While it was INXS’s third album, “Shabooh Shoobah” was the first to be released in the States, and their worldwide breakthrough, thanks to the single “The One Thing”. But it was the album’s third single that was my favorite – “To Look At You”.

Hutchence is in full Bryan Ferry mode here, slinking around the verses, crooning and mumbling lines like:

What is the name to call
For a different kind of girl
Who knows the feelings
But never the words

I’ve listened to this song for more than two decades, but until I typed that out just now, I never realized this girl who can’t describe her feelings (“Happy? Sad? Bloated?”) might be borderline slow. But then you get to the final chorus:

What is the name to call
For a different kind of girl
Who knows the feelings
But never the words
To this . . . real life documentary

“Real life documentary”?? As opposed to a fake mockumentary? Oh, Michael. Maybe she’s not the slow one. Good song, though.

From there, some territories got “Spy Of Love” as a fourth single, which I never understood. Not a bad song, just the very definition of “album track” to me. Me, I was more about “Jan’s Song” – I love the faux reggae beat, the overall bouncy nature of the song and the weird lyrics about…what? A hot political activist? A socialist fashionista (“she puts her hat on / looks in the mirror / says to herself / ‘nothing to fear’”)? Here’s the band performing the song live on what’s billed as their “U.S. television debut” (I have no supporting documentation for that, so we’ll have to trust the person who uploaded it):

“Shabooh Shoobah” is a strong album, an early 80s classic that needs re-issuing, along with “The Swing” and “Listen Like Thieves” while you’re at it, Rhino, thankyouveddymuch. And hey, throw on that U.S. promo only extended version of “To Look At You” that I can’t find anywhere, cool? (Ask and ye shall receive.) And a poster-sized foldout of the original inner sleeve?

Grrrrowwwwwlllll.

Of course, you know the INXS story ended in tragedy. That’s right, they went on a reality show to choose their new lead singer. Oh yeah, and Hutchence hung himself. Buuuuut seriously folks, this ain’t the last time we’ll see INXS around these parts. Stay tuned.

“To Look At You” did not chart.
“Jan’s Song” was not a single.