Blue Plate Special: INXS
For this week’s music post, I thought I’d cover yet another major musical influence: INXS. One of the songs that stands out from my middle school years was The One Thing off of their 2nd album, Shabooh Shoobah (1982). I had a couple friends who always seemed to have pocket change to pick up new music, so while most of my music consumption was through radio (ugh, I hate radio) I was thankfully able to borrow cassettes or singles once in a while, and not too long after, mix tapes became a thing. But INXS was one of those bands that I always seemed to scrape together the funds to purchase something. In fact, I was a little late on the CD bandwagon (I was a poor college student) and Kick was my first CD purchased.
My early musical taste was shaped by a few core bands: Duran Duran (of course), Talk Talk, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus, Oingo Boingo, and INXS more than any others. So for this week’s music sharing, I wanted to share a few of the standout singles from their 12 studio albums. It’s not meant to be a “Best Of” compilation — just a list of some of my favorites that had a huge influence on my teenage years. Enjoy!
The One Thing – from Shabooh Shoobah (1982)
One memory from when I was 14 was a friend talking to a group of girls at a dance, and as I walked up, I overheard one girl commenting about me “Oh, that’s the guy who is always listening to INXS and Oingo Boingo.” I remember thinking “Hey, that’s not such a bad association.” I remember hearing this song back in 1982 and instantly loving it, and soon after found copies of their first two albums. You usually have a soft place in your heart for the album where you “discovered” a new band, and for me, that was Shabooh Shoobah.
Original Sin – from The Swing (1984)
While their 5th and 6th albums, Listen Like Thieves (1985) and Kick (1987) are what catapulted INXS into worldwide attention, it was their 4th studio album (The Swing) that made them an underground and college chart-topper in the US. I remember purchasing this single from Tower Records in Sacramento, across from Sunrise Mall. I was living in Placerville, California at the time and had very little cash, but this single and album were a priority for me, and I played them over and over again. Around this time I was producing a lot of mix tapes for people, and this album played a starring role in most of them.
Just Keep Walking – from INXS (1980)
My favorite single from their debut album, INXS, the low production value of the video is pure awesomeness. Look at how freaking thin Michael looks! He’s a scarecrow. I remember having a 26″ waist a long, long time ago… But I digress. The song is brilliant in its simplicity, and best showcases their sound from this album, I think.
Sometimes – from Max Q (1989 side project)
After the resounding success of the Kick album and global tour that thoroughly cemented the band’s global rock phenom status, it was not a surprise to hear that singer Hutchence had formed a side project with his friend Ollie Olsen, which they dubbed Max Q. I think it was as much about Michael wanting to spread his wings a bit with songwriting since the majority of INXS output came from Andrew Farriss. While not an INXS album, in my mind it ranks up there with the top albums from the band. If you like this, check out this video compilation of their 3 singles, with another edition of Sometimes, but with the entire band.
New Sensation – from Kick (1987)
I think this was the actual song that made fans of the majority of the world. While there were several hits from their 6th studio album, this was the ultimate single, with Andrew Farriss at his music writing prime, and Hutchence nailing it.
Disappear – from X (1990)
In my opinion, their follow-up to Kick was the last really good album that still had that “INXS sound” with Disappear just a fantastic release. From there, the band sounded like any other middle-of-the-road rock band, sounding more mainstream than previous albums. This single is definitely one of their best.
Night of Rebellion – from Underneath the Colours (1981)
While this video is obviously lipsyncing and the crowd can’t keep a beat, it’s just an amazing song from their second studio album, and another of my favorites.