Considering that INXS was one of the most popular bands in the world during their reign, you will be forgiven for thinking, “What asshole thinks INXS is in need of a critical upgrade?”
Recently, on a work call, a Scottish colleague quoted an INXS lyric that was actually poignant. I’d never considered the lyrics of INXS, and maybe the rest of their lyrics are still not worth my consideration, but I did realize that one reason I never paid any attention to their lyrics was because the rhythms and animal desire expressed by Michael Hutchence were so strong. The craft of those unavoidable hit songs from the late-’80s was strong, too. I’ll go one bold step further: For a popular ’80s band, they struck a solid Look.
I never particularly loved or even liked INXS, but they had it down. I discovered Roxy Music just as they started to get super slick, over their last couple of albums. Because I was hooked by the early, wild stuff, I could “excuse” some of the too-slick-for-my-sensibilities areas into which Bryan Ferry led the band. On the other hand, INXS came out of the gates, for me at least, all slick and shiny and pumped up. Looking back, I’ll take this INXS song over any late-period Roxy Music song other than “More Than This.”
I expect that both my close personal friend E. Pluribus Gergely and the wonderful 2000 Man are squirming as they read this, but I think they’d agree that Mick Jagger, from 1983 on, would have cut off his left nut to make music this good.