CD Review of Kick by INXS

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Released: 1987
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Aussie rock band INXS followed up Listen Like Thieves with something almost as catchy -- and what was possibly just a downright continuation -- in Kick, an album which spawned four top ten singles and cemented INXS as one of the greatest rock bands in history. Like Thieves, Kick was full of songs that were dance-floor thumpers, and was the sign of a band that could do nothing more than enjoy its own incredible momentum. Singer Michael Hutchence was riding a train to god-like status, and it’s unfortunate that his train de-railed far too early. But before that, he and the rest of INXS made a few statements with their music.

The mega-singles from Kick were “New Sensation,” “Devil Inside,” “Need You Tonight,” and “Never Tear Us Apart.” “Need You Tonight” was a slow to mid-tempo track that found its way onto dance floors and was the band’s only #1 single in America, and “Never Tear Us Apart” was about as close to a ballad as this band could produce. But there was still a lot more depth to the record, including the before-its-time, rap-infused “Mediate.” Other lesser-known gems were “Mystify,” which could have been a single on any other INXS album, and “Tiny Daggers,” which is remarkably upbeat for a song with that title. And was there ever a sentiment that summed up life better than the title track’s “Sometimes you kick/Sometimes you get kicked”?

If you were lucky enough to catch the Hutchence-fronted version of INXS, you can probably attest to the fact that they were one of the top live rock bands of their time, or maybe of all time. Still, they managed to capture a lot of that live energy in the studio as well. Listen Like Thieves wasn’t the chart-topper this album was, but it paved the way for the success of its follow-up. Kick was simply a great album released when the band was at the height of its career.

~Jeff Giles