seems sadly ironic in that it is, in part, a fitting eulogy and biography. No doubt about it, Hutchence gave the band its charisma, its sensuality, and also its funk appeal. So what if he couldn't dance? His phrasing and sense of timing were more than half of the rhythm behind "Need You Tonight," "What You Need," and "New Sensation." He even gave Mick Jagger a run for his money with "Devil Inside" and "Suicide Blonde." As a band, INXS were a finely honed machine, even from the beginning new-wave horns of "The One Thing" to the more orchestral "Never Tear Us Apart." The collection also contains two unreleased tracks, but, interestingly enough, the transcending and powerful "Don't Change" is nowhere to be found.
Two good new tracks - but ultimately a dated collection
With 9 studio albums released and 15 years in the industry, by the time 1994 rolled around - other than a 1991 Live Album ("Live Baby Live"), the Australian Rock Band Inxs had not produced a greatest hits album. Thus in 1994, the band released the first of what would be many compilations, this one called "The Greatest Hits". At the time, this collection was an excellent one. Although this still is a very good collection to start with, the disadvantage is that it does compete with some other compilations the band has released over the years.
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.
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. By the time 1987's "Kick" was released, the band began to incorporate some more traditional Rock sounds into their portfolio - particularly with the use of Guitars. This corresponded very nicely to the 80s music landscape transitioning from synth-pop to more guitar laden sounds. However on all of its releases the band always stuck true to their roots throughout this 15 year period.
On this collection, Inxs does something I really like- With Greatest Hits collections, I find that the best "Greatest Hits" collections are ones that arrange the songs in chronological order. This allows me to see how an artist progresses over time. This collection really focuses on the songs that did well for Inxs from a commercial standpoint. It doesn't cover all of the albums that had been released to date. There are no songs from Inxs' first two albums: the self--titled "Inxs" and "Underneath the Colours". There are also no songs from 1984's album, "The Swing" and nothing from the 1993 release "Full Moon Dirty Hearts". With the exception of "The Swing", these other albums were not as commercially successful as their other work - thus they didn't fit in with what this release was targeting. As for the other CDs, "The Greatest Hits" does a very nice job at balancing selections from each CD. As the trend with many greatest hits collections, there are two new songs - this is geared at getting the fans who already have Inxs albums to buy "The Greatest Hits". These new songs are "The Strangest Party (These are the Times)" and "Deliver Me".
Following Michael's tragic death, this is when many of the other compilations from the band have been released. The two most important compilations that "rival" this release are 2001's 2 CD set called "Shine Like it Does: The Anthology" and 2002's "The Best of Inxs". The most complete of all the compilations is "Shine Like it Does". This contains all of the songs from "The Greatest Hits" with the exception of one of the new songs on "The Greatest Hits" called "Deliver Me". "Shine Like it Does" also has some previously unreleased material and some material from the first two albums. Based on all of the factors I mention, I would consider "Shine Like it Does" the better option over "The Greatest Hits". The other compilation, "The Best of Inxs" does contain more songs - however there are some tracks on "The Greatest Hits" not found on "The Best of Inxs" and vice versa. Most notably missing from "The Best of Inxs" that are included on "The Greatest Hits" are "The Stairs" and "Shine Like it Does" (the song). "The Best of Inxs" does include "By my Side". The other thing to note is that "The Best of Inxs" does not go in chronological order and it also has two unreleased songs. Even with "The Stairs" missing and the lack of chronological order, I'd still give it a slight nod over "The Greatest Hits". There are also several import compilations that have been released.
I really like the two new songs included on "The Greatest Hits". Both songs are produced by Chris Thomas, the producer behind "Listen Like Thieves", "Kick", and "X". In both songs, Inxs seems to explore a new avenue - a funk influence. The stronger of the two songs is "The Strangest Party (These are the Times)" - there is a terrific percussion pattern that almost has an African-like sound to it. "Deliver Me" is also a pretty good tune.
The liner notes contain a three-panel write-up of the history of the band. As with the case of most of Inxs' liner notes, this is in a condensed size font and thus is difficult to read. There are no lyrics to any of the songs included. I was also a bit disappointed that the lyrics to the new songs were not included. I also thought it would have been good if they listed the album that each song was from. All in all, this isn't a bad collection - particularly for the new fan. However, I still think "Shine as It Does" would be my first choice followed by "The Best of Inxs".
INXS's first Greatest Hits package is a good taste of what you can expect from the Aussie supergroup. A wide ranging look to where the band has been and how far it has come from the Australian beer barns. Although it does lean a little to the safe side, maybe for commercial reasons as this compilation was released at a time when the band's sales were sliding. The "usual suspects" are in this compilation including "New Sensation", "Never Tear Us Apart", "What You Need", "Suicide Blonde" and "Disappear". Highlights include "Shine Like it Does", "Original Sin", "The Stairs" and "Heaven Sent". Glaring omissions from this compilation are "The Gift", timeless "Don't Change", "Stay Young", "Mediate", the bone crunhing "Taste It" and "By My Side". Overall a "good" package for those who are curious. For the fans or those who want to hear more listen to: MAX Q (Michael Hutchence's solo project '89'), Welcome To Wherever You Are(their best studio album) and watch Live Baby Live on DVD.
Your moves are so raw..I've got to let you know............
The band INXS as we know it pretty much ended with Michael Hutchence's death. This band was a powerhouse in the 80's with the stellar albums What You Need and Kick. Thier style was a unique mixture of rock, new wave and even a little bit of punk. I Need You Tonight, New Sensation, Suicide Blond..there are all here in thier original splendid form.
There are two great things about this album. It's mostly in chronological order from when it was relesed and the music stil sounds great today. Two, unless you are a hardcore INXS fan this will really be enough for you. I have this CD is my regular rotation of about 200 CD's and its always welcome when its number is called. The CD concludes with Beutiful Girl and then looses some steam with the last two songs but the hour preceding that is evenly strong.
Bottom Line: This is great album that most of the pre 20's crowd will find completely foreign. Trivia question: which band won best music video (MTV) of 1987....INXS - Need You Tonight.