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Some Kind of Bliss
Some Kind of Bliss
Single by Kylie Minogue
From the album Impossible Princess
B-side
Released 8 September 1997 (1997-09-08)
Recorded 1997
Format
  • CD single
  • cassette single
  • digital download
  • vinyl single
Genre Pop rock
Length 4:13
Label
  • DeConstruction
  • Mushroom
  • BMG
Writer(s)
  • Kylie Minogue
  • James Dean Bradfield
  • Sean Moore
Producer(s)
  • James Dean Bradfield
  • Dave Eringa
Kylie Minogue singles chronology
Where the Wild Roses Grow
(1995)
Some Kind of Bliss
(1997)
Did It Again
(1997)
Impossible Princess track listing
"Cowboy Style"
(2)
"Some Kind of Bliss"
(3)
"Did It Again"
(4)
Music Video
Kylie Minogue - Some Kind of Bliss

Kylie Minogue - Some Kind of Bliss

"Some Kind of Bliss " is a song by Kylie Minogue; it was released as the lead single from her sixth studio album Impossible Princess on September 8 1997. Kylie co-wrote the track with James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore while Bradfield and Dave Eringa produced it. Backed by guitar and drum instruments, "Some Kind of Bliss" is a Britpop track in which Kylie sings about feeling happy while away from family and friends.

Critical response to "Some Kind of Bliss" was mostly mixed; earlier reviews were critical towards her image and sound transition to rock music, while retrospective reviews are positive towards her songwriting and sonic experimentation. "Some Kind of Bliss" performed relatively poorly on international charts peaking at number twenty-seven on the Australian Singles Chart, at 22 on the UK Singles Chart (her first solo release to miss the UK Top 20) and reaching number 46 on the New Zealand Singles Chart.

To promote "Some Kind of Bliss", she performed the track on Top of the Pops, MTV Australia live and the Australian TV series Hey Hey It's Saturday. It was later included on Intimate and Live in 1998. David Mould directed the music video to the single, featuring Minogue and actor Dexter Fletcher robbing a gas station. The song was later included in the track list of Kylie's compilation albums including Confide in Me (2001), Artist Collection (2004), and Confide in Me: The Irresistible Kylie (2007).

Background

After releasing the single "Where the Wild Roses Grow" with Australian rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on 2 October 1995, Kylie received acclaim from critics for her experimentation with rock music, who praised her transition from being the once-dubbed "singing budgie" to a mature woman. Because of this, Kylie, with the support of her then boyfriend Stephane Sednaoui, decided to experiment with her music for the upcoming album. Welsh musician James Dean Bradfield contacted Kylie's A&R Pete Hadfield, asking him what their current project was where Hadfield replied "Kylie Minogue's new album". He asked Hadfield if he could work with Kylie and was approved.

After Bradfield sent her a demo of the album track "I Don't Need Anyone", Kylie was dissatisfied with the lyrical content and re-wrote the track herself. Despite this, Kylie found it "difficult" to write the song so Bradfield had taken pieces of the original demo lyrics and mixed them with other lyrics she had written to create the finishing product of "I Don't Need Anyone". She found this method of writing "intriguing" and wanted to do it again, so she decided to do this with "Some Kind of Bliss", writing it alongside Bradfield and Sean Moore. Kylie commented about this method, saying "He took one half of one set [of lyrics] and took another half from another set of lyrics and merged them together, which I found interesting because it was something I wouldn't have done because, in my mind they're two separate things." She later commented that she felt it worked together. Lyrically, the song is about her being happy and said "To me the song is about being able, not necessarily shut your eyes and feel that someone is there but they way where you are close to someone [...] the ability to feel like they're with you even if they are a million miles away."

Composition

Produced by Bradfield and Dave Eringa, "Some Kind of Bliss" was recorded at Mayfair Studios, London, England in 1997, and was mixed by Alan Bremnar at Roundhouse Studios. Instrumentally, the song features bass, electric and acoustic guitars, drums, string sections, flute, and a saxophone. "Some Kind of Bliss" is a Britpop song with alternative rock and "rock-tinged" elements that lasts a duration of four minutes and thirteen seconds on the album. A reviewer from Sputnikmusic said "Some Kind of Bliss is one of the more pop-rock songs that could have been part of her earlier work. This gem breaks up the dominance of the sleepy trance vibe to a more upbeat feel." Michael R. Smith from The Daily Vault felt that "Some Kind of Bliss" was "surprisingly a strong and straightforward rock" song.[10] Nick Levine from Digital Spy labelled the music as "Motowny Indie", while Sarah SMith from FasterLouder called it "pure pop". Priya from NME said "Some Kind of Bliss" is "a brassy 60’s influenced number which has a totally ‘Everything Must Go’ vibe to it." Martin Power, who wrote the biography Nailed to History: The Story of the Manic Street Preachers (2012) for the Manic Street Preachers, commented that "Some Kind of Bliss" was "far away from Kylie's glory days of "I Should Be So Lucky" and "Better the Devil You Know" as it was possible to get." A reviewer from The Australian noticed the transition from Kylie's earlier work by saying "The new single is not as heavily produced as her past songs, leaving her voice sounding edgier, and guitars take the place of the drum machine beats of earlier efforts."

Critical reception

"Some Kind of Bliss" received mixed reviews from most music critics, but received positive reviews in retrospect. Writing for NME in November 1997, Ben Willmott called it "supremely irritating" and stated "Kylie belts out the lyrics like she's reading from an autocue. Any soul is lost in a slurry of bought-in brass and a ropey guitar solo that's be more at home on a Shakin' Stevens record." John Magnan from The Age said while the song was a stand out to the album, it "is actually one of the album's clunkier tracks". Jaime Gill from Yahoo! Music reviewed her Ultimate Kylie compilation album, and criticised the musical composition by calling it an "awkward faux-rock". Matt James from PopMatters reviewed her compilation The Best of Kylie Minogue and was disappointed with "Some Kind of Bliss"' absence, labelling it a "lost classic". Larry Flick from Billboard was positive, saying "Ms. Minogue has been reborn as an alterna-pop vixen to be reckoned with." Conversely, Allmusic's Chris True had selected the song as an album stand out and a career stand out track.

While reviewing her 2001 compilation Confide in Me, True stated “Impossible Princess, both of which found her stretching and growing beyond the pop princess image she had previously. Dark, noisy tracks like "Limbo," the trip-hoppy "Jump," and the more rock-oriented "I Don't Need Anyone" and "Some Kind of Bliss"—both of which were co-written by the Manic Street Preachers' James Dean Bradfield—found her trying on different styles to replace the bubblegum pop of the past.” A reviewer from Who Magazine called the song "Funky , Spunky, Rocky, Big." Gareth Gorman said that while the song showcased Kylie's "thin vocals", he followed saying "it still works due to one of those melody lines that is inevitable stunning, simple and effective." Michael Dwyer from Western Australia magazine stated "Some Kind Of Bliss and Did It Again have already proved our Kylie has more tricks up her sleeve this time that Stock, Aitken and Waterman ever dreamed of and her sixth album harbours more strings to her carefully-cultivated bow." A reviewer from Music Week awarded the song four stars out of five, stating "Kylie changes musical tack again with this dense, big sounding single, co-written with two of the Manics, which loudly announces she's back in style." In 2017, Billboard ranked it as the 76th greatest pop song of 1997; Andrew Unterberger wrote that "the song's string-soaked guitar-pop remains surprisingly alluring, a fascinating glimpse at an alternate reality in which the disco diva is better remembered for ripped jeans than golden hot pants, and sounds no less like herself for it". Writing for the Herald Sun, Cameron Adams placed it at number 21 on his list of the singer's best songs in honor of her 50th birthday, calling it "the peak of 'Indie Kylie' [...] a modern retro ‘60s girl band garage pop heaven, filled with brass, sass and class".

Chart performance

The song entered at twenty-seven on the Australian Singles Chart and fell to thirty-five the following week. "Some Kind of Bliss" stayed in the chart for six weeks, and resulted as her lowest-charting lead single from an album until her single "Into the Blue" from Kiss Me Once (2014) peaked at forty-six. The song entered and peaked at number forty-six on the New Zealand Singles Chart for a sole week, her lowest charting single after her 1988 single "It's No Secret". In the United Kingdom, "Some Kind of Bliss" entered at number twenty-two on 20 September 1997, which broke Kylie's consecutive top twenty hits and became her lowest solo single until "Better Than Today" from Aphrodite (2010) at thirty-two on 20 November 2010.

Music video

The music video was directed by David Mould and was shot in the Desert of Tabernas in Spain. The music video features Dexter Fletcher as Kylie's lover. The video is set in non-linear structure, as it opens with Kylie and Fletcher in a blue cadillac at a gas station, with Kylie staring inside the gas station while Fletcher sits in the car after being released from jail. Several scenes feature Kylie and Fletcher in different outfits in different areas, driving and running around a hotel. There are scenes with Kylie and Fletcher fighting, being happy and playing around in there hotel room.

During the bridge sequence, Kylie and Fletcher park in front of a shop, and Kylie seductively tries to distract the cashier outside by staring and posing at him, while Fletcher tries to steal money from the till. In the last scenes, Kylie is in another outfit trying to walk out of an alley with a bag of money, but sees a police car driving towards her and tries to walk off. Fletcher is caught by police and is escorted into the police car while yelling at Kylie. Kylie, who see the alteration, drives off with the money and looks back at Fletcher while driving down the street.

Robbie Daw from Idolator listed the video at eight on their Kylie Minogue's Sexiest Videos. Daw said "There's something so casually sexy about this Bonnie and Clyde-themed video. Kylie spends a lot of time wearing skimpy denim dresses while dealing with the fallout from her criminal love interest." The public had voted in which Kylie's video was the sexiest. Conversely, "Some Kind of Bliss" was put in last place with 1% of the votes (15 votes). The music video was featured on the first CD single of her November 1997 single "Did It Again", and was included on her video compilations: The Kylie Tapes: 94–98 (1998), Greatest Hits: 87-99 (2003) and Artist Collection (2004).

Live performances

To promote the single, Kylie performed the song on several televised shows. Her debut live performance of the single was on the Australian variety program Hey Hey It's Saturday. She went on to perform the single on MTV on 4 October 1997 and in the UK on both TFI Friday and Top of the Pops. "Some Kind of Bliss" was included on the set list for her 1998 concert tour Intimate and Live. The song was featured on the opening act for the tour and featured Kylie singing the track on stage, wearing a black long-collared shirt and three-quarter pants, similar to the costume off "Did It Again". Like the rest of the costumes on the tour including the performance off "Some Kind of Bliss", it features Kylie with a lot of "princess"-inspired outfits.

Legacy and other usage

"Some Kind of Bliss" has been recognized by critics as Kylie's most "indie"-influenced song to date and one of her least successful singles to date. Author Lee Barron, who wrote the book Social Theory in Popular Culture, discussed the Impossible Princess period and further stated that "Some Kind of Bliss" was one of the main aspects for her "Indie Kylie" label in the media. Craig Mathieson, who wrote the book Playlisted: Everything You Need to Know about Australian Music Right Now (2009), stated about the song "It was a statement of intent, but not as planned. A sense of freedom, a belief in the lure of happiness, did not suit Kylie. She's best defined by constriction ad reduction, an her music has subsequently become a soundtrack to lack of choice."

The poor reception prompt Hadfield to release an apology to Kylie, blaming himself for not being in control of the promotion; "I loved her voice, got on with her and I am embarrassed that I failed her." Tom Parker, who wrote the liner notes for the 2003-release of Impossible Princess, had observed that critics slated "Some Kind of Bliss" due to Kylie's approach to "obtain lyrical and production credibility, which was overshadowed in whole". Kylie publicly commented about the single's aftermath, saying: "I think the static was that Elton had 75 percent of the sales that week, so mine didn't get off at a good start." She went on to say "I've told not to be frustrated, but I was frustrated because the album should be out [...] The point of it is to get it out and maybe people will like it, they may love it or they might hate it, but it was in my hands." She also felt guilt for parting with Stock Aitken Waterman after her production team with Deconstruction was not in good terms; she later commented that she departed on "good terms".

"Some Kind of Bliss" has been featured on many of Kylie's compilation albums. Its first appearance was on her 2000 Deconstruction greatest hits Hits+ and 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 "Some Kind of Bliss". It then appeared on her 2004 compilation albums Artist Collection and, which included most of her Impossible Princess era. The appeared on the first disc of Confide in Me: The Irresistible Kylie released in July 2007 by UK independent label Music Club and her K25 Time Capsule by Warner Music Australia in October 2012. The Quivver remix appeared on her 1998 remix compilations Mixes and Impossible Remixes.