Monday, October 12, 1987

INXS released Kick

First posted 5/31/2008; updated 11/24/2020.



Released: October 12, 1987

Peak: 3 US, 9 UK, 11 CN, 2 AU

Sales (in millions): 6.0 US, 0.9 UK, 20.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: new wave/college rock


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Guns in the Sky
  2. New Sensation (1/9/88, 3 US, 3 CB, 2 RR, 8 AR, 2 CO, 25 UK, 11 CN, 9 AU)
  3. Devil Inside (12/26/87, 2 US, 2 CB, 3 RR, 2 AR, 4 CO, 47 UK, 3 CN, 6 AU)
  4. Need You Tonight (10/24/87, 11 US, 11 CB, 11 RR, 73 RB, 12 AR, 1 CO, 2 UK, 1 CN, 3 AU)
  5. Mediate
  6. The Loved One
  7. Wild Life
  8. Never Tear Us Apart (6/25/88, 7 US, 8 CB, 6 RR, 42 AC, 5 AR, 2 CO, 28 MR, 24 UK, 9 CN, 11 AU)
  9. Mystify (12/17/88, 17 AR, 11 CO, 14 UK, 5 CN)
  10. Kick (6/18/88, 33 AR, 30 CO)
  11. Calling All Nations
  12. Tiny Daggers

Total Running Time: 39:12

The Players:

  • Michael Hutchence (vocals)
  • Tim Farriss (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Kirk Pengilly (saxophone, rhythm guitar, backing vocals)
  • Garry Gary Beers (bass)
  • Jon Farriss (drums, percussion)
  • Andrew Farriss (synthesizers, drum machine, rhythm guitar, backing vocals)


4.367 out of 5.00 (average of 6 ratings)

Quotable: “One of the best mainstream pop albums of the ‘80s” – Steve Huey, All Music Guide


About the Album:

“Throughout the early 1980s, INXS kept threatening to go big league;” MR “‘What You Need’ had taken INXS from college radio into the American Top Five, but there was little indication that the group would follow it with a multi-platinum blockbuster like Kick. SH The album “fused the funk and soul of The Swing with the mainstream rock of Listen Like Thieves.” WK The band “set out to make an album that did not share any musical formula with other hits of the time.” WK

The result was an album which created multiple hits in its time. “Where the follow-ups to ‘What You Need’ made barely a ripple on the pop charts, Kick spun off four Top Ten singles.” SH The success of that song had given Hutchence and Andrew Farris, the primary songwriters, “the confidence and optimism to pen bigger material.” WK As Kirk Pengilly said, “We wanted an album where all the songs were possible singles.” WK

They succeeded. The lead single, Need You Tonight, became the band’s sole chart-topper in the United States. The song, paired with Mediate, also made for a hugely successful and iconic video which took home five MTV video awards, including Video of the Year. The songs also showcased the diversity of the album in its lyrical themes. While the former was dripping in sexuality, the latter tackled social concerns such as apartheid.

Follow-up singles would continue to cement that. Devil Inside, , which just missed out on the top spot, peaking at #2, was about “a life of excess” WK and New Sensation was about a party lifestyle, but “the shimmering ballad Never Tear Us ApartMR was about “an instant connection between two people who formed an unending bond.” WK Musically, the song was originally “a piano ballad having no orchestral structure at all.” WK

“The rest of Kick, especially the strutting Guns in the Sky and the groovy Wild Life, is of similar quality.” MR The album “crystallized all of the band’s influences” SH – “Stones-y guitars and angular, funk-tinged rhythms” MR alongside “contemporary dance-pop – into a cool, stylish dance/rock hybrid.” SH “Hutchence’s MTV good looks and Aretha-meets-Aerosmith swagger completed the musical equation for both the girls and the boys.” MR Also putting the band in the spotlight was Hutchence’s “feline sexuality, which certainly didn’t hurt the band’s already inventive videos.” SH

“But it wasn’t just image that provided their breakthrough. For the first (and really only) time, INXS made a consistently solid album that had no weak moments from top to bottom. More than that, really, Kick is an impeccably crafted pop tour de force, the band succeeding at everything they try. Every track has at least a subtly different feel from what came before it; INXS freely incorporates tense guitar riffs, rock & roll anthems, swing-tinged pop/rock, string-laden balladry, danceable pop-funk, horn-driven ‘60s soul, ‘80s R&B, and even a bit of the new wave-ish sound they’d started out with. More to the point, every song is catchy and memorable, branded with indelible hooks. Even without the band’s sense of style, the flawless songcraft is intoxicating, and it’s what makes Kick one of the best mainstream pop albums of the ‘80s.” SH

Notes: The 2002 reissue adds and alternate of “Mystify” as well as the songs “Move On,” “Jesus Was a Man,” and “The Trap.” A 2005 deluxe edition adds a whole second disc of bonus material, including the aforementioned material as well as the songs “I’m Coming Home” and “On the Rocks;” remixes of “New Sensation,” “Guns in the Sky,” and “Need You Tonight;” and live versions of “Mediate,” “Never Tear Us Apart,” and “Kick.”

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