For My Sunday Song #243, we are going to discuss the song “God’s Top Ten” by the band INXS. The song is off their 2005 album ‘Switch’ which features their new singer J. D. Fortune who the band hired off the TV contest show they did called “Rockstar: INXS” where they set out to hire a new lead singer. The song was released as a single, but didn’t chart in the US. It did go to #88 in Canada and 18 in Poland…cool.
The song was written by keyboardist, Andrew Farriss, who wrote the song to honor Michael Hutchence who died about 8 years earlier. It is a tribute to Michael, his partner Paula Yates (who died 3 years after Michael) and their daughter Tiger Lily. They have said the song is really a gift to Tiger Lily. The verses seem to speak to her saying that when you hear his songs on the radio, know that he is one of God’s Top 10 meaning he is one of the best singers out there and now God has him in his Top 10 list. I think the lyrics are sweet, touching and so personal. It is a beautiful gift to her as a reminder of how great he was and how much he loved her.
Musically, the song is a ballad played effortlessly and tenderly on keyboard with a nice bass groove and drum beat. The guitars are only an enhancement to the song. Nothing overpowers anything else, everyone plays in sweet harmony and bliss. The drumbeat at the beginning is the sound of a heartbeat. The song is a duet between Suzie McNeil, also from ‘Rockstar: INXS’ and J. D. Fortune. Her vocals are angelic and J. D.’s is as tender as the music. So much heart, so much love and so much passion comes through in their delivery. It might be the best song on the album and one of the best they’ve ever done.
For My Sunday Song #242, we are going to tackle one of my favorite tracks by the band called “The Stairs” off the band’s 1990 album ‘X’. It was the final single off the album and didn’t chart, but there was something about it that I fell in love with. They did end up releasing a live version of the song as a single for their 1991 Live album ‘Live Baby Live’ album.
The song is one that Michael thought was the most ambitious song he had ever written. And he might be right. I find the song to be a sad commentary on life in the big city. The cities are filled with so many people and all these buildings, but no one is communicating. No one is building a relationship. They casually pass each other in “the stairs” of their buildings and don’t say a word. Cities need to have more town squares like the small towns have so people can meet up and talk, build that relationship and make life better. And what I find most troubling about this song is that it is even more true today. With Facebook, Twitter and all these other so called social sites, we still are not truly social or communicating. You’re posting for the world to see how you want to be seen not who you really are. You are not actually saying anything that builds people up or to even build a relationship you are hiding behind a mask so no one truly sees you. This song makes me sad, but in a beautiful way.
Musically, it is a ballad and actually has a slow instrumental piece in the first minute that builds and builds until Hutchence comes in with the vocals. You can hear it in his voice how much this song means to him as he sings with such a tenderness and with such heart. It is songs like this that made me appreciate his greatness. When I think of great frontmen for a band, Michael is always on my list. There is a sadness to the music that comes through and matches with the lyrics. As I said earlier, it is sad but beautiful.
For My Sunday Song #241 we are going to cover the song “Don’t Change” by the Australian band INXS. Actually for the next 10 episodes, we will focus on the band INXS as I feel they are worthy of having a spotlight on them for a little while. The song “Don’t Change” is off the band’s third album,’Shabooh Shoobah’ from 1982. It was the second single from that album and the first that saw the band start to take off around the world.
The song is credited to all the band members and is the only song on the album to do so. The song talks about how there is always a point where do to nostalgia, we don’t want anything to ever change and keep that feeling we are currently feeling. The singer is trying to keep hold and never let go. But regardless, things are and will change. There is no stopping it. The singer is thinking back to a lost love and how that relationship made him feel. He doesn’t want that person to change, not for her or for him. Stay the way they are…which people never do.
Musically, it is a fun, upbeat, fast tempo track. A simple song with very few chords, but interesting enough to grab hold and get you moving. The guitars sound great, the keyboards are pleasant and Michael Hutchence’s vocals are stellar. The man could sing. The music feels familiar which ties to the song meaning of the feeling of familiarity. INXS was part of the new wave sound, with a little rock and these earlier songs were a little punk sounding as well.