X (INXS album)

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X
Inxs X.jpg
Studio album by INXS
Released 25 September 1990
Recorded 1989–1990 at Rhinoceros Studio 2, Sydney, Australia
Genre Alternative rock, pop rock
Length 41:42
Label Atlantic US
Mercury EU
WEA AU
Producer Chris Thomas
INXS chronology
Kick
(1987)Kick1987
X
(1990)
Welcome to Wherever You Are
(1992)Welcome to Wherever You Are1992
Singles from X
  1. "Suicide Blonde"
    Released: September 1990
  2. "Disappear"
    Released: 8 December 1990
  3. "By My Side"
    Released: 30 March 1991
  4. "Bitter Tears"
    Released: 13 July 1991
  5. "The Stairs
    (The Netherlands only)"

    Released: November 1991

X is Australian rock band INXS's seventh studio album, released in 1990. The follow-up to the massive seller Kick, X scored hits with "Suicide Blonde" and "Disappear" (both Top 10 in the US).[1] Two other singles from X were "Bitter Tears" and "By My Side" but they had less chart success.[2] A fifth single, "The Stairs" was only issued in the Netherlands to coincide with the release of the Live Baby Live album. 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.

The singles "Suicide Blonde" and "Disappear" were used in the 1991 teen movie Mystery Date.

Background[edit]

INXS gained great success with the release of their previous studio album, Kick. The multimillion-selling album received critical acclaim and proved to be the band's biggest selling album by far, having gone platinum multiple times. In 1987 and 1988, INXS toured heavily in support of Kick.[3]

During 1989, the band took a break to work on side projects. Vocalist and primary songwriter Michael Hutchence collaborated with Ian 'Ollie' Olsen in the band Max Q,[2] the two having previously worked together on Richard Lowenstein's film Dogs in Space. The remaining members of INXS also got involved in other musical projects, including songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Farriss, who joined singer-songwriter Jenny Morris in the studio to produce her second solo album, Shiver.[4] Bass guitarist Gary Garry Beers collaborated with ARIA award winning Sydney band, Absent Friends during 1989.[5] Beers would first tour with the group, later going on to record tracks for their debut album, Here's Looking Up Your Address.[5] Drummer Jon Farriss would soon join the recording sessions, contributing percussion on one track.[6] Guitarist and saxophonist Kirk Pengilly, along with lead guitarist Tim Farriss, both paired up to help produce an album for local Sydney band, Crash Politics.[7]

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".[4]

Recording and production[edit]

The band worked again with producer Chris Thomas at the Rhinoceros studio in Sydney, Australia, with rehearsals beginning in November 1989.[8] Sticking to the formula that was built on Kick, Thomas urged primary songwriters Andrew Farriss and Hutchence to advance their song writing strengths on X.[9] Some songs that appear on X were written years earlier, including "Lately" and "Disappear". Andrew originally wrote the lyrics for "Lately" during the recording sessions for Listen Like Thieves,[4] while Hutchence and Jon Farriss both wrote the lyrics for "Disappear" when they were living in Hong Kong during 1989.[9][10] "Disappear" turned out to be one of the album's biggest singles. Hutchence and Jon also wrote the composition for "Faith in Each Other"[11] and "Deepest Red" (studio outtake) during the sessions for X. Thomas assisted in writing the composition for the album's third single "By My Side", along with Hutchence and Andrew.[11] The song's original demo is titled "Dark of Night" and can be found on the 2002 remaster. Andrew wrote the song for his wife, Shelly.[9]

An idea that Andrew suggested to Hutchence and the rest of the band was the sound of a Blues harp, which he first played on keyboards.[4] 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.[4] Rather than playing a live recording on "Suicide Blonde", Musselwhite instead lay down harp samples. He does play full harmonica on "Who Pays the Price" and "On My Way". Like their previous two albums done with Thomas, X features a slickness and polish in its production, a quality that would be removed during production of their next album (Welcome to Wherever You Are) and subsequent albums. It would also be the group's last studio album produced by 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.[12]

One month after the release of X, INXS started preparing for their world tour.[13]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[14]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[15]
Q 3/5 stars[16]

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."[14]

In his 1990 review for Rolling Stone, music critic Paul Evans rated the album four stars and felt that the band's seventh studio album helped define the band, 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".[15]

Commercial performance[edit]

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.[17][18] The album was certified platinum in January 1991 by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[19] X proved successful across Europe, reaching number 5 in Switzerland,[20] number 7 in France,[18] number 9 in Germany,[21] number 10 in Sweden[22] and number 13 in Norway.[23] The album quickly received gold accrediations in all these regions, subsequently attaining platinum status in both France[24] and Switzerland.[25] In their native Australia, the album entered at number 1 and stayed there for two weeks.[26] It would soon be certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for sales of 140,000 units.[27] X was also certified double platinum in Canada in February 1991 for shipments of 200,000 units.[28] In the United States, the album peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Top 200.[29] In December 1997, the album was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[30]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence, except where noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Suicide Blonde"   3:53
2. "Disappear" J. Farriss, M. Hutchence[31] 4:10
3. "The Stairs"   4:56
4. "Faith in Each Other" J. Farriss, M. Hutchence[31] 4:09
5. "By My Side" A. Farriss, M. Hutchence, C. Thomas[31] 3:06
6. "Lately"   3:37
7. "Who Pays the Price"   3:37
8. "Know the Difference"   3:18
9. "Bitter Tears"   3:49
10. "On My Way"   2:56
11. "Hear That Sound"   4:05

Personnel[edit]

Personnel as listed in the album's liner notes are:[11]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Preceded by
Chain Reaction by John Farnham
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
15 August 1990 – 21 August 1990
Succeeded by
In Concert by The Three Tenors

Further reading[edit]

  • McDonald, Steven. "X > Review". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 19 May 2010. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ "INXS > Charts & Awards > Billboard singles". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 18 May 2010. 
  2. ^ a b McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'INXS'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-768-2. Retrieved 18 May 2010. 
  3. ^ St John, Ed; INXS (1992). INXS: The Official Inside Story of a Band on the Road. Port Melbourne, Vic: Mandarin. p. 75. ISBN 1-86330-207-7. 
  4. ^ a b c d e INXS promotes X - 1990 Radio Interview. Retrieved February 5th, 2016
  5. ^ a b "MTV - Absent Friends Biography" Retrieved January 30th, 2017
  6. ^ "Absent Friends – Here's Looking Up Your Address". Discogs. Retrieved 30 January 2017. 
  7. ^ "Crash Politics – Kiss My Mind". Discogs. Retrieved 30 January 2017. 
  8. ^ "INXS Facts". Encyclopedia. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c INXS: Story to Story (the official autobiography), page 179. Retrieved February 5th 2016
  10. ^ "Disappear – INXS by the New Wave Journal"
  11. ^ a b c X liner notes. Retrieved February 4th, 2017
  12. ^ "INXS – The Greatest Hits". Discogs. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  13. ^ "X Factor World Tour 1990 / 91"
  14. ^ a b "allmusic ((( Elegantly Wasted > Overview )))". www.allmusic.com. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  15. ^ a b Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 406. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  16. ^ "Q Magazine | Music news & reviews, music videos, band pictures & interviews". Q4music.com. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  17. ^ a b "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  18. ^ a b "The World's Music Charts - Chart runs of INXS". Retrieved February 5th 2016
  19. ^ a b "British album certifications – INXS – X". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter X in the search field and then press Enter.
  20. ^ a b "Swisscharts.com – INXS – X". Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  22. ^ a b "Swedishcharts.com – INXS – X". Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  23. ^ a b "Norwegiancharts.com – INXS – X". Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  24. ^ a b "French album certifications – INXS – X" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select INXS and click OK
  25. ^ a b "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (INXS; 'X')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 
  26. ^ a b "Australiancharts.com – INXS – X". Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  27. ^ a b Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  28. ^ a b "Canadian album certifications – INXS – X". Music Canada. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  29. ^ a b "INXS – Chart history" Billboard 200 for INXS. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  30. ^ a b "American album certifications – INXS – X". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  31. ^ a b c Liner notes to the album "X"
  32. ^ "Austriancharts.at – INXS – X" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  33. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – INXS – X" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  34. ^ "Tous les "Chart Runs" des Albums classés depuis 1985 dans le Top Albums Officiel". InfoDisc. Locate INXS under the drop-down menu and click OK. Retrieved 12 February 2017. 
  35. ^ "Charts.org.nz – INXS – X". Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  36. ^ "Argentinian album certifications – INXS – X". Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  37. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – INXS – X" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  38. ^ "Les Albums Platine :" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  39. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (INXS; 'X')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  40. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – INXS – X". Recorded Music NZ. 
  41. ^ "Gold & Platinum 1987–1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. p. 11. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 May 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2017.