My Sunday Song – “Listen Like Thieves” by INXS

For My Sunday Song #249 and the site’s 1,500th post, we are talking about the song “Listen Like Thieves” by INXS. The song is the title track to the album ‘Listen Like Thieves which was released on October 14, 1985. The album went to #11 in the U.S. and sold over 2 million thanks to songs like this one. This song was the final single off the album and went to #54 on the Billboard Hot 100 just missing the Top 40 in large part due to a lack of a video which I am not sure why one wasn’t done as these guys were quite a hit with the ladies and a video would’ve helped immensely.

The song was written by the whole band…or at least they whole band got credit for this one. The lyrics were written by Michael Hutchence as he was learning quickly how the press were shaping his and the band’s image. He new what the media was good for, but he also didn’t trust them. It doesn’t look like he mistrusted them for the band’s image, but it was more along the lines of how the media interpreted the world events. He saw that they shaped a certain narrative and this was back in 1985. Imagine what he would think about the media today. The song is basically a warning that we need to “really” listen to the media don’t trust everything you hear. Question everything. If you listen like thieves then you are stealing what the media is telling you and making that what you actually believe without doing your own research and coming to the conclusion for yourself. It is basically a call to people to stop being sheep. Stop following other people, stealing their thoughts as your own. Be your own self. Your future is yours and that it is all in your hands. No one is going to do it for you. You are all you need to make things happen. Get off your ass and do it for yourself.

Musically, the song is pop/new wave perfection. Opening with a quick guitar riff from Tim Farriss and then Jon Farris does a barrage of drum hits and then song immediately kicks in to gear. It is happy, uplifting tempo and sound that gets you moving with a driving beat throughout. The keyboards from Andrew Farriss are used sparingly for added effect and impact. Michael Hutchence on vocals, sings with a charm and swagger that will make the ladies swoon and the guys jealous. The song is an example of a band that was up and coming and finding their voice both literally and figuratively.

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My Sunday Song – “What You Need” by INXS

For My Sunday Song #245, we are going to discuss the song “What You Need” by INXS. The song was written by Andres Farriss and Michael Hutchence and the first single off their 1985 album ‘Listen Like Thieves’ (2nd single in the US). The song was the band’s first Top Ten hit in the States as it went all the way to #5. I think it was probably the first time I started to take notice of this band and the lead singer Michael Hutchence. I could tell there was something special about them and they proved me right as they would blow up on the next album.

“What You Need” was the last song recorded for the album. The were pretty much done with the album when the producer, Chris Thomas, didn’t feel there was a “HIT” on the album. The band had one more day left and they needed to come up with a hit. Talk about pressure, dang!! Well, as you already know, they succeeded above all expectations. Now don’t think they pulled rabbit out of the hat with the song. Andrew Farris had a demo laying around called “Funk Song No. 13” and Chris really liked the groove and they worked it in to this beauty of a song.

Lyrically, I’ve never really seen what they’ve said it meant. There aren’t a lot of lyrics, but they seem pretty straight forward. They are about Michael Hutchence saying all you need is him or it is about needing God in your life and only He can give you what you really need. Or, it can be about whatever you want it to be about. Completely up to you.

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