Single Review: INXS “Elegantly Wasted”

Elegantly Wasted
Album: Elegantly Wasted
Year: 1997

According to the official INXS website, a reality show called “INXS Rock Star” with Survivor and Apprentice producer Mark Burnett. In the show, they will find a new frontman for the band.

Of course, they will find the new person who will sound like Michael Hutchence and act like him on stage. They will celebrate and go on a reunion tour which is bound to bring in money.

However, there is one reality they haven’t faced yet: it’s over. It was over the day Michael Hutchence died. Now would be the time to reflect quietly on VH-1 and return for retrospective specials on the 80s. The reality show will only tarnish the band’s reputation, turning the classic albums into a joke.

In the pulsating, whirling “Elegantly Wasted,” Hutchence and his girlfriend waste time and drink together, wishing for something more.

A sprightly cowbell and murmuring keyboards begin the single. A leisurely riff is then played by the guitar.. Hutchence points out the positive things going on the world to cheer up his girlfriend. But nothing is going to make her smile. She’s lost enthusiasm to do anything. He wonders why they aren’t as spontaneous and carefree like when they were younger. They escape and fear life they have. They had visions of how they wanted to lives their to be and expected it to happen. It didn’t. (“Look at all that shines/Baby’s down on the world/And she knows it/If your spirit’s running/Why don’t we make it rain like we used to/We run/We hide/We wait and want/The good life/Aw sure/You’re right/This aint, the good life”).

Hutchence “ahhs” and then says they are permentantly drunk. (“Ah, Elegantly wasted/Ah, Elegantly wasted”).

Hutchence and his girlfriend are living in suburbia and can capture their futures at any time. His girlfriend imagines her life down to the last detail. She lives in her head mostly. It’s become her religion. (“Look at all the crimes/Baby’s down on the world/Cause she owns it/Making up her life/Nothing more, nothing less/Makes it voodoo”). “We run…..this ain’t the good life” is repeated again.

The guitar plays an unruly riff in between the chorus and verse.

The first verse is repeated again with a lyric change. His girlfriend is feeling better and he wants to know if they can return to as they were before. But he knows it’s not going to happen. They are stuck. (“Well look at all that shines….if your spirit’s fine/why don’t we make it rain like we used to….”)

During the chorus, Hutchence’s refusal to accept that this is way life is going to be continues. (“Ah, Elegantly wasted/Ah, Elegantly wasted (you could be right, you could be certain, you could be right”). He adlibs some “feels like.” He also lets out some thrusting grunts and nervous “ha’s”, cementing his voice as sex for the ears.

At the end, Hutchence is acapella and says “elegantly wasted.”

Hutchence and his girlfriend avoid their disillusionment by drinking their lives away and pretending it’s much better. It’s preferred to be hungover than deal with the disappointment of not accomplishing or becoming the people they hoped.

Micheal Hutchence’s raw and hedonic voice makes “Elegantly Wasted.” Without the carnality and audacity which exist in his voice, the single wouldn’t have been believable or even listenable. It’s certainly not classic INXS but still is above average.

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One thought on “Single Review: INXS “Elegantly Wasted”

  1. Pingback: Listen Like Thieves (INXS) – 3.05 stars (73.1%) | The Album List

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