Michael Hutchence

It must have been weird being [a]Michael Hutchence[/a]....

It must have been weird being [a]Michael Hutchence[/a]. And not just because of whatever dark thoughts led him to string himself up in a Sydney hotel room. I mean, he was a rock star trapped in the role of tabloid soap opera scapegoat because of who he was going out with, a great frontman fronting an increasingly mediocre band, and a damn fine singer who, it appears from this solo effort, was not much of a songwriter.

So maybe it was just as well his rock’n’roll reputation is now preserved by his joining that stupid club. Because this wouldn’t have done it any good at all.

It’s not as if he can’t still sing like a rather distastefully sexually-charged puma on heat, or that his leather trousers are bulging in the wrong places, but because there are simply no good songs on this record. Which makes you wonder whether that, rather than any ‘respectful’ considerations, is why this record has taken so long to come out.

It’s no great surprise that thigh-rubbing, lip-gurning funk rock is the staple diet here, as it was with [a]INXS[/a]. But for all Hutchence‘s well-practised breathing exercises, lusty bellowing and hunkish grunting, grooves like ‘Let Me Show You‘, ‘Get On The Inside‘ and ‘Put The Pieces Back Together‘ barely raise more than a tapping toe in the dancefloor stakes, and the tunes are too generic to be memorable.

He fares marginally better on an elegant string-soaked smoocher like ‘Possibilities‘, or the slinky soul of ‘Baby It’s Alright‘, but still the cheesy sheen of ’80s white funk suggests a man whose musical time had long since passed. And, if you’re expecting any lyrical insights, the title ‘She Flirts For England‘ is as explicit as we get. Otherwise it’s all the usual ambiguous rhetoric.

Even if he didn’t make that many great records, you still wish there were more ‘rock stars’ with a fraction of [a]Michael Hutchence[/a]’s charisma emerging in the ’90s. But as memorials go, this is taking the Michael.

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