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INXS theverybest
Artist: INXS
Title: The Very Best
Genre: New Wave / Rock
Release Date: 31st October 2011
Label: Universal

Album Review

As part of the “let's legitimate the legacy of INXS” plan that peaked with the broadcast of the superb two-episodes series ‘Never Tears Us Apart: The Untold Story’, leading the cult band to sale out 340 000 albums for Australia only within a couple of weeks, the all project started late January. ‘The Very Best’, released Oct. 2011, debuted and peaked at #39 in Australia on 6th November 2011. When promotion began for the mini-series, it re-entered the charts at #13 on 10th November 2013. With the airing on the mini-series in February 2014, the album slowly rose to #1 on 17th February 2014. It became the first INXS "best of" album to reach #1 in Australia.

Let's make all the moaning first!

a) I hate non chronological compilations. It doesn't give any coherence to the work of an artist, makes you going backward and forward on every track and doesn't really help understanding the evolution of an artist, especially when his work spans over 20 years.

b) I hate incomplete singles collections. INXS had released 61 singles and this Best Of includes 35 songs, two of them not even being singles. And most of all – even though nobody will disagree to say that Hutchence era is the most interesting and relevant chapter of the story – this compilation stops in 1996 and forgets about the 10 singles released afterwards (two of them being previously unreleased tracks with Michael: ‘Tight’ and ‘Bang The Drum’), 13 if we includes the various remixes.

To makes it worse, even the 1996 period, with the last Hutch' album, ‘Elegantly Wasted’, considered by many as one of the best album of the 90's, capturing the all spirit of INXS and having some of their most interesting songs is just represented by the title track ‘Elegantly Wasted’. What about ‘Don't Lose Your Head’ (used in the OST of ‘Face off’)? ‘Everything’? ‘Searching’? ‘Let It Ride’? What about ‘The Strangest Party’ released in 1995?

Doesn't JD Fortune deserve a bit of credit for his vocal role during a couple of years and the release of the excellent album ‘Switch’? But, to me, the biggest omission is the recent version of ‘This Time’, acoustic and sung by Andrew Farris, from the 2010 album ‘Original Sin’, that a lot of fans who didn't bothered giving a bit of interest to this great album, discovered in the movie.

On the other end, they completely forget about the first album. Ok, those were certainly not the most successful singles of the band, but ‘Simple Simon’ and ‘We Are The Vegetables’ are also key to understand INXS' roots, where do they come from and the energy and raw power the band had when touring 600 concerts in two years from 1979 to 1981.

To be honest, they should have repackaged the ‘Shine Like It Does’ anthology that was much more complete and chronological OR, as part of the “business plan”, release a proper ‘Original Soundtrack’ of the TV series that would have been far more interesting with rare live sequences and covering all eras.

OK... enough of criticism and let's enjoy this amazing hit singles collection. And the journey starts on a very high note by the succession of the biggest hits of the band: ‘Need You Tonight’, ‘Mystify’, ‘Original Sin’, ‘Suicide Blonde’, ‘Never Tear Us Apart’, ‘Devil Inside’ are in the first ten songs of the CD1. Which gives a hint on how powerful the catalogue of this band is! Because the rest of the compilation is as powerful with ‘Listen Like Thieves’, ‘Don't Change’, ‘To Look At You’, ‘This Time’, ‘Elegantly wasted’ or ‘Beautiful Girls’. Of course to attract INXS fans that already owns everything to be owned, there has to be some additional stuffs.

And this consists in a series of live tracks: ‘New Sensation’, ‘What You Need’ and ‘Mystify’ recorded live in Edinburgh and ‘Disappear’, taken from the fantastic 1994 concert at the Brixton Academy (you can have the full video concert on YouTube). The package is completed by a DVD with a couple of Top Of The Pops or Later With Jools Live performances (including ‘The Strangest Party’), a Documentary and five of their biggest hit videos: ‘Need You Tonight’, ‘New Sensation’, ‘Beautiful Girl’, ‘Suicide Blonde’ and ‘The Gift’.

To conclude? My view on this is a) This so called ‘Very Best Of’ is a perfect starter for all new generations curious to discover this cult band, b) Fans will probably don't really bother about it and c) the older generations that might not have jump on the Aussie's wagon back in the 80/90's might reconsider their view on this major band. Often criticized as being a “MTV band” or “Singles band”, this compilation comes to prove there is more than ‘Need You Tonight’ or ‘Suicide Blonde’ in the barrel of the gun. Tracks like ‘Elegantly Wasted’, ‘The Gift’, ‘Beautiful Girl’, ‘Please’ (duet with Ray Charles) were probably less commercial, but as interesting and challenging for the band.

Overall, what stays is an incredible voice and charisma, one of the most powerful rhythm section ever, and this magical songwriting talent, mainly shared between Andrew Farris and Michael Hutchence, even though the other band members participated a lot in the pre-Kick and post-X credits, Jon Farris being the initiator of ‘The Gift’, probably one of the most aggressive single of the band. And if anyone is interesting in going further in discovering the immense work of this underrated band, I can only advise them to go to the Live DVD's ‘Live Baby Live’ and ‘Live In Loreley’. Don't count on me to pick one album as, to me, from ‘Shebooh Shebah’ to ‘Elegantly Wasted’, not a single one of them can be left behind.

You'll certainly find in the 90's production some more experimental and darker stuffs (‘Welcome To Wherever You Are’ and ‘Full Moon Over Dirty Hearts’) or you can go to ‘Shebooh...’, ‘The Swing’ and ‘Listen Like Thieves’ for the New Wave era, full of big bass lines, analogic synth leads and clear guitars. And of course, ‘Kick’ and ‘X’ for the massive charts success and timeless hymns. I'll give this release a 10 because no INXS album, even a badly thought compilation, could ever be scored below 10!


Disc 1
01. Need You Tonight
02. Mystify
03. Suicide Blonde (Album Version)
04. Taste It (7" Version)
05. Original Sin (Album Version)
06. Heaven Sent
07. Disappear
08. Never Tear Us Apart
09. The Gift
10. Devil Inside
11. Beautiful Girl
12. By My Side
13. Kiss The Dirt (Falling Down The Mountain)
14. Elegantly Wasted
15. New Sensation
16. What You Need
17. Listen Like Thieves
18. Just Keep Walking (2011 Remaster)
19. Bitter Tears
20. Baby Don't Cry

Disc 2
01. Don't Change
02. The One Thing
03. Shining Star
04. The Stairs
05. Please (You Got That...)
06. Burn For You
07. I Send A Message
08. The Loved One
09. This Time (2011 Re-mastered version)
10. Shine Like It Does
11. Stay Young
12. Kick
13. Calling All Nations
14. To Look At You
15. Good Times feat Jimmy Barnes
16. Need You Tonight (Mash Up)
17. New Sensation (Live At The Edinburgh Playhouse)
18. What You Need (Live From Edinburgh Playhouse)
19. Mystify (Live From Edinburgh Playhouse)
20. Disappear (Live At Brixton 1994)
Disc 3 (DVD)
Video: INXS: The Very Best (Doco)
Video: Taste It (Top Of The Pops 05/11/1992)
Video: The Strangest Party (Top Of The Pops 06/10/1994)
Video: Never Tear Us Apart (Later With Jools Holland 12/11/1994)
Video: Need You Tonight
Video: New Sensation (Stereo)
Video: Beautiful Girl (Video)
Video: Suicide Blonde (Stereo)
Video: The Gift (International Version)


Vocals - Michael Hutchence
Bass - Garry Gary Beers
Keyboards, Guitars - Andrew Farriss
Saxophone, Guitars - Kirk Pengilly
Drums - Jon Farriss
Guitars - Tim Farriss


Cover Picture

INXS theverybest


Music: 10
Sound: 10
Bonus: 10
Total: 10 / 10

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