Although 1987’s Kick could be a likely contender for a 25th Anniversary Edition in 2012 (a two disc deluxe was released in 2002) INXS’s 1992 Album, Welcome To Wherever You Are is my preferred choice for reissue next year.
Kick was a great album, but very much a Faith, or Born In The USA, a runaway train of an album. After experiencing some diminishing returns with the more-of-the-same follow-up X (1990), they wisely decided that a new approach was needed for the next album.
With a new producer, Mark Opitz, on board and the sound of Achtung Baby ringing in their ears, INXS were about to produce their most adventurous, and creatively successful album of their career.
Like U2 with Achtung Baby (an easy, but appropriate comparison), Welcome To Wherever You Are was an attempt to deconstruct the band’s sound, and rebuild what INXS had to offer, as something fresh, new, and exciting. Bored of stadium rock, the new album would contain pulsing beats from the dancefloor, clever use of percussion, horns and orchestration and even some eastern influences thrown in for good measure.
The willingness to change the sound and production of their music was always going to make for interesting listening, but the real success of Welcome To Wherever You Are lies with the quality of the songs. The album really doesn’t contain a weak track and is sequenced brilliantly from the curveball opener that is the sitar and tabla-backed Questions, to the chilly finale of Men and Women.
Taste It, Communication, Not Enough Time, Baby Don’t Cry… so many incredible songs, but each with their own identity and sound, from the classic, breezy pop of Beautiful Girl to the only real ‘rock’ moment, Heaven Sent. Everything is performed with such conviction and nothing is predictable or pedestrian. There are delights and surprises all over the record and it is no exaggeration to claim this is one of the very best rock/pop albums of the 1990s, it really is that good.
One wishes this album had been a cheeky follow-up to Kick, because INXS had the world at their feet at that point. Instead, five years down the line, and a moderately successful follow-up in between, their audience had shrunk somewhat, and, particularly in the US, they simply failed to ‘get’ Welcome To Wherever You Are. Grunge ruled, and the album was probably in the wrong place at the wrong time with its adventurous sonic textures and ‘anything goes’ attitude. The band also chose not to tour the album, feeling as if they needed a break after some punishing schedules from the previous two records. Probably costly, in terms of US promotion and exposure.
In Europe, and particularly the UK, things were quite different. Not only did Welcome To Wherever You Are top the UK album chart, but such was the popularity of the record that five singles were released from it.
The singles kept the album in the charts, and provided fans with many extra tracks on the various formats.
In fact the singles provided 20 non-album tracks including remixes, instrumentals and b-sides. Add to that 5 bonus tracks appended to the 2002 reissue (only one of which is common to both) and that gives you 24 non-album tracks available for a deluxe release. And these are only the tracks we know about.
With this in mind, a deluxe Welcome To Wherever You Are could easily run to 3CDs worth of audio material. Throw in a DVD with promo videos, TV appearances and a documentary and you have what could be a very comprehensive 20th anniversary edition of this superb record.
ALBUM: Welcome To Wherever You Are by INXS
WHY REISSUE?: Under appreciated masterpiece, massive amount of non-album material out-of-print
Tomorrow> Day 4> Kate Bush: The Dreaming
Click below for list of all non-album tracks from Welcome To Wherever You Are
Heaven Sent [CD Single]
- 1. It Aint Easy
- 2. 11th Revolution
- 3. Deepest Red [also on US Not Enough Time]
Heaven Sent [12” Pic Disc]
- 4. Heaven Sent (Gliding Version)
Baby Don’t Cry [CD Single]
- 5. Questions Instrumental (Also on US Taste It)
- 6. Ptar Speaks
- 7. Baby Don’t Cry (Vocal & Orchestra Mix)
Not Enough Time [CD Single]
- 8. Not Enough Time (Barcelona LP Fade)
- 9. Firma Terror
Taste It [CD Single #1]
- 10. Taste It (12” Youth 12” Mix)
- 11. Not Enough Time (Ralphi Rosario Mix)
- 12. Light The Planet
Taste It [CD Single #2]
- 13. Youth Acapella Mix
Beautiful Girl [CD Single #1]
- 14. Strange Desire (Original Recording)
- 15. In My Living Room [also on US Not Enough Time]
- 16. Ashtar Speaks
Beautiful Girl [CD Single #2 – Ltd Box]
- 17. Wishing Well Instrumental
- 18. Beautiful Girl (Mendelsohn Mix)
- 19. Underneath The Colours (Chicken Mix)
The Strangest Party (These Are The Times) – Greatest Hits single from 1994
- 20. Wishing Well (Courier Extended Mix)
2002 Welcome To Wherever You Are Reissue Bonus Tracks
- 21. The Answer – 4:53
- 22. Wishing Well (Alternate version) – 3:30
- 23. All Around (Alternate version) – 3:25
- 24. The Indian Song – 4:50
Heaven Sent (Waltz version) is also on this reissue but is probably the same as ‘Gliding version’ from Heaven Sent 12” Pic Disc so not counted amongst the 24 bonus tracks (anyone care to confirm this?).