#TBT – Track Of The Day – BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
When I think back to the 80s music wise, I think of slick productions, huge selling albums, big ballads, the way that disco evolved into house music, the arrival of hip hop….And of course… Kylie.
In a year when Neighbours aired its last episode, another 80s stalwart, most people know that this wasn’t just a platform to launch stars from the small screen to Hollywood, it was also the place where big music careers were launched.
Kylie found herself in the UK in 1987 hot off the success of Neighbours, recording with record producers Stock Aitken Waterman, how and why that happened is committed to music legend, but the story goes that she was waiting to meet with them in reception and they’d completely forgotten that she was coming and wrote “I Should Be So Lucky” in fifteen minutes, meaning that she should be so lucky to get even their most basic song. She had no clue this was happening of course, and was sat in the reception area while this was going on, cut the vocals and then flew home again.
Whether this is true or not we will never know, it was the 80s after all!
However, it was a very fruitful partnership, S/A/W recorded four hit albums with Kylie and “Better The Devil You Know” was part of the 3rd one.
The reason why I picked this as throwback track of the day was because this was S/A/W’s hundredth charting song.
When you think S/A/W you think catchy pop songs, current for the time house music breaks, but this was even more than that, the synths, the 909 drums, piano the hard synth bass line, sampled vocal with the oh oh oh…. I bet when they recorded this they thought this was going to be a hit on the dance floor. This has the elements of that era, Italian house piano, big toms, the violins playing along… If they had taken this back to 1970s I reckon they could have set the dance floors alight if given a Chic style production.
This is not by far my favourite Kylie song, but the memories of that time come flooding back when it comes on my playlist, because I was 14 years old back then and just discovering how to program drum machines with my mate John in secondary school. It came from “Rhythm Of Love” an album that allowed Kylie to speed her wings as she was wanting to break out of that girl next door mould so it was the first time where the whole album wasn’t produced by the team, and featuring other producers from the USA. I can imagine that was a battle to be able to come up with songs that would sit comfortably there. But in the end this still stands up to the test of time. Put it on and tell me you won’t want to do a bit of dancing after a bit of shandy.
Listen to the track Here Now
Words by Del Osei-Owusu