Kylie Minogue

Body Language (Capitol)

The overarching appeal of a Kylie Minogue album lies in its promise of eternal youth. Her slinky tales of seduction and chunky beats illuminate a fantasy land where glossy, pretty things party all night to the exclusion of responsibility, accountability, or thoughts of living past age 30.

Body Language forgoes the gigantic gay discotheque anthems of 2002's Fever for sugary variations on lighthearted top 40: pop-minded R&B ("Obsession," "Promises"), Justin Timberlake-style keyboard swerves ("Red Blooded Woman"), and even a funky dead ringer for the "Kiss"-era Prince ("Still Standing"). Minogue's chirpy vocals, halfway between Betty Boop and the Madonna of Like a Virgin, are never her strong point, but for every "I Feel for You" -- think Basement Jaxx fronted by a Broadway diva -- there are songs like the smoky ballad "After Dark," whose girlishly sung come-ons continue the disturbing trend of grown women emoting like just-legal jailbait. While these cuts find Kylie crossing into "Act your age!" territory, the remainder of Language is a solid, age-defying adventure in hedonism and sexuality.