X (INXS album)
|Studio album by INXS|
|Released||25 September 1990|
|Recorded||1989–1990 at Rhinoceros Studio 2, Sydney, Australia|
|Genre||Alternative rock, pop rock|
|Singles from X|
X is Australian rock band INXS's seventh studio album, released in 1990. The follow-up to the massive seller Kick, it peaked at No. 1 in Australia, No. 5 in the United States, No. 2 in the United Kingdom, No. 5 in Switzerland and No. 10 in Sweden. The album contains four hit singles, "Suicide Blonde", "Disappear", "By My Side" and "Bitter Tears". It was the third consecutive INXS album produced by Chris Thomas.
The title, the Roman numeral for "10", represents the band's tenth year since their debut album was released in 1980. X features a sample of blues-harp player Charlie Musselwhite on "Suicide Blonde", and Musselwhite himself playing on "Who Pays the Price" and "On My Way". In 2002, a remastered version of the album was released which included five previously unreleased tracks.
In 1987 and 1988, INXS toured heavily in support of their sixth album, Kick. During 1989, the band took a break to work on side projects. Hutchence collaborated with Ian 'Ollie' Olsen in the band Max Q, the two having previously worked together on Richard Lowenstein's film Dogs in Space. INXS soon returned to the studio to record their follow-up album to Kick, which was X. Its title, the Roman numeral for "10", represents the band's tenth year since their debut album was released in 1980.
It followed in the same vein as Kick, and added harmonica to some songs, mostly through the contributions of Charlie Musselwhite. X scored hits with "Suicide Blonde" (written about Hutchence's then girlfriend Kylie Minogue) and "Disappear" (both Top 10 in the US), "Suicide Blonde" peaked at No. 2 in Australia, No. 11 in the UK and in Switzerland. Two other singles from X were "Bitter Tears" and "By My Side" but they had less chart success. A fifth single, "The Stairs" was only issued in the Netherlands to coincide with the release of the Live Baby Live album.
Recording and production
Upon entering the 1990s, INXS wanted to follow up on Kick, their multimillion-selling international success. In a radio interview shortly after the release of X, Hutchence said, "We had to follow-up (on Kick) otherwise we'd disappear". The band worked again with producer Chris Thomas at the Rhinoceros studio in Sydney, Australia with rehearsals beginning in November 1989. Sticking to the formula that was built on Kick, Thomas urged primary songwriters Andrew and Michael to advance their song writing strengths on X. A song titled "Disappear", which was previously written by both Hutchence and Jon Farriss whilst living together in Hong Kong during 1989 was composed and recorded during the recording sessions. Hutchence and Jon also wrote the composition for "Faith in Each Other" and "Deepest Red" (a studio outtake) during the X sessions. Producer Chris Thomas assisted in writing the composition for the album's third single, "By My Side" along with Hutchence and Andrew.” The original title of the song was "Dark of Night". Andrew wrote the song for his wife, Shelly. An idea that Andrew pitched to Michael and the others was the sound of a blues harp, which he first played on keyboards. After discovering Blues musician Charlie Musselwhite had been playing shows in town, the band met with him and decided to use his harmonica playing talent on the album. Rather than playing a live recording on "Suicide Blonde", Musselwhite instead lay down harp samples. He did however play full harmonica on two songs, "Who Pays the Price" and "On My Way".
Production progressed into the new year. Demos that were composed early in production, including "Salvation Jane" and "Who Pays the Price" were later edited by adding new sounds and vocals. The demo of "Salvation Jane" was originally recorded with Andrew on vocals. The song was re-recorded with Hutchence on vocals but later cut from the album. Each track was done in two, sometimes three takes. Once the recording sessions had finished, the album was taken to Air Studios in London where it was mixed and cut by Tim Young. Like their previous two albums done with Thomas, X features a slickness and polish in its production. It would also be the groups last studio album with Thomas. Their next collaboration would take place four years later on the recording of both "The Strangest Party (These Are the Times)" and "Deliver Me", which were two new songs that appeared on the band's Greatest Hits compilation released in 1994. One month after the release of X, INXS started preparing for their world tour.
While reviews for X were generally favourable with some critics commenting that INXS had stepped up their game, others felt that the album followed too much in the same formula as Kick. Allmusic's Steven McDonald mentions this in the beginning of his review – "The seventh album from Australia's INXS basically sticks to the formula set up on Kick, mixing solid remixable dance floor beats with slightly quirky production tricks, Michael Hutchence's rough-edged, bluesy vocals, and some good solid song hooks." In his 1990 review for Rolling Stone magazine Paul Evans rated the album four stars and felt that the band's seventh studio album helped define the band by stating "Cosmopolitan and canny – the group's professionalism still in service to soulfulness". He also added "X is big-audience rock & roll that feels right for our times".
Even though the album and its singles did not exceed the success of Kick, the album did perform well worldwide, particularly in Europe. In the United Kingdom the album reached number 2 and remained in the charts for an impressive 44 weeks. The album was certified Platinum in January 1991 by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). X proved successful across Europe, reaching number 5 in Switzerland, number 10 in Sweden, number 13 in Norway, and number 9 in Germany. In their native Australia the album entered at number 1 and stayed there for two weeks. In the U.S. the album reached number 5 on the Billboard Top 200. In December 1997 the album was certified double-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
|2.||"Disappear"||J. Farriss, M. Hutchence||4:10|
|4.||"Faith in Each Other"||J. Farriss, M. Hutchence||4:09|
|5.||"By My Side"||A. Farriss, M. Hutchence, C. Thomas||3:06|
|7.||"Who Pays the Price"||3:37|
|8.||"Know the Difference"||3:18|
|10.||"On My Way"||2:56|
|11.||"Hear That Sound"||4:05|
|Bonus tracks on 2002 Remaster|
|12.||"Waiting to Be Free"|
|14.||"Salvation Jane (Demo)"|
|15.||"Who Pays the Price (Demo)"|
|16.||"Dark of Night (Demo)"|
- Michael Hutchence – vocals
- Kirk Pengilly – guitar, saxophone, vocals
- Garry Gary Beers – bass guitar
- Andrew Farriss – guitar, keyboards
- Jon Farriss – drums, keyboards
- Tim Farriss – guitar
- Additional personnel
- Charlie Musselwhite – harmonica
- David Nicholas – engineer
- Chris Thomas – producer
|Australian Albums Chart||1|
|US Billboard 200||5||2× Platinum|
Chain Reaction by John Farnham
|Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
15 August 1990 – 21 August 1990
In Concert by The Three Tenors
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- Liner notes to the album "X"
- "X Factor World Tour 1990 / 91"
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- Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 406. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
- "Q Magazine | Music news & reviews, music videos, band pictures & interviews". Q4music.com. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
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