|Song by Kylie Minogue|
|From the album Impossible Princess|
|A-side||"Some Kind of Bliss"|
|Released||22 October 1997|
|Impossible Princess track listing|
|"Through the Years"|
"Limbo" is a song by Kylie Minogue, included on her sixth studio album Impossible Princess (1997). Written by Kylie, Dave Ball and Ingo Vauk, and produced by the two latter, it was later included in the track list of Kylie's compilation albums Confide in Me (2002), Artist Collection (2004) and Confide in Me: The Irresistible Kylie, while the Junior Vasquez remix of the song appeared on her remix album Mixes (1998). The song is a dance track in which Kylie sings about her frustration with not seeing anyone and feeling trapped.
"Limbo" was met with positive reviews by most music critics, many of whom commended the songs composition and highlighted it as an album stand out. "Limbo" was released as a promotional airplay single in Australia and New Zealand by Mushroom Records and the b-side for the album's lead single "Some Kind of Bliss". "Limbo" was performed on the Intimate and Live and KylieFever2002 tours.
In 1996, while in Barcelona, Spain for a holiday, Kylie had written "Limbo" by herself. She envisioned the song to sound "pretty" and "polite" and took different lyric sets and putting pieces together to create "Limbo". However, Kylie said during her holiday in Barcelona, she was upset most of the time there because she could not see anyone outside of Spain due to bureaucracy law. She felt she was trapped the entire time in Spain and the title derived from her constant use of the term 'limbo' while she was there, feeling it was the only way to describe her time there. After she returned to her home in Chelsea, London, Kylie and the Impossible Princess producers Dave Ball and Ingo Vauk had re-written the track because she felt the original lyrics "didn't feel right that way". Ball and Vauk composed the track at Mayfair and Sarm West Studios and Kylie recorded it at Ball and Vauk's home studio, and was mixed by Richard Lowe. The vocals on the track were demo cuts she recorded for the song, but used them because she felt the "gritty" delivery worked with the sound.
Written by Kylie, Ball and Vauk, and produced by the two latter, "Limbo" deals with frustration and feeling trapped. The opening lyrics "I see them all smiling, Those all around me, They tend to my wounds and alert my senses," describes Kylie's friends aiding her when she needed help, but Kylie was reluctant towards the sympathy. She said "People came up to me and said ‘Oh don't worry you'll be okay, it will only be a couple of days’ but I said ‘I can't wait a couple of days!’" She felt their made no difference to her emotionally. "Limbo" is a dance song that has a duration of four minutes and six seconds. Instrumentally, Steve Sidelnyk played the drums and percussion sections, Geoff Bird played the guitar and all other instruments were performed by Ball and Vauk.
Before the release of Impossible Princess, Kylie had handpicked "Limbo" as the lead single for the album; DeConstruction were horrified with the idea of such a dark hardcore dance track as the presentation card for the album, and so persuaded Kylie to extend the recording sessions and got her to work with James Dean Bradfield; this resulted in the track "Some Kind of Bliss" being chosen for the lead, the artwork for which was chosen by Kylie for "Limbo".
After several postponements of the album in 1997, Kylie's Australian record label Mushroom Records decided to distributed six songs as promotional singles in both Australia and New Zealand. Mushroom released "Limbo" and alongside Impossible Princess tracks "Some Kind of Bliss" , "Too Far", "Say Hey", "I Don't Need Anyone" and "Did It Again" on Australian and New Zealand airplay as promotional singles; clippings from the radio plays were then included on a CD published through Deconstruction in the UK. In January 1998, "Limbo", alongside five other album tracks, were included on an exclusive cassette tape and given to DeConstruction members to select their opinion on which should be the third single; "Limbo" lost respectively to "Breathe".
"Limbo" received favorable reviews from most music critics. Upton was positive towards the track, stating "Limbo", hollering out the attitude and sass as opposed to the twee chirruping of old...", referencing her older PWL music. Upton, however, gave the parent album an overall mixed review. Chris True from Allmusic highlighted the track as an album stand out from Impossible Princess. Larry Flick from Billboard was positive towards the entire album, and highlighted "Limbo" as the album stand outs. He praised the tracks "groove poems" and felt that the tracks were "trend-hopping" and fused perfect "modern pop music." Sputnikmusic called it the most "aggressive track" on the studio album, comparing it to "Too Far" and eventually selected the song as one of the album highlights. Darrin Farrant from The Age praised Kylie's vocals, stating "Limbo showed off her vocal flair, as well as the indie-flavored directions that her music is now taking." Nick Levine from Digital Spy said "Limbo" was one of her "toughest club cuts" of her entire career. Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine compared "Limbo" to the works of The Chemical Brothers and labelled it a "techno/rock hybrid track". Sam Upton from Select magazine had compared tracks "Limbo" and "Did It Again" to British musician Shirley Manson and her bad Garbage. Larry Flick from Billboard noted the sonic influences of "moody" electro-funk music which was "layered" with contemporary pop music. C.Adams from Herald Sun said the music is "heavy metal you can dance to."
Adrian Denning felt "Limbo" was the sentimental reason that the second half of Impossible Princess was "listenable" and said that the song was a "noisy yet industrial clatter", highlighting the track from the album. Gary James from Entertainment Focus praised all her written tracks and selected "Say Hey", "Too Far", "Cowboy Style" and "Limbo" for her being able to portray an "sense of claustrophobia and uncertainty." A reviewer from Who Magazine commended the track, stating "Complete dance-floor chaos. Almost, dare we say it , Prodigyesque. Anyway, wasted as a B-side to Bliss. Should have been a single in its own right." Gareth Gorman from X-Press Magazine commented that "Where she really takes off is on tracks such as LIMBO completed with members from The Grid. Here, proceedings get as momentum-filled as anything this side of the Propellerheads."
Since its release, "Limbo" has been performed on two of Kylie's tours. The first was in 1998, when it was part of the set list for Intimate and Live, after a performance of "Did It Again". The performance was recorded and was featured on the DVD and CD of the same name. It was then remixed and performed on KylieFever2002, where it opened the "Cybertronica" act and preceded performances of "Light Years" and "I Should Be So Lucky". This performance was recorded on May 4 2002 and appeared on the DVD. It was performed as an acapella snippet on her Aphrodite: Les Folies Tour in April 2011.
Promotion and other usage
In conjunction with "Some Kind of Bliss", "Limbo" was included on the standard CD Single, housed in cardboard sleeves, the promotional CD releases,and the cassette of the single; "Limbo" was replaced by another track "Love Takes Over Me" for the vinyl release. "Limbo" was released in mid-1997 in the UK on a cassette tape with all other album tracks as part of a promotional release. "Limbo" has been featured on many of Minogue's compilation albums. It's first appearance was on her 2001 BMG greatest hits compilation album Confide in Me, a compilation consisting majority off her singles and tracks from her Deconstruction period; Heather Phares from Allmusic praised the Impossible Princess tracks including "Limbo". It then appeared on her 2004 compilation album Artist Collection, which included most of her Impossible Princess era. The song's last appearance was on her second disc of Confide in Me: The Irresistible Kylie released in July 2007 by UK independent label Music Club. A remix by Junior Vasquez appeared on early pressing editions of her 1998 remix album Mixes.
Credits adapted from the album's liner notes and the singer's official website.
- Songwriting – Kylie Minogue, David Ball, Ingo Vauk
- Production – Ball, Vauk
- Vocals production – Minogue
- Recording – Richard Lowe, Sunny Lazić; Mayfair Studios and Sarm West Studios, London, England
- Guitar – Geoff Bird
- Drums and Percussion – Steve Sidelynk
- Other instruments – Ball, Vauk