Picks and Pans Review: Michael Hutchence

updated 03/20/2000 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/20/2000 01:00AM

Michael Hutchence (V2)

The 1997 apparent suicide of Hutchence, the 37-year-old lead singer of the Australian band INXS, must have surprised his fans. After all, this Down Under version of Mick Jagger appeared to live an enviable rock-star life, despite a well-publicized custody fight involving his live-in girlfriend Paula Yates and her ex-husband, rocker Bob Geldof. And INXS's slick dance music gave little evidence of a darker side. But judging from this more personal but uneven solo effort, in the works since 1995, Hutchence was clearly more tortured than his stage persona attested. On "Let Me Show You" he confesses with a sneer, "I'm black and blue from love and art" amid a revved-up rock beat that sounds believably ominous. But as a whole, it is difficult to interpret this lackluster collection as the profound statement he clearly intended it to be. Fans of INXS will appreciate the reliably catchy blue-eyed soul that helped make Hutchence a star. Yet even Bono of U2, who sings on "Slide Away," can't add a note of genuine emotion to this predictable album.

Bottom Line: Too little, too late

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