Today marks 15 years since the release of Kylie Minogue’s “Slow”, the sultry dance single that happens to be the Australian queen of pop’s last #1 hit on the UK Singles Chart.
Co-written by Kylie herself, the song was her first release since the internationally succcessful Fever, which spawned a worldwide hit and her signature song, the infectious “Can’t You Get Out of My Head.”
What could’ve possibly top that? Nothing, as exemplified when “Slow” didn’t experience equal success across national borders, but the pulsating synthpop track was a chart-topper in her native country and five European nations.
Like majority of her songs that ever tried the US, “Slow” barely made a dent, but the minimalist song with breathy vocals and a trickling electronic loop was beloved in their clubs. In February 2004, it reached #1 on the Dance/Club Songs chart.
While the lyrics invite the listener to “slow down and dance” with her, the music video is a twist on what it really means to dance. Kylie and dozens of sexy dancers lay down to tan by a swimming pool in Spain and never stand throughout the video, going so close as to sit up once during its restless yet intricate choreography. Can you believe it took two days to film this video?
Sun tanning had never looked this good; the song is a staple in my playlist of songs to lie under the sun to.
On release week, Kylie performed the song at the MTV Europe Music Awards, starting with an extended intro where robotic Kylie vocals chant the parent album’s title, Body Language.
I can’t decide which part of it was more iconic: Kylie modifying a lyric to yell, “I want my MTV! Ah! Yeah! Slow!” or when one of the six dancers’ red fluorescent tubes kept malfunctioning at the start.
But the true anecdote about “Slow”? It could have very well been traded off for another song instead: “Toxic”, which ended up not even being a Kylie song.
It’s that “Toxic”: the song by Britney Spears released as a single in the same year as “Slow”. The truth is, “Toxic” was initially offered to Kylie to record, but she passed on it during the recording of Body Language. Imagine a world where Kylie had recorded “Toxic”: it could have actually replaced “Slow” the album’s first single.
Nine years later in 2012, Kylie would describe “Slow” as the favorite track she ever recorded in her career, more than “Can’t Get You Out of My Head.” It’s no wonder she passed on “Toxic”: her eyes were fixated on “Slow”.
Hilariously, “Slow” would lose at the Grammys in 2004 to “Toxic”; both songs were nominated for Best Dance Recording, and Britney emerged on top instead, winning the American pop princess her first (and to date, only) Grammy.
So imagine again if “Toxic” went to Kylie instead: she could have won herself another Grammy. Ultimately, that didn’t happen, but we’ll always have the impeccable “Slow” as one of Kylie’s many masterpieces.