Michael Hutchence

New and Notable Releases

Rating: NNN

Should a deceased artist’s more-or-less finished last work be issued or vaulted? Does the artist deserve final say, always?

Sticky matter. Most would agree Jeff Buckley’s demo-like Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk should have been buried with him. With Michael Hutchence’s solo work, the issue is murkier since the producers involved claim it was on the cusp of completion when he expired in late 97. Certainly, this sounds like a fully conceived album, if not a spectacular one.

Retreating from the arena-sized bombast of INXS, Hutchence cleaves to moody, lyric-driven pop speckled with soul, calling on a cadre of celebrity friends for support.

Still, it’s absolutely chilling to hear him sing “Don’t save me from myself,” then quietly croon “I just wanna slide away/ and come alive again” on the album’s closer. Some doors are best left shut.

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