|Promotional single by Kylie Minogue|
|From the album Kiss Me Once|
|Released||14 March 2014|
|Kylie Minogue singles chronology|
|Kiss Me Once track listing|
| "Sexy Love"|
| "Feels So Good"|
"Sexercize" is a song by Kylie Minogue from her twelfth studio album Kiss Me Once (2014). The song was written by Sia Furler, Marcus Lomax, Jordan Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Clarence Coffee and Nella Tahrini, whilst production was handled by The Monsters & The Strangerz and Kelly Sheehan. "Sexercize" is a dubstep song with influences of urban-R&B and electronic dance music. The song's production was compared to songs by Barbadian recording artist Rihanna and also Kylie's tenth studio album X (2007).
Upon release, "Sexercize" polarized music commentators. Some critics applauded the rapping verse and the production, while many criticized the lyrical content, with some listing the song as their least favorite from Kiss Me Once. Two official music videos were released for the song; one was directed by Roman Coppola and Chandelier Creative, while the second video was directed by photographer Will Davidson. The second received favorable reviews from critics, but received scrutiny from public commentators. A dedicated Sexercize website was also launched in conjunction.
Following the release of The Abbey Road Sessions (2012), Kylie split ways with her long-term manager, Terry Blamey and signed a new management deal with Roc Nation. Following this new deal, Kylie continued work on her twelfth studio album throughout 2013, with reports emerging in February 2013 that Kylie had been working with Sia.
The song was written by co-executive producer Sia, Marcus Lomax, Jordan Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Clarence Coffee and Nella Tahrini while production was handled by The Monsters & The Strangerz and Kelly Sheehan. The song was mastered by Geoff Pesche and mixed by Phil Tan and Daniela Rivera. According to Kylie, she said "I actually blushed when I heard the title and thought, 'Oh, that's wrong'. But that's the genius of Sia. She can made [sic] it cool and make it hot. And I can probably put the little wink into it, so you know it's going to be more fruity than sleazy." She added that the song was one of those "tongue and cheek songs."
"Sexercize" was released as the first promotional single from Kiss Me Once on March 14 2014, which was the same day that the album was released. A dedicated Sexercize website, concepted by Chandelier Creative and built by Black & Black Creative, was also launched in conjunction.
The song was initially considered as the lead single for the album, with a July 2013 release date, until Kylie decided to delay the project. There was also rumours that rapper Brooke Candy had a verse on the song, but it was cut from the final version of "Sexercize" and went unde the name "Get It Up Ya". Though not an official single, "Sexercize" went on to become a visual project of its own.
Musically, "Sexercize" is a dubstep influence song that incorporates elements of R&B and electronic dance music. Ryan Lathan from PopMatters said that, while as a negative response; "The quivering electro-harp intro turns out to be one of the biggest come hither teases of the entire album, giving off the impression that some torrid, naughty storm is brewing ahead. It rolls right over. The chorus is negligible, the gauche 'Let's Get Physical' double entendres are eye-rollingly unsexy, and Minogue's delivery is too ladylike to deliver lines like, 'Feel the burn... Let me see you take it down. Let me see you take it up. Let me see you bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce... stretch it out baby.'" Kitty Empire from The Observer said that, lyrically; "It's so raunchy, it could just be an in-joke cooked up between Kylie and Sia Furler (who wrote the song, and exec-produced KMO). Lyrics such as 'feel the burn' suggest an STD, not ecstasy." Andy Gill from The Independent believed that "Sexercize" was an attempt to enter the American market with the contemporary use of dubstep.
Lyrically, the song talks about sexual intercourse with a partner, basically referencing the sexercizing technique. Neil McCormick from The Daily Telegraph said that "Sexercize", "Les Sex" and "Sexy Love" had attracted "youth markets still obsessed with dating rituals." Alexis Petredis examined that "Sexercize, which gets itself in to such a muddle trying to find sport-related metaphors for sex that it starts coming up with phrases that convey something other than what you suspect they're supposed to mean. "I want to see you beat all your best times," purrs Minogue: well, if you're absolutely sure that's what you want, I can probably be at the "finishing line", so to speak, in about 90 seconds flat."
"Sexercize" received generally mixed reviews from most music critics. Joe Sweeney from Slant Magazine said that while "Sexercize" and album track "Les Sex" were forgettable, "but none that truly ruin the party. Even the dubstep outlier 'Sexercize' works as a counterpoint to the album's deeper themes; as Minogue's maniacally digitized voice repeats the dumb/wonderful portmanteau over and over, her commitment to sounding temporarily insane is admirable." Tim Sendra from AllMusic exclaimed that "Sexercise" rises above some really dorky lyrics to actually sound kinda sexy in a robotic R&B kind of way." Chris Bosman from Consequence of Sound listed it as an "Essential Track", describing it as a "low-key dubstep seduction".
Negatively, Joe Muggs from Fact Magazine said that the song was a thumpy filler and said that "the ridiculous single – full of exhortations to 'feel the burn', 'stretch it out', 'beat all your best times' and well-oiled US dubstep gurgles and slithers – is low camp of the most glorious sort, turning every bro cliché into pure muscle Mary flex." Marc Hirsh from The Boston Globe was very negative, exclaiming that "Sexercize" could be the worst song Minogue has put out in well over a decade and felt it was the misstep of the album. Kitty Empire from The Observer said "[Kiss Me Once]'s contemporary American slant adds up to a handful of anonymous R&B filler tracks with 'sex' in the title. Case in point: rubbery sub-bass on the misfiring Sexercise, which belies a need to keep up with EDM's digital libidinousness." Annie Zaleski from The A.V. Club described the song as "cringe-worthy". Kevin Ritchie from Now found the song "weirdly-dated dubstep".
As part of Kylie's "Audio-Visual Experience", a short film was released on 18 March 2014. It was directed by Roman Coppola and Chandelier Creative, and inspired by Kenneth Anger's 1965 short film Kustom Kar Kommandos. A second video for the song, an homage to the video for Olivia Newton-John's song "Physical", was directed by photographer Will Davidson and filmed at Carmel College in Oxfordshire, England. It was released on YouTube on 19 March. On 20 March, Kylie launched the sexercize.tv website, created to showcase "Sexercize" through the eyes of other collaborators such as Hattie Stewart × Chandelier, VFiles × Cody Critcheloe, Starsky + Cox, Mat Maitland × Jean Paul Gaultier, Gregoire Alexandre × Le Specs, Reilly × Dolce & Gabbana, National Geographic × Chandelier, Roman Coppola × Maserati, Will Davidson and Kylie.
The first music video snippet was released on 17 March 2014. Through the video, it features Kylie rubbing a car with a buffer with neon lights being projected onto the car. It finishes with the car bumper bearing the abbreviation "SEXRCZE". According to Coppola, he said "When I was a kid there were a lot of custom cars made for bands or television shows: The Pink Panther and The Monkees had incredible vehicles. I thought to myself: 'I'll make a custom car for Kylie.'"
For the second video, Richard Christiansen from Chandelier said: "We were speaking to Kylie while she was recording the album, and we knew she was inspired by a particular time and aesthetic: late 1970s/early 1980s French Vogue with a bit of an Olivia Newton-John or Jane Fonda aerobics fashion filter." Kylie's label spruiked the song in a statement which read: "In what can only be described as the hottest workout video ever, Kylie introduces her fans to the hot and steamy world of 'Sexercize'. Director Will Davidson, who also shot the viral video for 'Skirt', takes the viewer on a voyeuristic journey working out, sweating it up in the steam room and scenes that will no doubt see gym memberships soar." The song premiered on Kylie's YouTube channel on 19 March 2014 and currently has around 9 million views.
Although the track was not well received by critics, the music video however received favorable reception from music critics. Brett Malec from E! Online said "In the video (which contains a parental advisory warning at the start!), Minogue flaunts a super-fit and skinny bod in a skintight gymnastics leotard and stiletto heels. She runs her hands over her curves and poses seductively over a pummel horse." A reviewer from The Sydney Morning Herald described it as "X-Rated" and that "Kylie Minogue is set to stun her fans by releasing an X-rated new promo in which she writhes with four women during a sex workout." The Huffington Post compared it to "Spinning Around", writing "Ever since Kylie Minogue's perfectly formed derrière and a pair of now legendary gold hot pants helped catapult her back onto the pop scene back in 2000 in the video for 'Spinning Around', we've been wondering when her bottom would next be putting in an appearance - and the wait is finally over."
Laura Cox from Daily Mail said that "Hundreds took to social networking websites to criticize the 45-year-old after she posted raunchy footage on YouTube to accompany her latest single, 'Sexercize'." Labeling it as her most controversial video to date, Cox explained that many of the public felt that Kylie displayed the "sexual" image to market "mediocre" music. Mediawatch-uk member Vivienne Patterson criticized the video, saying "It's just reinforcing the idea that your worth is defined by your hotness rather than anything else you have to offer, and that can be really damaging for the self-esteem of young girls." Pippa Smith of Safermedia said: "This latest release is very disappointing as she will understand perfectly well that she is a role model for young girls and children."
In March 2014, Kylie performed "Sexercize" on the French TV show Le Grand Journal in Paris, France. Kylie performed the song on her Kiss Me Once Tour in the fourth section, "Lick Kiss", following a cover of "Need You Tonight".
Credits below are adapted from the liner notes on Kiss Me Once from Discogs.
- Additional vocals and vocal producer – Kelly 'Madame Buttons' Sheehan
- Assistant mixing – Daniela Rivera
- Mastered by Geoff Pesche
- Mixed by Phil Tan
- Producer – The Monsters & Strangerz
- Written by Clarence Coffee, Jordan Johnson, Marcus Lomax, Nella Tahriri, Sia, Stefan Johnson