| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Pop star Kylie Minogue has cultivated international success spanning two decades with her sultry image and catchy, tinny pop songs that blossomed into mainstream dance music beats.
The London-based, Australian singer is still selling her dance-floor hits and sexy formula with her new album "Aphrodite," being released globally on July 6.
The first single, "All The Lovers" features a provocative new video where she is effortlessly hoisted up by underwear-clad men and women caressing her and each other in an image that blends easily with work from earlier in her career.
If a sexy video seems like an easy way to create sales in an ailing music world, Minogue told Reuters in an interview that nothing in her long career has been simple. At age 42, she admits pressure is still on to sustain her sensuous image, and battling cancer in 2005 has taken a toll on her body.
"There is no short cut to learning your craft," she said of her time in the music business since her 1987 cover of "The Loco-Motion" launched her career. "You don't know it in the beginning, you can't fathom that, but now, 20-plus years later, I can go into the studio and I know where I sit."
The new album was steered by British producer Stuart Price, one of the most in-demand pop producers, best known for his work on Madonna's 2005 album "Confessions on a Dancefloor".
"Aphrodite" features 12 tracks that highlight her uplifting dance-floor roots mixed in with disco beats, and it discards any ballads like those that appeared on previous albums. Music executives hope it will help boost struggling label EMI Group.
Early reviews have been glowing, with the BBC calling the album "pure Kylie magic" and The Telegraph in London rating it four stars. The Telegraph called it "a mainstream pop blast" with "tingly keyboard hooklines" showing off "the sensuality of her light, breathy, close-to-the-mic vocals."
Apart from hits including "Can't Get You Out of My Head" from her 2001 album "Fever," Minogue has not achieved the wide audience in the United States that she enjoys in parts of Europe and Asia, but she could capitalize in America on the current popularity of dance music spearheaded by Lady Gaga.
"It is still pop dance but it has got a euphoric theme," Minogue told Reuters, adding the album reflected the "good place" she felt in her relationship with Spanish model Andres Velencoso.
"With him, it has been just very relaxed and a very easy relationship so I have got that kind of feeling at the moment," she said.
SEX STILL SELLS
Her image is played up in the "All The Lovers" video that shows same-sex kissing which Minogue said paid "homage" to her gay audience who helped propel her initial success.
"I said I am fine with all of that, but it can't be overt and I don't want it to be for shock value or anything like that," she said of the video, before adding, "If you look at the demographics in any of my shows, there is all sorts there."
Minogue shed any claim to being labeled a wholesome, "girl-next-door" years ago when she dated late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence and showed off a penchant for wearing hot pants. But now, she said the pressure to look good everyday was at times wearing.
"I can feel there is a personal pressure in the digital age when you have got 15 paparazzi out the front of your house. It is a bit confronting and daunting," she said. "But I think I have found a place where I am comfortable now."
She has been part of a small number celebrities to openly talk about having used Botox in the past.
"It's so run-of-the-mill these days," she said, adding that the "pursuit of beauty" was as old as time and part of an adventurous personality. "I am out there with the first girls, if there is something fabulous I will go and try it."
The tiny pop star recently made her debut at the music festival in Glastonbury, five years after she was forced to pull out due to being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Even if it is not evident in her music videos, her body has indeed changed, she said, due to her cancer treatment, which at one point caused her to lose all her hair.
"Beauty treatments you can have, all of that stuff aside, I do look different now than I did certainly before I was ill, " she said. "Now I look back then and think, 'there was just nothing of me'."
(editing by Bob Tourtellotte)