Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Album review: INXS

Greatest Hits
(Universal/Mercury, 1994)

Styles: pop/rock, funk, dance-rock, new wave (R&B)
Themes: urban, limelight/center of attention, sexy, party, sensuous, slick, girl hungry/animal magnetism
Key tracks: The One Thing, What You Need, Need You Tonight, Devil Inside, New Sensation, Never Tear Us Apart, Disappear

INXS' penchant for making colorful dance-rock may have also placed them at the premiere of the genre during the '80s assisted by frontman Michael Hutchence's porous sex appeal. Most of the well-knowns are here. Hutch's rompy insistence on the jazzy What You Need. Need You Tonight and Devil Inside display breathy steaminess and animal craving not quite captured since Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf." (I'm sure Hutch had quite a long willing list of women to bed after those two numbers.) On New Sensation, INXS are basically claiming themselves the heirs of the "new thing" with as much confidence, exuberance, swagger, volume, and skill intended. Their tightest rocker. Never Tear Us Apart as many fans will say is the bands finest moment with a classic ballad for the times. Hutch lays out the groundwork with endearing gentility accompanied with tugging strings (keyboards?). Then what cements its memory is a hallmark, full-bodied, storytelling saxophone making a forceful statement during the middle eight to set the song off to another "This is for the one I love" level. It is followed by some beautiful and gentle call & response hooks that eventually fade out. The classic contains the memorable line, "We could live/For a thousand years/But if I hurt you/I'd make wine from your tears."

One of my favorites is the atmospheric, synthish, new wave sheen of The One Thing. To me it depicts the soundtrack feel from some of the Brat Pack movies amongst other sounds from the '80s. The-whole-is-greater-than-its-dated-
instrument-parts of Original Sin is a big, varied dance sound - excellent. The midtempo/uptempo exchanges on the dance rave, bass groove Disappear, the consumate and worldly Stairs and Heaven Sent, and Beautiful Girl with its naked, tender, and simply constructed commitment. The remaining tracks, Strangest Party (These Are the Times) and Deliver Me, are the only real filler on the album. Otherwise this is a solid representation of the bands dance-rock esthetic. When things were clicking, INXS proved they could be unstoppable.

Nostalgic's album title re-working: I'm the Host, and You're Invited

1. The One Thing
2. Original Sin
3. What You Need
4. Listen Like Thieves
5. Shine Like It Does
6. Need You Tonight
7. Devil Inside
8. New Sensation
9. Never Tear Us Apart
10. Suicide Blonde
11. Disappear
12. The Stairs
13. Heaven Sent
14. Beautiful Girl
15. The Strangest Party (These Are The Times)
16. Deliver Me


Blogger David Amulet said...

Good review! I just saw the "new" INXS last night, and wrote a review of the show. I was suprised how well J.D. Fortune handled the Hutchence material, but I wish they would have played "The One Thing."

-- david

5/03/2006 8:15 PM  

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