Monday, July 25, 2011

Need You Tonight

INXS remains the only real, successful Aussie band to break out from its initial, parochial pub-rock confines to embrace a larger, more varied worldview. The now semi-inactive sextet had their heyday from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, scoring sleek, funk-inflected and Rolling Stonesy hits on charts everywhere. Of course, the magic ingredient in the scheme of things is undoubtedly the natural showmanship of long-deceased frontman Michael Hutchence, with his cocksure strut, self-assured posturing and audacious presence, which made him an innate and wholly believable rock star (although some naysayers might say this was all calculated and done to break the band in America). Check out the enduring, glossy grooves of 'Need You Tonight', the band's sole US number one hit, which still awes after all these years with its clipped guitar riffs, resonant drum work and a measured but energetic Hutchence vocal, backed by a simple but effective rotoscoped performance video.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

Prior to their landmark 'Songs from the Big Chair' album, Tears for Fears had dabbled in a somewhat inchoate synth-pop style that nonetheless won them a scrap of commercial fulfilment and a fairly loyal following. Inevitably, the critics wrote them off as another typical outfit in the then-burgeoning New Romantic camp. However, 'Songs from the Big Chair' saw Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith going for a more refined, varied approach that paid off handsomely in terms of chart success and popularity. Coupled with stronger and more dynamic songwriting qualities which smartly emphasised effective, hook-laden melodies and less abstract, more linear lyrics, the record was primed to make optimum commercial impact. Check out the certified commercial monstrosity and the duo's indisputable signature song, the dreamily percolating, straightforwardly poppish 'Everybody Wants to Rule the World'.