“I’ll forgive and forget
If you say you’ll never go
‘Cause it’s true what they say
It’s better the devil you know”
Written by Stock, Aitken & Waterman
Produced by Stock, Aitken & Waterman
Taken from the album Rhythm Of Love
Also released on Kylie’s Remixes Volume 2, Greatest Hits, Greatest Remix Hits 2, Greatest Remix Hits 3, Greatest Remix Hits 4, Intimate And Live, Greatest Hits 1987-1992, Greatest Hits 87-97, Greatest Hits 1987-1999, Ultimate Kylie, Showgirl, Showgirl: Homecoming Live and Live In New York
UK #2, AUS #4
You may hear people talking about ‘Confide In Me’ or ‘Spinning Around’ as the important turning points in the career of Kylie Minogue, but the real catalyst for her change in image was ‘Better The Devil You Know’, by far her most significant reinvention yet. Without this song there would have been no chance to switch it up for ‘Confide In Me’, there would have been no legend to trade off when it came to ‘Spinning Around’. Without ‘Better The Devil You Know’, Kylie may have just faded into the background of pop music.
This song has the same happy/sad paradox that made ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ so interesting, with an uplifting nineties dance beat complicated by lyrics that have a desperate, almost pathetic sadness to them. “I’ll be here, every day, waiting for your love to show”, Kylie sings, almost yelling at us, telling us she’ll do anything, allow anything to happen, as long as her man stays by her side. She doesn’t care if he’s cheating, if he doesn’t love her, because it’s better the devil you know. For a song with such a bleak outlook to become a camp classic takes a fair amount of skill.
Of course it helps that the song is catchier than crabs and that the beat is more infectious than anything Kylie had done up to this point. That noise at the beginning is an epic moment, too. ‘Better The Devil You Know’ positively tramples all of Kylie’s SAW material, and it is her all-time greatest track… well, almost.