Can't Get You Out Of My Head
Manufactured pop reaches new heights of sophictication
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8th September 2001
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The Flaming Lips, Jack L, Inkubus Sukkubus, Helena Noguera, Noel Akchote
Written by a songwriter known for providing chart gold to order for other acts; sung by an ex-soap star who found fame in the hands of producers who specialised in danceable, manufactured, bubblegum pop: ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ doesn’t look promising as a cultural icon on paper. But despite the odds it’s a song that’s been a hit in just about every country on Earth, given credibility to its singer and even inspired a rather complex book about the very nature of pop and electronica.
La la la, la la la lala'Can't Get You Out Of My Head'
Produced by the team of Rob Davis and Cathy Dennis (who wrote it), ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’’s whole construction is deceptively simple, but its veins run with the whole history of electronic music: a fact spotted by critic Paul Morley when he wrote his book ‘Words and Music’ in which he uses an imaginary car ride into a gleaming futuristic city (as depicted in the song’s official video) with Kylie as the starting point for a metaphorical journey through the history of music and technology.
It comes equipped with pulsing bassline which is equal parts New Order and Kraftwerk, and again, the German techno wizards are referenced in the song’s video by having male dancers wear the same red and black that the band do on the front of their seminal Man Machine album. Such meta-references only served to bestow an aura of instant cool on La Minogue’s return to the top of the charts.
But of course, none of this would have worked if it hadn’t been a truly wonderful bit of pop. From the initial, breathy ‘La la la’s, it’s earworm material of the highest order. And it marked the point where manufactured pop gained a new post-modern respectability.