Nineteen Eighty-Eight was a huge year for Aussie rock. There was this album by INXS, Midnight Oil's Diesel and Dust, and The Church's Starfish. But seeing as I was already familiar with INXS and not the other two bands, this was the recording that was first on my "must buy" list, and it came out right at the beginning of '88.
"Guns in the Sky" is a powerful kick-start to the album, INXS' foray into socially conscious music. But thankfully they left most of that to bands like Midnight Oil. INXS was a party band first and foremost. Side one is top heavy with their hit singles, "New Sensation," "Devil Inside" and "Need You Tonight." The latter song is obviously the song the band is best remembered for, but the former two tracks are great guitar rock songs. "Devil Inside" especially has a great hook and also has some social insight. These six guys were great songwriters and musicians, and Michael Hutchence had a perfect pop voice.
"Mediate" is a captivating play on rhyme. Somehow the words all fit, managing to be a commentary on politics, society and your personal worldview. To me it matches R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It" and Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire." The next single from Kick was on side two, "Never Tear Us Apart," a smart ballad. INXS even tried their hand at early rap-rock on "Calling All Nations." All in all a superb album.