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My brother’s albums: INXS, Kick

[INXS - Kick]

At times, the Sibling Rivalry Collection Race waded into some murky waters.

The rule was simple: the first person to buy an album from an artist had a monopoly on that artist, and other siblings could not encroach on that monopoly.

The rule was very clear about albums. Singles, however, usually threw wrenches in jurisdictional claims.

Kick by INXS could have tuned into a civil lawsuit between my brother and me.

Back in 1985, INXS release Listen Like Thieves, which spawned the catchy single “What You Need”. I bought that single after watching the video numerous times on Betamax-recorded episodes of Friday Night Videos. I did not end up buying the album.

A TV appearance by INXS in 1987 premiered the band’s then-new single, “Need You Tonight.” My brother liked it. I thought it wasn’t as good as “What You Need”.

But he liked it enough to buy the album. Technically, that meant INXS became his jurisdiction.

And boy did that rankle my feathers, especially when it turned out the rest of the album was better than “Need You Tonight”. I felt that because I had already established a claim with “What You Need”, I ought to have had first dibs on Kick. My brother pointed out that I was ambivalent about “Need You Tonight”, which could be interpreted as relinquishing that claim.

(Don’t get me wrong about “Need You Tonight” — I eventually grew to like the song, mostly because “Mediate” segued right into it.)

Of course, bratty kids that we were, we didn’t want to share. I don’t remember now how I got my hands on a dubbed copy of the album. He may have relented to making a dub, or I may have borrowed it from a friend. I got my hands on it, despite the rule.

Kick would eventually become ubiquitous, and the radio exposure coupled with my own spins eventually made me grow tired of the album. “Never Tear Us Apart” wasn’t a great single, but it seemed to be the song played to death.

By the time I embarked on building out my own collection, Kick managed to get left behind. For a time, I owned a greatest hits compilation but that too got lost in a cash-strapped purge.

Oddly enough, Kick returned to my collection only after I used the streaming services to listen to its predecessor, Listen Like ThievesKick is definitely the stronger album, but Listen Like Thieves is no slouch. It was the much-needed warm-up before the breakout.

It’s probably been 19 years since I listened to Kick, and it was strange to discover how familiar it all felt. That pretty much meant I had really internalized the album, even though I hadn’t owned it till now.

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