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X, INXS 1 - Compact Disc
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INXS reste l'un des plus grands groupes de rock venus d'Australie. Avec plus de 30 000 millions d'albums vendus et 5 000 concerts joués devant des dizaines de millions de fans dans plus de 40 pays. Avec leur style au croisement du rock, du funk et de la new wave, ils ont su créer leur propre son reconnaissable dès la première écoute. Fondé en 1977 par Michael Hutchence et les frères Farris, c'est avec l'album The Swing dont est issu le tube Original Sin (classé n°1 en France en 1984) que le groupe perce au niveau mondial. C'est cependant grâce à Kick qui contient entre autre les tubes Need You Tonight et Never Tear Us Apart que le groupe remplit les stades à travers le monde. Malheureusement l'aventure prendra fin avec le décès prématuré de Michael Hutchence. Voici donc réédités et remasterisés les 4 meilleurs albums du groupe INXS.
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One fact that I find amazing about Inxs is that this six member band stuck together from their formation in the late 1970s through Michael Hutchence's untimely death in 1997. During this period, the band would release 10 studio albums, 1 Greatest Hits album, and 1 Live album. This has allowed the band to meld together and grow professionally. Much of this is due to the fact that three band members are brothers: Andrew Farriss (Keyboards), Jon Farriss (Drums), and Tim Farriss (Guitar). The other three members also stuck tightly with the band the whole way. These members include: Michael Hutchence (Lead Vocals), Garry Gary Beers (Bass), and Kirk Pengilly (Guitar and Sax). Hutchence - known for his long hair and theatrical performances in concert often gets the most publicity. But the remaining five members all make major contributions from a musicianship standpoint. In addition, Hutchence is not just eye candy - he plays a key role in the songwriting. Like on the "Kick" album, the majority of the songs are written by Hutchence and Andrew Farriss (9 of the 11 tracks were the combination of this duo).
I think Inxs' musical style can be considered an offshoot of the Punk and New-Wave movements of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Early in their careers, they definitely fit in with the synth-pop movement of the early 1980s. When "Kick" was released, one of its strengths was to incorporate some more traditional Rock sounds into their portfolio - particularly with the use of Guitars. To some extent, this fit in with the transition of the 80s music landscape from synth-pop to guitar laden sounds - although on "X", Inxs did not transition the guitar sound to a complete extreme. "X" continues the formula that worked for "Kick" - incorporating a Rock sound while still keeping to their some of their New Wave roots. Inxs also explores some new territory by introducing harmonica into two songs. One other difference I would make between "Kick" and "X" is that "X" has a bit of darker, haunting quality.
As mentioned above, there is some very strong material on this album. Perhaps the strongest track on this collection is "The Stairs". This could be one of the most underrated songs of all time. This is a complete effort by the band with all members fully contributing. This song is also very intense from a lyrical standpoint - combine it with the outstanding musicianship and it takes on a "3 dimensional" effect. For starters, this song has one of the greatest instrumental introductions of all time - the first 1:40 of instrumentals set the tone for the intense vocals of Michael Hutchence. You'll hear all of the instruments in full force as they slowly build up during that intro.. Once Michael's vocals come on - they truly take center stage. Most people know of Michael's tragic suicide in 1997. The song has a bit of a haunting feeling when you hear it now - especially with the lyrics "The nature of your tragedy is chained around your neck... There are reasons here to give your life".
There are other songs that are very strong. Songs like "By My Side", "Lately", and "Hear That Sound" are as good as any song by Inxs. The music and lyrics in "By My Side" does have that haunting quality. This was a song written by Andrew, Kirk, and producer Chris Thomas. Andrew's keyboard is very strong throughout this tune. Michael also demonstrates powerful vocals on that track. Michael also shows some of the best vocal ranges he has ever shown on "Lately". "Lately" features some great guitar and bass work as well. "Hear That Sound" is a track that will take a little while to get into, but it will grow on you. The chorus has almost a "jam" feel with the whole band as Michael sings "Hear that Sound".
Also worth mentioning is "Bitter Tears". With it's "jamming" qualities, this song will also slowly grow on you. The two singles that were released are good tracks as well. These songs also reflect Inxs' New Wave roots very well. "Disappear" is probably the better of the two. The harmonies that open the song are excellent. The guitar work is outstanding on the chorus. The haunting quality is referenced in the lyrics in terms of "pain and suffering". The other single was "Suicide Blonde". The title alone gives this song a haunting feel. Kirk's trademark Saxaphone is featured in this song.
The other songs are good - I wouldn't say there are any lemons, but they aren't as good as the ones mentioned. It is worth noting that the harmonica sound on "Who Pays the Price" and "On My Way" deserves some credit, but it doesn't elevate those songs to the level of the ones above. All of the lyrics are included, but like "Kick" are in a compressed fashion with multiple lines of the lyrics on a single line - makes it difficult to read. The liner notes fold out - as to make one side a poster of the band. While this song may have some of Inxs' strongest tracks, top to bottom it doesn't have the depth of "Kick". It still is an excellent collection - highly recommended.
The band was also obviously aware of their position. Many of the songs on "X" sound over-thought out. Only the initial single sounds at all spontaneous, with Charlie Musselwhite's killer harmonica riff elevating "Suicide Blonde" to a classic. And the catchy "doo doo doo" chorus on "Disappear" made that song a worthy single as well. But then the songs begin to lose steam. "Bitter Tears" and "By My Side" hold up the best, but the "Kick" factor is literally not there.
That having been said, "X" is still a very satisfying listen. Had this been that album before "Kick" and after "Listen Like Thieves," I doubt it would get the bad rap it often gets. They explored some funky sounds here ("Bitter Tears" and "Who Pays The Price") that would have also made strong singles. Micael Hutchence is one of rock's all time great frontmen, and I've always been a sucker for Kirk Pengilly's sax riffs. While this would not be my first choice for an INXS purchase, I still recommend "X" to fans of the band's style of rock.
This is my favorite INXS CD, while it's pretty hard to top Kick which I also really enjoy, for some reason this one is always the one I reach for. It's hard to believe that it's 16 years old, seems like it was just yesterday that I first heard these songs. This one may not have been as successful as Kick, but I think it is just as good if not better.