If I had to describe INXS’s breakthrough album, “Kick,” in one word, it would be “funky.” Each song throbs with a dance beat, moving listeners to their feet. “Kick” propelled Australian band INXS to superstardom back in 1987, winning them acknowledgment and hit singles. And it’s no wonder – every track is upbeat and danceable, even the weakest.
The album opens with “Guns in the Sky,” in which vocalist Michael Hutchence grunts and groans over a pounding drum track. As soon as the infectious guitar riff hits, it’s impossible to keep from nodding to the beat. Next is “New Sensation,” an uplifting track with jangly guitars that was the album’s third single. Indeed, “Kick” seems to thrive on its singles, certainly living up to guitarist/ saxophonist Kirk Pengilly’s hopes that every song would be perfect for airplay.
“Devil Inside” is undeniably the sexiest song here. “Mystify” contains an almost folksy piano riff and spot-on guitars, as well as some of the sweetest lyrics for a lover. “Need You Tonight,” the band’s first number-one single in America, is perfect for dirty dancing, with its driving drumbeat and catchy guitar hook. “I need you tonight, ’cause I’m not sleeping,” Hutchence sings.
However, all of these tunes pale in comparison to “Never Tear Us Apart.” Its string arrangement and convincing lyrics make it one of the best love songs ever.
Looking past the singles, “Kick” doesn’t have much else. With the exceptions of “Guns in the Sky” and “Tiny Daggers,” every other song is filler and, for the most part, forgettable. This is especially true for “Calling All Nations,” which contains some cringe-worthy lyrics.
Overall, “Kick” is a solid album, but despite its fame, this is definitely not INXS’s best. (That title would arguably go to their 1984 effort, “The Swing.”) This album is worth buying even if the singles are all you want, but the rest would only be recommended for hardcore ?s fans. Though “Kick” has not aged too well for teens of today, it remains the perfect party album.