Purists may whine, but this latest Kylie Minogue best of compilation ticks most of the right boxes.

Which definitive is that, exactly? Ms Minogue has never been short of greatest hits albums, with various compilations to her name to date, and a churl might unkindly point out that she has released precisely one Top 20 single in the past five years (2014’s Into The Blue).

Nor is this 42-track 2CD or 3LP (black, limited-edition mint green or picture-disc vinyl) any more definitive than its predecessors. Kylie-philes and completists will bemoan the absence of singles such as 1992’s Finer Feelings and her 2004 No.6 hit, Chocolate, while the 1997 Manic Street Preachers collaboration Some Kind Of Bliss is also oddly absent.

It’s not one for the purists, then, but for more casual fans, Step Back In Time will do just fine. With 74 singles to choose from over her 32-year career to date, there is no shortage of material to cherry-pick from, and in fact it is notable just how rarely the quality drops.

Kylie is a trouper who works with what she has and makes it count – no matter what the genre. Madonna is routinely lauded as pop’s great self-reinventor but Kylie’s lengthy oeuvre is virtually as eclectic. Is it Madonna’s greater agency that sees her hailed as a top strategist, while Kylie has never entirely totally lost the ‘pop puppet’ tag?

It is certainly unfair. Minogue has always roamed across musical styles with sure-footed élan, whether it be the tinny but infectious teen-pop of I Should Be So Lucky or the breathy siren murdered by Nick Cave in Where The Wild Roses Grow. They could not be more different. They’re both very her.

In this box, the sumptuous disco-hued millennial electropop of her Parlophone years dominates CD1. It’s a delight. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, Spinning Around, In Your Eyes, On A Night Like This… if you don’t own a similar Greatest Hits, this embarrassment of riches alone makes it a must-buy. The second disc is decidedly more uneven, yet the SAW baby-steps of 1987 debut Locomotion and cheese-fest Jason Donovan collaboration Especially For You are balanced out by sleek sophisti-pop such as Confide In Me and Put Yourself In My Place. It’s a pity that the sole new track, current single New York City, is a damp squib.

Step Back In Time isn’t perfect, it sure ain’t definitive, but it is a nifty guide to one of the great modern pop careers. What a survivor! Her Glastonbury set should be a killer.

8/10

Ian Gittins

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