along with her white hooded jumpsuit – became one of her trademark looks. It doesn’t really get more iconic than this.
4. Confide In Me (1994, Kylie Minogue)
For her self-titled fifth album, Kylie ditched her signature style of dance-pop for a dramatic indie and trip-hop cut that wouldn’t sound out of place on a James Bond soundtrack. Thanks to the innovative production and soaring vocals, Confide In Me has since been hailed by critics as one of the most iconic and groundbreaking singles of the 90s, as well as a pivotal moment in Kylie’s career and musical reinventions. Fun slash depressing fact incoming: it was the only Kylie single to chart in the 90s in the U.S., where it peaked at 39 on the US Dance Club Songs chart. Seriously, U.S., what the fuck?
3. All The Lovers (2010, Aphrodite)
There’s a reason why All The Lovers is Kylie’s signature gay anthem: her ethereal – ETHEREAL! – vocals, the fresh disco slash electropop production and its universal message of love. Arguably in Kylie’s top-three music videos of all time, the visual won rave reviews for its queer inclusivity with the star explaining that it was an “homage” to her LGBTQ+ audience. She continued to showcase her allyship when she refused to allow same-sex kisses to be censored for conservative audiences. Fun slash depressing fact incoming, the sequel: All The Lovers was the last time Kylie reached the top 10 in the UK. Britain, it’s your turn: sort! it! out!
2. Slow (2003, Body Language)
Kylie made a smart move with Slow. Rather than release a carbon copy of Can’t Get You Out of My Head, her most successful single to date, she opted for a minimalist – yet still innovative – approach with Body Language’s lead, which ultimately earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording and a seventh UK chart-topper. Kylie, who once declared Slow as her favourite song in her entire discography, has never been more sensual; her breathy, seductive vocals perfectly match the trip-hop techno beat while the music video, which featured a plethora of shirtless, ripped men, is responsible for the gay awakenings of many a queer.
1. Can’t Get You Out of My Head (2001, Fever)
Although she was a bonafide superstar before its release, Can’t Get You Out of My Head established Kylie as one of the most commercially successful pop acts of the millennium when the Cathy Dennis and Rob Davis-written and produced bop topped the charts in 40 countries and became her first top 10 hit in the U.S. in 13 years. (Remember when it faced “competition” in the UK from Victoria Beckham’s Not Such An Innocent Girl?) Can’t Get You Out of My Head is, simply put, pop excellence: the chic and innovative production as well as the hypnotic chorus is why it’s still ranked one of the best pop songs in history. The futuristic music video is just as iconic as the song – Kylie’s white hooded jumpsuit has since become one of the most recognisable ensembles in pop culture.
Padam Padam is out now.