JTwo days ago, a BBC Radio 1 spokesperson explained why Kylie Minogue’s Padam Padam hadn’t made her playlist, as the twisted electropop song was her first Top 10 single in 12 years and is now nearing a national obsession. (Last week, it even made it into Hansard, referenced by Labor MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle in a Pride speech: “And finally, Mr Vice-President, in the words of Kylie, padam.) “Each track is considered for the playlist based on its musical merit and whether it suits our target audience, with decisions made on a case-by-case basis,” the spokesperson said.
Kylie turned 55 last month, leading to accusations of ageism against Radio 1. In response, the station claimed that ‘an artist’s age is never a factor’ in making decision. Technically, that’s confirmed — David Guetta is a perpetual station figure, currently on the C-list with Baby Don’t Hurt Me, and he’s also 55. But Guetta is a fairly anonymous dance producer. The stakes are obviously different for women whose looks and physique contribute to an overall pop performance in which the suggestion of desirability is key. As the culture perceives women as becoming less attractive and sexually viable as they reach middle age, the assumption is clearly that an older female performer is of little importance to Radio’s listening population. 1 aged 15-29, even though – or maybe specifically because she’s singing about a dancefloor craze so delirious that she and the person destined for the song have to go straight home” and take off all my clothes.
But the target audience had other ideas about what suited them and what didn’t, and asked the station so loudly that a few days later they confirmed that Padam Padam would be added to their C list this Friday – the first song from Kylie has been rotating it since Get Outta My Way in 2010. If this week’s midweek chart prediction is correct, on that day the single will also climb two spots to No. 7, making it her highest charting hit since All the Lovers in 2010. The song’s success was driven largely by social media, with Hobbycraft Wimbledon staff spoofing the video from fans who were likely unborn when it released Spinning Around the 2000s, his first club comeback, dancing to it on TikTok. “What’s interesting is the younger generation,” Minogue said recently. “They’re not old, they don’t care, which is so refreshing: we love this song, it’s a banger, they’re into it!”
The success of Padam Padam fulfills the prophecy of his own words: nothing stands in the way of true enthusiasm. It also underscores the wonderful reciprocity between Kylie and her longtime LGBTQ+ audience. For years, she’s given fans her relentless ability to reinvent and thrive in the face of perceived obsolescence (and overcome real hardships, like her 2005 brush with cancer). As Nick Cave told me when I interviewed Kylie in 2020: “On some level, we understand her hardships, but she exudes pure joy. It is an extraordinarily powerful message. She is a true diva-dom, embodying the promise of liberation. In return, insisting that a 55-year-old woman singing that she had the urge to go home and fuck a complete stranger East pop music, East deeply sexy and deserved to sit at the center of the culture, her fans denigrate the idea of a female pop ideal sold by an industry with limited imagination.
Written by Ina Wroldsen and Peter Rycroft, Padam Padam continues Kylie’s career-long ability to seize narrative and push it toward joy. The titular phrase comes from a song by Edith Piaf released in 1951, in which it replaced the beating of a haunted heart, forever reminding the singer of old follies, lost love and the disjointed memories of a lifetime. spent falling into the same old tricks. But in Kylie’s hands, it’s the beating of excitement and potential in real time, a suggestion, a wink, an invitation to pleasure and escape. (Sex Kylie lives.) It only exists in the moment, just like Kylie does as a pop star – the secret to her five-decade longevity; she also knows that the chemistry of a perfect moment in the club is an escape for queer fans too, especially during this hideous time of increased attacks on LGBTQ+ rights.
It’s deep – but it’s not deep at all either. Padam Padam is absolutely perfect pop nonsense, an explosive awop-bop-a-loo-mop a-lop-bom-bom! of delight. It can mean anything you want: understatement, affirmation, statement of madness, nod of recognition. (Jessie Ware, who has collaborated with Kylie, recently joked that she should come out on stage saying to her own very LGBTQ-centric audience, “Hello, I’m Jessie Ware: Padam! And everyone will go : Padam!”) been called the “Padam-ic” resonates with a cultural moment in which frivolity and levity seem to be making a comeback after the pandemic and after a time when culture was taken very, very seriously. (Yes, I see you, no one in the comments saying “Does writing 900 words about this not invalidate your argument?”
It’s pop art by a master of form that has ensured that no one will ever hear “la la la” the same way again. “We don’t have to use our words,” Kylie sings. She sings about the infatuation, but might as well talk about her connection to her loyal fan base, one that understands Kylie as synonymous with transcending boundaries. The guards didn’t stand a chance.