Playlist: Rock Duets

Sometimes a duet is the best thing in the world. Other times, it’s a disaster. But it always leaves memorable stories. There’s something about two huge musicians getting together to create music that’s thrilling and exciting. Pop music is full of countless duets, but they don’t seem as popular for rock music. They certainly exist; they’re just not as abundant as they are in pop music. So let’s look at some of the most notable and popular duets in rock music. For the purpose of this playlist, a duet is a song where both artists have an equal amount of time on the track.

“Close My Eyes Forever” – Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne

This is probably the most famous rock duet. The song, which apparently came about as an accident according to Sharon Osbourne, was the third single for Lita Ford’s self-titled debut album. With sappy lyrics and a blazing guitar solo, it’s no different from the many power ballads of the era. Ozzy’s haunting vocals do add an eerie touch to the song, but it’s still pretty cheesy. Though I love Osbourne, I never liked this song. It’s too slow for my tastes and is just corny. Then again, I’d be hard press to find one power ballad from the 80s I actually like. Still, this single stands out as one of the most notable duets in rock music.

“Love Interruption” – Jack White and Ruby Amanfu

The music world went a little nuts when Jack White announced a solo album only a year after the White Stripes ended. The debut single “Love Interruption” wasn’t what people expected. There were no roaring riffs and White screaming over screeching guitars. Instead, the song is mellow, subdued, and a bit cynical. Though White could’ve easily carried the song himself, the addition of Amanfu’s smoky vocals adds an understated sensuality to the song. Something about her voice adds a raspy, soulful nature that would’ve been missing otherwise. I actually think it’s one of the strongest tracks from Blunderbuss and serves as a reminder love isn’t always pretty.

“Dancing in the Street” – Mick Jagger and David Bowie

Two of music’s iconic artists, what could go wrong? To be fair, the cover itself isn’t that bad. There’s nothing particularly special about it, but it’s fun at least. Yet, the music video will go down in infamy. It’s unbelievably bad. Jagger exaggerates everything from his facial expressions to his seizure inducing dance moves. Bowie remains cool though it looked like he left the house in some wild pajamas. And don’t forget the scene where Jagger chugs down a soda while Bowie sings. It’s probably one of the worst videos of the 80s. Hell, even Family Guy said it was the gayest music video in history. Thinking about it, there are moments where the two singers get a little too close for comfort.

“State of Shock” – Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger shows up again for a better collaboration with Michael Jackson. Recorded for The Jackson’s album Victory, the song is a raucous and kind of spastic team up with the rocker. The song was originally meant to be a duet with Freddie Mercury for the Thriller album, but scheduling conflicts kept the two from working together. Jagger was called instead and it ended up being his biggest hit away from The Rolling Stones. It’s one of those unexpected hits from Jackson’s catalog, but it’s one of the finest examples of pop and rock colliding. Later on, Jackson said he Jagger sang off key, while Jagger called Jackson “lightweight.” Anyone else think the Freddie Mercury version would’ve been epic?

“Good Times” – INXS and Jimmy Barnes

When two talented vocalists come together, they often try to outshine each other. That’s not the case here. For their contribution to The Lost Boys soundtrack, INXS teamed up with singer/songwriter Jimmy Barnes on this cover of The Easybeats song. Michael Hutchences’ smoldering vocals pair exceptionally well with Barnes’ bluesy, rock-tinged voice. They actually work together to give listeners a thrilling experience. The two sharing vocal duties along with the high energy music supporting them, it’s everything you want a good rock rolling song to be. It has a similar good time vibe as Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll.” Listening to Barnes’ vocals, you have to admit it’s reminiscent of rockers, like Robert Plant.

“Hunger Strike” – Temple of the Dog

Temple of the Dog started as a way for Chris Cornell and members of Pearl Jam to deal with the death of Mother Love Bone frontman Andrew Wood. Their debut album did exceptionally well with this song being their biggest hit single. The track features Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder on vocal duties. When two of grunge’s most notable and talented vocalists get together for a song, you know it’s going to be good. And that’s exactly what you get with this powerful, emotionally driven tune. Both artists get time to share their unique vocal styles, Vedder being gruff and raspy and Cornell’s higher range. It results in a song that’s beautiful and haunting.

“Stand by Your Man” – Wendy O. Williams and Lemmy Kilmister

Ever wonder what it would sound like if two punks ripped apart the Tammy Wynette classic “Stand By your Man?” That’s what Wendy O. Williams and Lemmy Kilmister for a single in 1982. The song is almost unrecognizable with gritty, blazing guitars making a ruckus while the two scream out the lyrics over the noise. Oddly enough, it works. It’s one of those weird covers you would never expect two rock legends to even consider. They breathe new sinister life into the country classic that makes you want to head bang. O. Williams and Kilmister teamed up again for “Jailbait,” which appeared on the Plasmatics album Kommander of Kaos. Listening to these two, it’s clear they were truly one of a kind.

“I Ain’t No Nice Guy” – Motorhead and Ozzy Osbourne

When two of hard rock’s most iconic and legendary figures team up, you expect something epic beyond belief. That’s not the result of this duet featuring Lemmy Kilmister and the Prince of Darkness. Rather than getting together for a kickass track that would melt your face off, the two sing a ballad instead. It’s a slow, somber song made for radio airplay. It actually became a huge hit for Motorhead’s tenth album March or Die. It’s a decent song and features a slow burning solo from guitar hero Slash, but it won’t hit that sweet spot for most metalheads. It’s just so unexpected for the rockers. What’s even more surprising is seeing Ozzy with a five o’clock shadow in the video. Yikes.

“A Tout Le Monde” – Megadeth and Christina Scabbia

This song originally appeared on Megadeth’s sixth album Youthanasia and quickly became a staple for the band. At the time of its release, it garnered controversy for its music video. MTV banned it claiming it promoted suicide, which Dave Mustaine was quick to dismiss. The band re-recorded the song in 2007 for the album United Abominations with Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil. Aside from some slight alterations, like a faster pace, there;s not much difference aside from Scabbia singing an entire verse showing off her vocal chops. The song keeps its sentimentality intact along with its hard hitting sound and slightly aggressive mood. Many may prefer the original, but this re-recording is a great blend of old school and new school.

“Walk This Way” – Run DMC and Aerosmith

These days the world of rock and rap often combine for both awesome and questionable results. But back in the 80s, the two were seen as exclusive genres that should never cross paths. Run DMC and Aerosmith broke that barrier with this duet. When it was released in 1986 it blew everyone’s collective minds. Not only did Run DMC cover this classic rock track, they even got Steven Tyler and Joe Perry to join them. The song is still amazing to this day and remains one of the best mash-ups ever. It, of course, would go on to inspire other rock/rap collabs, such as Jay-z and Linkin Park (remember when that was a thing?)

“The One You Love to Hate” – Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson

Two heavy metal giants, both who are considered the best vocalists in the genre, team up for this roaring track. Recorded for Halford’s debut album Ressurection, the song features Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson on vocals. You’d expect to be beyond amazing and the most bad ass thing you’ve ever heard. In reality, it’s okay. It feels more like a Dickinson track since his voice overpowers everything and Halford is stuck on back up duty. It’s a pretty standard metal song with soaring vocals, blazing guitars and a lot of aggression. It’s not bad; just not very remarkable.

“Don’t Fear the Reaper” – HIM and Sanna-June Hyde

On HIM’s debut album, the band provided a haunting rendition of the Blue Oyster Cult classic. This version brings out all the darkness and grim view that’s implied in the lyrics. And frontman Ville Valo’s baritone vocals provide are a perfect match. Adding some brightness to the track is Finnish actor Sanna-June Hyde. She provided guest vocals for this track and “For You” early in her career. She’s not necessarily the best singer but her voice surprisingly well with Valo’s. There’s also something eerie about their voices. Still one of the best covers of this song.

“Under Pressure” – Queen and David Bowie

The thought of Queen and David Bowie doing a song together sounds like a dream. This amazing collaboration resulted in one of the best songs of the 80s. It’s an undeniable classic; pairing Bowie’s mellow vocals with Freddie Mercury’s dramatic bravado leads to a beautiful sonic experience. And try not to get chills during the bridge when Mercury pleads “Why can’t we give love/give love/give love?” The song became a huge hit for both artists and remains their most notable. Of course, the riff would be stolen by Vanilla Ice in the 90s, who claimed it wasn’t the same song.

Which is your favorite rock duet? Which ones did I miss? Let me know in the comments!



Release Year: 1990

Rating: 7/10

A band with a mega successful album is a gift and a curse. On one hand, album sales translate to more wealth and fame. On the other, the pressure is on to create equally good or better follow up. Even if a band does an exceptional job on their next album, both media and fans hype it to the point where it pales in comparison to their previous release. INXS most likely felt that pressure when it came time to follow up Kick. X is a solid album, but since they follow the same routine, the album ends up being flat and just decent.

The songs on this album are all pretty good, but very few manage to be memorable or gripping. The best track is the single “Suicide Blonde.” This is the sensual, hot, sex driven INXS fans got a taste of on Kick. With a stuttering harmonica open and Michael Hutchence singing about his then girlfriend Kylie Minogue, the song is another fun, steamy classic for the band. It falls in line with tracks like “Need You Tonight” and “What You Need.” The next track, “Disappear,” is another strong track with a light, upbeat feel good mood to it that instantly gets you moving. There’s something about the vibe that makes you feel like you’re walking on air. And Huthence’s “doo doos” are irresistible. It’s a song that puts you in a good mood making it a stronger track on the album.

From there, it’s standard INXS fare: upbeat songs mixed with elements of pop and rock. A few of the songs expand into different musical genres. “Faith in Each Other” is soulful with a bluesy vibe. Hutchence’s vocals are at their peak, making you wonder how INXS thought they could be successful without him. The song is slick and cool with a killer sax solo putting the mood over the top. It’s a good song about wanting to keep the peace to make things right in the world. INXS go a little harder on “Who Pays the Price.” It has a bit of funk to it with some Western flavor thanks to the harmonica. This slight change in style mixes things up but doesn’t make the song stand out all that well. It’s good, but something it doesn’t grab you right away. Rather it takes a few listens before you start to dig it.

The biggest issue with the album is most of the songs aren’t that exciting even though they’re good. “By My Side” is a great INXS ballad in the same vein as “Never Tear Us Apart.” It has a great opening piano riff followed by Hutchence’s sweet vocals. It’s another one of their slow hits that’ll drift you away to somewhere sweet and relaxing. “The Stairs” is another strong track about life in the city. Despite its big chorus and mellow groove, it doesn’t pack a punch like similar songs. The slinky “Know the Difference” takes a bit to grow on you, but is actually really good. It has a cool electric riff to open the song and Hutchence takes on a spoken word style. There’s even a funky breakdown featuring that hot sax. It’s another fun track that makes you dance, but on the first listen the song is easy to miss.

Bitter Tears” is a contender for best song on the album. It’s classic INXS all the way; catchy hook, great upbeat music, and a stellar performance from Hutchence. But since it’s buried at the back end of the album, it’s easy to ignore. Aside from this song, the rest of them have the same problem. They’re not bad, rather unremarkable. The thing that makes “Lately” memorable is the sexy, exotic music. The hook isn’t bad, but isn’t an earworm like their past songs. It’s good, but nowhere near their best. Closing tracks “On My Way” and “Hear that Sound” are like the other songs on the album: solid and nice to listen to, but ultimately forgettable.

X is a solid album for INXS, but is nowhere near what they achieved with Kick. It’s unfair to compare the two, but whereas that album was so exciting, kick ass, and memorable, this is one is just good. Most of the songs are forgettable with only one or two being stand outs. Other songs are good, but don’t grab your attention. It could be a case of the band following a safe formula and not straying far from what they’ve done before. They’re not hard hitting, catchy, sexy, or different like their past material. For this album, INXS follows a similar formula they did with Kick and only mix things up on few tracks. Unfortunately, this record doesn’t really keep your attention; you tune it out pretty quickly.

Top 10 Songs About Other Musicians

Even though musicians are famous, have tons of fans, and perform across the world it doesn’t mean they can’t fan out from time to time. Musicians aren’t afraid to address each other in song. Sometimes it comes from a place of love or an homage to someone they admire. Other times, it can be kind of ugly, a snarky tune dedicated to someone they don’t care for. The songs can be obvious and other times the dedication is well hidden. There are too many songs about other musicians to name, so here are ten of the most notable songs about other musicians.

10. “Obsessed” – Mariah Carey

Ever since his third album, The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem claimed that he and Mariah Carey were once an item. But aside from dropping her name in a few songs, neither one have commented further on the supposed relationship. When her name appeared again on “Bagpipes from Baghdad” with the rapper calling out her then-husband, Nick Cannon,Carey decided she had enough. She wrote this song in responsive to the rapper’s claims calling them false, saying he’s obsessed with her, and that he’s delusional. And to make things even clearer, Carey plays an unnamed rapper in the video chasing after…herself. Of course, Eminem didn’t take this lightly and released his own response titled “The Warning.” What’s even more strange than the situation is thought of Eminem and Mariah Carey dating in the first place.

9. “Michael, You’ve Got a Lot to Answer For” – Duran Duran

The Michael in question here is INXS’ Michael Hutchence. The song kinds sound of somber, especially with the singer’s death, but it didn’t start out that way. The song is actually about Simon LeBon’s friendship with Hutchence. In an interview with Q Magazine, LeBon says the song is about Hutchence being “a naughty boy” in France and London. He apparently did so many substances LeBon couldn’t keep up. The song was released a month before Hutchence died on November 22, 1997. It’s sad that an ode to friendship took on a sad meaning not shortly after it was released.

8. “Tunic (A Song for Karen)” – Sonic Youth

Karen Carpenter, singer, and drummer for The Carpenters, tragically died in 1983 due to complications from anorexia nervosa. Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon wrote this song years later trying to put herself in the late singer’s shoes. The frenetic guitars and the memorable hook of “You are never going anywhere” don’t exactly mask the dark connotations of this song. There are references to Karen’s eating disorder and lines about losing who you are. There’s even a verse where Gordon imagines the singer up in heaven, happy, and playing drums again. When asked about the song 20 years later, Gordon said “I was trying to put myself into Karen’s body. It was like she had so little control over her life, like a teenager – they have so little control over what’s happening to them that one way they can get it is through what they eat or don’t. Also, I think she lost her identity, it got smaller and smaller. And there have been times when I feel I’ve lost mine.” It’s a tribute to the singer that catches you off guard since it’s not sappy or sad.

7. “Dude Looks Like a Lady” – Aerosmith

Probably best remembered for its use in Mrs. Doubtfire, this song talks about an androgynous guy who is mistaken for a woman. Looking at the lyrics it doesn’t seem Steven Tyler minds all that much saying “you may be wrong/but you know it’s alright” and he even does a little cross-dressing of his own in the video. The origin story for the song changes depending on the source: Tyler says the song came from hearing Motley Crue saying “Dude!” all the time. Vince Neil says the song was inspired by a New York bar where the waiters dress in women’s clothing. But Nikki Sixx says the song is actually about Tyler mistaking Vince Neil for a woman in a bar. It’s wasn’t hard to do; did you see the way he dressed in the 80’s? It doesn’t really matter how the song came about because it’s an Aerosmith classic. Though I prefer to believe it’s about Vince Neil; it’s funnier that way.

6. “Tearjerker” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Many songs were written about Kurt Cobain after his shocking death. The Chili Peppers added their contribution with this track from their sixth album One Hot Minute. It’s a ballad where Anthony Kiedis sings about his reaction to Kurt’s death and what he liked so much about the singer. With lines like “I liked your whiskers/I liked the dimple in your chin/your pale blue eyes” and “you never knew this/but I wanted badly for you to/requite my love” it’s more like a love song to Cobain. Though the two worked together on an MTV special, they weren’t all that close. But Kiedis explains Kurt was someone everyone felt close to. “I don’t know why everyone on earth felt so close to that guy; he was beloved and endearing and inoffensive in some weird way. For all of his screaming and all of his darkness, he was just lovable.” It’s a sweet song that’ll make Nirvana fans smile.

5. “Cry Me a River” – Justin Timberlake

Though Timberlake has denied it since the song’s release, we all know this song is about his ex-Britney Spears. The basis of the song is a bad break up and pretty much not giving a shit about the person. It also makes several references to infidelity, which is what apparently ended the pair’s relationship. And to top things off, Timberlake’s lover in the video looks like Spears. Anyone who saw the video pretty much knew who he was talking about. The singer finally admitted in 2011 that he wrote the song after the two had an argument. So even if the song isn’t a direct attack on Britney Spears, she was still an inspiration. The break up was nasty, but maybe now he can thank her since it gave him one of his biggest songs to date.

4. “Suicide Blonde” – INXS

INXS frontman Michael Hutchence was known as a playboy in the 80s, but his most infamous relationship was with Kylie Minogue, you know the one responsible for that song. Rumor has it the Aussie singer inspired Hutchence to write the song since she dyed her hair blonde for a role in the film The Delinquents. Neither one ever confirmed the song’s origin, but with lyrics about a red hot lover who has men landing at her feet, it makes a lot of sense. Only Hutchence knows the true significance. Either way, it ended up being an INXS classic and has that sexy flair only Michael Hutchence could pull off so flawlessly.

3. “I’ll Stick Around” – Foo Fighters

Though Dave Grohl wrote a beautiful and touching song about Kurt Cobain called “Friend of a Friend” that deserves to be mentioned, his song attacking Cobain’s widow Courtney Love, gets him on the list. It’s a fan favorite and many picked up that Grohl was attacking someone. With lines like “I don’t owe you anything” there was speculation it was about Cobain. Grohl finally admitted in 2009 it was actually about Courtney Love, which you can see in lines like “how could it be/I’m the only one who sees/your rehearsed insanity.” He sings about how he regrets letting her and Cobain hook up and that he can see through her deceptiveness. It’s a hate filled song of the best kind, but it seems Grohl has forgiven Love in later years. The two made amends at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Grohl wouldn’t be the only artist to blast Love on a track; Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” is about the Hole singer as well.

2. “Ms. Jackson” – Outkast

“Ms. Jackson” is the best song by Outkast with sick flows and a memorable hook you’re still singing to this day. The duo sings about “Ms. Jackson” who doesn’t approve of her daughter’s relationship with a guy and when they end up having a baby, it only makes things worse. Turns out, the song is based on true events. Andre 3000 dated Erykah Badu and the two ended up having a child out of wedlock to the disapproval of her mother. 3000 said he felt he never got to explain his side of the story and didn’t like being kept out of his kid’s life on purpose. As a way of reaching out to her mother, he wrote this song to apologize and say how much he wanted to be a part of his kid’s life. Badu’s mother loved it and hopefully it patched up their relationship. Hearing so much truth put into this song makes it even more appealing and it’s still a hit 16 years after its release. Wait, really? Now I feel old.

1. “Say Hello 2 Heaven” – Temple of the Dog

In March 1990, Andrew Wood, frontman of Mulfunkshun and Mother Love Bone, died of a drug overdose. Chris Cornell, Wood’s friend, and roommate took the news hard. Soundgarden were touring Europe at the time of his death and feeling like he had no one to talk to, wrote two songs: “Reach Down” and “Say Hello 2 Heaven.” Instead of putting it on a Soundgarden album, Cornell teamed up with most of Pearl Jam and formed Temple of the Dog in his honor. “Say Hello 2 Heaven” is a tribute to Wood where Cornell deals with his grief and even makes a reference to not knowing the demons his friend was dealing with. It’s a powerful song where Cornell let’s his insane vocal range fly near the song’s end. Wood’s death didn’t only affect Cornell. It also had an effect on Alice in Chains, who wrote the song “Would?” about him along with others in the grunge scene that tragically passed. It’s sad to think Layne Staley would meet a similar fate 10 years later.

Honorable Mention:

“Starfuckers Inc.” – Nine Inch Nails

Trent Reznor hates celebrities and pop culture. He makes this clear in this single from The Fragile. Being one of Reznor’s heaviest and aggressive songs, it takes the piss out the vanity and shallow commercialization of fame. It even makes a reference to Carly Simon’s famous song “You’re So Vain.” But rumor has it the song is actually about Marilyn Manson. Reznor had a falling out with Manson twice, though Manson does appear in the song’s video. Others say it’s about Courtney Love. Reznor hasn’t confirmed or denied the rumors, so the track ends up getting an honorable mention. It’s just too biting and sassy to leave off.

There are more than ten songs about musicians, so which ones did I miss? Which ones are your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

Live Baby Live – INXS

Release Year: 1991

Rating: 5/10

INXS were one of the most successful bands of the 80s and early 90s. Thanks to albums like Kick, they gained a mass following, which lead to their major world tour in 1991. They played at sold out venues around the globe, including Wembley Stadium in London. The tour was such a hit a live album was released gathering performances from shows in Chicago, London, Dublin, and Las Vegas to name a few. Considering how INXS were passionate performers, you would expect the LP to be exciting. Rather, it’s a huge disappointment.

When live albums are bad it’s not always something to do with sound quality or the merit of the band. Sometimes an artist is so polished and good at what they do on stage, it doesn’t transfer well without visuals. This is the case for this INXS live album. With a decent setlist culled from the band’s major releases, it sounds more like a greatest hits collection than a live record. These versions of “Guns In the Sky,” “Need You Tonight,” “The One Thing,” and “ What You Need” sound like their studio counterparts. It’s not that Michael Hutchence and crew sound bad. They just don’t deviate very much to make these versions stand out from the album recordings. By the time you reach the lackluster song “The Stairs” you’re ready to move on to something else.

What makes this release so strange are all the weird interludes tacked on the end of certain songs. Tracks like “Suicide Blonde” and “Mediate” have odd endings. The former has some blues jam while Hutchence repeats “Flowers, not finance” at the end, while the latter finishes with a jangly piano tune while the guys sing about someone not having pants on. These endings are unfitting for both tracks and leave listeners scratching their heads. What the fuck just happened? It sounds like some weird interlude that played between tracks during their live show, but it doesn’t make sense without the visuals. It just sounds random and ruins the mood of the album.

This LP spawned one new single titled “Shining Star,” which is on the tracklisting. But this song is strange because it doesn’t sound like a live track at all. Rather, it sounds like a studio recording slapped in the middle of this live LP. Here is where all the crowd sounds disappear and only reappear when the song ends. Also, the track fades out, which convinces me it’s just an ordinary studio recording they decided to place in the middle of the record instead of the end. It ruins the whole flow of the album making it stick out. On top of that, it’s not even a very good song.

Live Baby Live doesn’t do INXS justice. Live albums are supposed to be exciting and immersive. This one is just dull. It’s not engaging, it’s all over the place, and the band sounds too polished that half the time you’re convinced it’s not a live recording. If anything, this release convinces you INXS were boring and lame,which is far from the truth. Honestly, you’re better off listening to one of their albums if you want to experience the band. My recommendation? Kick.

Listen Like Thieves – INXS

ListenlikethievesRelease Year: 1985

Rating: 7.5/10

Before the massive success of their album Kick, INXS were no strangers to the charts. This LP finds them gaining notoriety in America and while it’s far from their best work, it’s still a solid effort. Filled with the catchy music and sensual vocals fans come to expect from the band, it also shows them experimenting with different sounds making for some memorable hits and some forgettable tracks.

There’s no question the best song on the record is the opening single “What You Need.” This is classic INXS. Something about the pounding drums and funky rhythm of the guitar makes it so memorable and catchy as hell. Here, they combine several music styles, like funk, rock, pop, and new wave for a distinct sound. Toss in some hot saxophone solos and you have one irresistible groove. It’s a song that’s aged very well over the years, unlike some of the others found on the album. “Listen Like Thieves” has more of a groove and funk vibe with some synth tossed in as a nod to their new wave roots. The music is sleek, funky, and slightly dark; it sounds like something you would hear strolling through a dark alley. It’s one of their strongest songs that doesn’t get enough recognition.

Kiss the Dirt” and “Shine Like it Does” are mellow tracks with a good sound to them, but the former is the better of the two. This track begins with a riff that starts and stops, teasing the listener with just a taste of the music before they kick in full gear. Though the music here is lighter, it still has a really great beat and vibe that makes you feel good. It’s no secret that Michael Hutchence was a great vocalist, but he shines here as he tones it down and sings softly on the track. When everything grows louder at the end, the band gives the song one last kick before moving on. “Shine Like it Does” doesn’t hold its own when compared to the other songs. There are even some lyrics that come off as cheesy. It’s not a bad song, but one of their most forgettable.

What’s notable about this release are the different sounds found on some of the tracks. While there have already been examples of their blend of rock, funk, and pop, there are some genres that come out of left field. “Three Sisters” is the most obvious example. This instrumental track sets up a weird blend of tropical sounds and pop that catches you off guard. As the song goes on, it includes odd sounds and animal noises to complete the island vibe. When the saxophone comes in it switches to a smooth jazz vibe leaving the listener perplexed. It doesn’t really add anything to the album and may be best if skipped, but it’s interesting to experience once. “One x One” has blaring horns and a simple blues scale riff to give it a rockabilly flavor, while “Biting Bullets” is full on new wave. The music is so upbeat and a staple of the era you picture fans doing the “Dancing in the Dark” dance to it.

Some tracks show off their harder sound that would become prevalent on their later releases. “Good + Bad Times” has a nice groove to it thanks to its rock and funk infused music, but it’s the distorted guitar riff that gives it an edge. The lyrics aren’t much, but the music is great and shows what they would do later on. The closing track “Red Red Sun” seems to take cues from punk rock. It has a fast, upbeat pace and is full of energy. As soon as it starts the listener is tossed head first into the song and won’t escape well until it’s over. The music overall is on the aggressive side showing more of their rock n roll vibe.

Overall, the album gets 7.5/10. As mentioned before, it’s far from their best work, but it’s a solid effort. While some of the songs are forgettable, yet tolerable, others stand out and make the LP worthwhile. If any this release shows how talented and well formed INXS was. Unlike some bands who only find major success from one album, these guys were destined for stardom from the start. If all you know is their hit singles, I suggest you check out this album to experience a different side of INXS.