X (INXS album)

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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
Producer Chris Thomas
INXS chronology
Welcome to Wherever You Are
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, 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.

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


In 1987 and 1988, INXS toured heavily in support of their sixth album, Kick.[1] During 1989, the band took a break to work on side projects. 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. 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),[3] "Suicide Blonde" peaked at No. 2 in Australia, No. 11 in the UK[4] and in Switzerland.[5] 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.

Recording and production[edit]

Upon entering the '90s INXS wanted to follow-up on Kick, their multimillion-selling international success.[6] In a radio interview shortly after the release of X, Hutchence said, "We had to follow-up (on Kick) otherwise we'd disappear".[7] The band worked again with producer Chris Thomas at the Rhinoceros studio in Sydney, Australia. Both Hutchence and Andrew Farriss wrote the majority of the albums songs with the exception of "Disappear", which was written by both Hutchence and Jon Farriss whilst living together in Hong Kong during 1989. Hutchence and Jon also wrote the composition for "Faith in Each Other" during the recording sessions. Producer Chris Thomas assisted in writing the compostion for the albums third single, "By My Side" along with Hutchence and Andrew. Andrew wrote the song for his wife, Shelly.[6]

During the songwriting process Andrew had been playing the harmonica back and forth, thus trying to incorporate its unique sound into some of the songs rhythms. After discovering Blues magician Charlie Musselwhite had been playing shows in town, the band met with him and decided to use his harmonica playing talent on the album. As well as providing a sample template for the single "Suicide Blonde", Musselwhite played full harmonica on two songs, "Who Pays the Price" and "On My Way". Once the recording sessions were complete, the album was later mixed and cut by Tim Young at Air Studio's in London.[8]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[10]
Q 3/5 stars[11]

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.”[9]

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.[12] 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.[13] In their native Australia the album entered at number 1 and stayed there for two weeks.[14] In the U.S. the album reached number 5 on the Billboard Top 200.[15] In December 1997 the album was certified double-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[16]

Track listing[edit]

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

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Suicide Blonde"     3:53
2. "Disappear"     4:10
3. "The Stairs"     4:56
4. "Faith in Each Other"   J. Farriss, M. Hutchence[8] 4:09
5. "By My Side"   A. Farriss, M. Hutchence, C. Thomas[8] 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


Additional personnel
  • Charlie Musselwhite – harmonica
  • David Nicholas – engineer
  • Chris Thomas – producer

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1990) Position Certification
Australian Albums Chart 1
US Billboard 200 5 2× Platinum[17]
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


  1. ^ 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. 
  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. ^ "INXS > Charts & Awards > Billboard singles". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 18 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "INXS Singles and Albums Charts". Chart Stats. Retrieved 18 May 2010. [dead link]
  5. ^ "INXS Suicide Blonde". Australian Charts Portal. Retrieved 21 November 2008. 
  6. ^ a b INXS: Story to Story (the official autobiography), page 179. Retrieved February 5th 2016
  7. ^ Promotional interview for X. Retrieved February 5th 2016
  8. ^ a b c Liner notes to the album "X"
  9. ^ a b "allmusic ((( Elegantly Wasted > Overview )))". www.allmusic.com. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  10. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 406. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  11. ^ "Q Magazine | Music news & reviews, music videos, band pictures & interviews". Q4music.com. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "The World's Music Charts - Chart runs of INXS". Retrieved February 5th 2016
  13. ^ "ultratop.be – INXS – X"
  14. ^ "Australiancharts.com – INXS – X". Retrieved February 5th 2016
  15. ^ "Billboard 200 INXS – Chart history". Retrieved February 9th 2016
  16. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA - INXS". Retrieved February 9th 2016
  17. ^ "RIAA Certifications". Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Retrieved 18 May 2010. 

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