When you lose a beloved frontman like Michael Hutchence, you wonder how in the world you could ever replace him. If youre INXS, you throw together a reality television competition. Then you fire the winner a few years later because hes addicted to drugs. Then you invite him back. Finally, you invite a score of musicians from around the world to re-imagine the classic work of Hutchence and bring it into the 21st century. That brings us to January 11th, 2011, when INXS will release Original Sin.
The album, named for the chart-topping single off 1984s The Swing, marks both the return of the band to their original label Atco Records, as well as their first collaboration in more than a decade with original manager CM Murphy. If those names dont do anything for you, maybe these will: Ben Harper, Rob Thomas, John Mayer, Nikka Costa, Tricky, Trains Pat Monahan, Cubas DJ Yaleidys, and French popper Loane all lend their talents to the record as they re-envision some of INXSs greatest songs.
Harper, for one, seems overjoyed to be involved in the effort. INXSs songs set the table for singers. In my opinion, theyre any singers dream songs to sing. Covering Never Tear Us Apart is like covering Dock of the Bay. Im not here to make grandiose overstatements; its just a fact, that is one of the greatest soul songs ever written.
As for drummer/co-executive producer Jon Farriss, he appears to be equally enamored with the projects reworking of his bands classic hits. Michaels association with these songs was this fragile little ball weve all been holding. But we thought, weve had this great history. Why not celebrate Michael and INXS jointly – tweak out the preciousness, and have some fun? The aim, of course, is to pay tribute to the songs themselves, celebrate INXS’s fans, and introduce a new generation to their music.
Though originally envisioned as an electronica-updating of some old tunes, the band decided to veer away from pigeonholing their new sound. While Tricky provides the initial electronic intent on Mediate, Thomas and Yaleidy take a sultry swing at the title track. Mayer helps out INXS guitarist Kirk Pengilly while Loane takes on vocals for Mystify. Initially said to have been recorded by The Killers Brandon Flowers, Beautiful Girl has been made into a ballad and passed on to Monahan. No word on if Flowers appears on a different track, but its worth a note that Monahan originally had Never Tear Us Apart, and Harper was to do Devil Inside. J.D. Fortune, winner of CBSs 2005 Rock Star – INXS, is also slated to appear on the record.
Well be sure to let you know when a final guest and track listing is released. Until then, mark 01/11/11 down in your planner. Tip of the hat to USAToday.com, Paste Magazine, and Top40-charts.com for the story and quotes.