Happy 30th: INXS, X
30 years ago this week, INXS released their seventh studio album, an LP that was pretty much always destined to shift fewer copies than its predecessor but which still proved to be a top-10 hit and another multi-platinum effort for the Australian band.
Recorded at Rhinoceros Studio 2 in Sydney, where it was produced under the watchful ear of Chris Thomas, X took a bit of time to come together, owing to the band taking a break after fulfilling the tremendous number of tour dates done in support of their 1987 album KICK. Not that they really did a lot of breaking during that post-tour period: Michael Hutchence teamed up with Ollie Olsen for the Max Q album, the rest of the members of INXS worked with Jenny Morris on her SHIVER album, Gary Beers and Jon Farriss worked with the group Absent Friends, and Kirk Pengilly and Tim Farriss co-produced an album by the band Crash Politics.
As producer, Thomas suggested that Hutchence and Andrew Farriss stick more or less to the same formula that the band had utilized on KICK, which makes sense when you consider how successful the album was. Some of the tunes were actually written several years earlier, including “Disappear” and “Lately,” but there was still plenty of truly new material in the mix. With Thomas back at the helm, the songs were polished to a brilliant radio-friendly sheen, and the end result was one that led to some truly shining reviews, including a 4-star write-up by Rolling Stone.
While X didn’t match the insane sales of KICK, it did hit #5 on the Billboard 200 and go double platinum. In addition, it spawned two top-10 singles – “Suicide Blonde,” which hit #9, and “Disappear,” which hit #8 – as well as the minor hit “Bitter Tears,” which only hit #46 on the Hot 100 but went to #6 on the Alternative Rock Singles chart. In other words, INXS successfully proved that they were still a chart force to be reckoned with.
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