Tuesday, February 27, 2018

An example of how remarkable a voice Michael Hutchence was gifted with.

Photo via the Michael Hutchence Facebook page
I had no idea a cover of INXS' "Never tear Us Apart" by Bishop Briggs was on the Fifty Shades Freed soundtrack. It's just as over-the-top and bombastic as you'd expect, and while I grant she has a powerhouse voice, it just ends up feeling like a sterile exercise that feels more like bullhorn karaoke than anything else.

"Never Tear Us Apart" seems to be enjoying a moment, since Apple Australia also commissioned Courtney Barnett to do her own cover of the song for one of their commercials. It's more successful, primarily because she takes the route of the tender acoustic ballad. But that's also a route that I feel has been taken a little too frequently so it ends up being nice, but doesn't really make much of an impact. But least I will credit her for trying to mine the pain that sits squarely in the middle of the song, and interpret it in her own genuine style.

Now contract both of those with the original. I don't think any member of INXS would ever claim their version is exactly subtle. It's supposed to be a massive, sweeping ballad that teeters into the domain of the overwrought. But what saves it is Micahel Hutchence. The man learned his trade singing in smoky Australian bars and managed to develop a style that could combine real belting volume, with nuanced delivery and a genuine aching sexiness. If you've ever tried to sing this song you quickly realize how difficult it is to pull off with any genuine panache.

There's a sway and swagger and sensuality at play that only Hutchence could achieve. Yet I've taken his delivery on the song for granted for years, and it wasn't until these recent covers that it made me reconsider and realize just how singular and unique his voice was, and brought all that long dormant pain since his passing rushing back through at the loss of his singular talent.

No comments: