Since the death of singer Michael Hutchence in 1997, Australian hit-makers INXS have been looking for a way to continue without the face and the voice of smashes like “Need You Tonight,” “New Sensation,” “Devil Inside” and “Suicide Blonde.” Back in 2005, they were the subject of the first season of “Rock Star,” a CBS reality show that sought to cast an amateur as their new vocalist (they released one album, 2005’s Switch, with show winner J.D. Fortune).
Now they’ve got a new project in mind. The band is currently working on a new album that will re-imagine some of their biggest hits with new singers, including the Killers’ Brandon Flowers, Pat Monahan of Train, Ben Harper and Rob Thomas. A band who replaces a lead singer — especially with one by committee — always puts itself on a slippery slope. Hopefully it turns out better than the disastrous No Talking Just Head, which was Talking Heads minus David Byrne plus the vocal stylings Ed Kowalczyk, Debbie Harry and (ironically) Michael Hutchence.
But according to a Rolling Stone interview, the pairings sound promising so far. Thomas has tackled “Original Sin” and “Never Tear Us Apart,” Flowers crooned “Beautiful Girl” and Harper took on “Devil Inside.”
Train’s Monahan has only recently been added to the project, so INXS drummer Jon Farris didn’t have any news on which song he would be singing on the album. Monahan seems like a strange fit, as the rootsy, groovy tunes his band puts out (including the current juggernaut hit “Hey Soul Sister”) doesn’t appear to have much in common with the glammy, jittery sound of INXS’ finest work. But his voice has the same sort of passion and pathos that made Hutchence a star, so to help everything along, here are five tunes that would fit Monahan perfectly.
“Not Enough Time”
It’s got a groove that Monahan could ride for days
“By My Side”
One thing Monahan has in common with the late Hutchence is that they are both underrated as balladeers. This sparse tune from X is INXS at its most naked and heartfelt.
“Listen Like Thieves”
The title track from INXS’ breakout 1985 album combines everything that makes INXS great (killer groove, chime-tastic guitars) with enough room for some improvisation and grooving on Monahan’s part.
While they don’t sound anything alike, “Don’t Change” and “Hey Soul Sister” share a sweet lyrical thread about loving people for who they are.
OK, so this probably wouldn’t make any sense. But it’s an underrated song from late in Hutchence’s career that should get a well-deserved remake on the album.
Who else should INXS recruit to sing on their new album? Let us know in the comments!