Review – Here come the aliens

“The seasons come and go again”, sings Kim Wilde on ‘Pop Don’t Stop’, “and what was old is new again.” Could this apply to Wilde herself, who burst on to the scene in 1981 with ‘Kids in America’, then turned her back on pop in the mid-90s to focus on motherhood and gardening?

Admittedly, she’s edged her way back a handful of times over the last decade, most recently with 2013’s Christmas album ‘Wilde Winter Songbook’. But, while last year’s festive release with thrash metallers Lawnmower Deth, ‘F U Kristmas’, signalled Wilde’s return to planet pop, few took it entirely seriously, least of all Wilde herself…

Opener ‘1969’, the song from whose lyrics this album gets its name, also makes this clear, as Wilde takes us on a glam-powered, historical journey beginning with that year’s moon landings.

But behind all the boisterous vigour she makes a serious point about today’s environmental threats. By shifting childhood fears of extra-terrestrials “hiding out there somewhere in the galaxy” to “you know they tried to warn us”, the song proves more complex than it first appears: follow that melody and you’ll grasp how ingenious Wilde’s toplines are.

Indeed, there’s plenty of inventiveness on show here, whether it’s the cheeky lift from Duran Duran’s ‘The Reflex’ on ‘Yours ‘Til The End’ (though its sentiments are somewhat timeworn), or ‘Pop Don’t Stop’, featuring her brother Ricky, which disguises itself for an ironic return to the charts by adopting contemporary mainstream tropes, yet nods devilishly to The Buggles’ ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’. She further indulges her glam leanings, too, with ‘Different Story’ and ‘Stereo Shot’ – a fuzzy stand-in for Goldfrapp’s ‘Ooh La La’ – lining up alongside ‘1969’.

Nonetheless, she gets serious with the industrial flavours of ‘Cyber.Nation.War’, which addresses internet trolls, while ‘Solstice’ tells the story of teenagers Charleigh Disbrey and Mert Karaoglan, who – fearing Karaoglan’s family disapproval of their relationship – took their own lives together in 2013. So Wilde is still down with the kids then, and often in unexpected ways. There’s still reason to keep hangin’ on.