I’ve documented elsewhere that I recently went all digital. All my music is now in the form of ephemeral bits and bytes on my hard drive (and backed up elsewhere). And my three shelves of CDs have been compressed down to a couple of binders.

Although a freeing experience, I’m still dealing with the effects to some degree. I ended up choosing J River’s Media Center to handle my virtual library of music, and have been steadily working my way through the catalog to rate all these years of music on a 5 point scale. Feels like both an un-ending process as well as a trip down memory lane. The point of rating them, of course, is so that I can build play lists of my fav stuff. My 5 point scale is 3 – okay, not a super fav but a song I don’t mind hearing; 4 – wow – great song; and 5 – ohmigod, I could listen to this over and over.

This also lead to my semi-regular rediscovery of the awesomeness that was INXS. They were one of my fav bands in the day. Although I had a few of their later releases on CD, for the most part it, was cassette, and I thought that I probably had the best of the best on Shine Like It Does, the box set released after Michael Hutchence‘s un-timely death.

Now, I had copied a fair chunk of my cassettes to mp3 last year, and the INXS stuff I included in my library (unlike most of the rest) despite it’s dubious quality. I’m so glad I did. I started working my way through it last week. And although I haven’t yet finished, I already re-purchased two of the albums in digital format. Go Amazon, you’re lucky I’m on memory lane this week!

My introduction to INXS was probably when most of the rest of the US caught on to them, with the release of Kick. There’s not a song on that album that I rated less than 3, and the bulk of it is in the 4 & 5 camp. Just incredible rock music, and maybe I’m deluding myself, but I really feel like this is an album that has held up to the test of time. I don’t feel like I’m listening to music from the 80’s at all. As I said, perhaps I’m deluding myself.

I also waded through Listen Like Thieves. Maybe a sacrilege or just a poor choice of words, but it was an album that never clicked for me, and I did feel much like I was listening to music from another time. Only Shine Like It Does and What You Need got high ratings from me on the entire album. Needless to say this was not one of the re-purchased albums – and as both of those are on the box set, Shine Like It Does, I’m already golden for those.

The re-purchased albums so far are Kick and Welcome To Wherever You Are. Both albums I could listen to over and over. I’ve bounced around, so I still have a couple to listen through yet.

I’ve listened to these two over and over the last few days, and I just fall in love again to the sound of this band and feel much sadness that I never saw them live (and the bands I make the effort to see live are not a huge number). And I feel sorrow again that Hutchence is gone (a decade later this year). Maybe his best work was already behind him, or maybe we missed out on the genius that was yet to come. We’ll never know.

I know technically INXS is still out there making music, but I loathe reality TV and the stunt with picking the new lead singer soured me such that I never have listened to any thing post-Hutchence.

It’s interesting to re-tread these steps again. I’m not prone to doing it. Although I often obsess over past decisions, second-guess myself, etc., music has always been one space in which I moved forward. I hardly have any greatest hits collections. Even moving into the world of CD’s, I purchased maybe 4 or 5 CDs that I had previously owned as cassettes. I sometimes forced myself to stick a few older CDs in my car changer just so I didn’t lose sight of a band that no longer was or wasn’t producing anything I enjoyed anymore. I have never been a fan of radio stations that only play music from certain decades And I’m always shocked and dismayed when I hear someone say they don’t make good music anymore. The music a decade or two decades ago or what have you was so much better. Statements like these just floor me. I wonder if they really listen anymore.

Anyway, that said, I’m going to go listen to Kick Again…

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