Happy Anniversary: INXS, Welcome to Wherever You Are
23 years ago today, INXS released their eight studio album, a often-raucous affair which unfortunately began a major disconnect between the band’s chart success in the US and the UK that lasted until Michael Hutchence’s death half a decade later.
After the tremendous success of their 1987 album Kick, INXS met with a bit of grumbling when their follow-up effort, 1990’s X, felt like more of the same…not that that’s such a bad thing when you’re coming off an album that went platinum several times over, but people just like to complain, you know? With 1992’s Welcome to Wherever You Are, however, no one could say that the band wasn’t trying to step outside the box with their sound. At the time, listeners likely viewed it as INXS’s answer to the grunge movement, but even without that historical context, there’s no doubt that the band was getting more rough and tumble with the album’s first single, “Heaven Sent.”
Although songs like “Heaven Sent,” “Taste It,” “Not Enough Time,” and “Beautiful Girl” all went into the top 10 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart, only “Not Enough Time” cracked the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100, and Welcome to Wherever You Are itself only made it to #16 on the Billboard Top 200. In the UK, however, the album proved to be a chart-topper. In the long run, it also proved to be the last INXS album to get more acclaim than derision from critics, but without saying anything one way or the other about those subsequent albums, we can say this much with confidence: Welcome to Wherever You Are is the sound of a rock band trying to do something different and succeeding at the task.