INXS, the band with a confusing logo/name, spent most of the 1980’s developing a knack for being new wave, garage-like, all while simultaneously heading towards bar anthems. It was odd in the 80’s to have a highly successful turn as a band from Australia unless you were INXS. And to some, they brought the music of the land down under, the pipeline it needed to cross (several) ponds. The Farriss brothers rolled out the instrumentation while front man Michael Hutchence provided the vocals and an identifiable image for an un-identifiable group of Aussie’s. While not my favorite group of the 80’s, I continually find myself enjoying them as the years roll on. Interpretation – Neal enjoys things more as he gets older. Sigh.
Recently on a car trip through central Oklahoma and beyond, I had the pleasure of enjoying the album Listen Like Thieves by, you guessed it, by INXS. It’s a funky album with instrumentation that goes under appreciated almost thirty years later. And there are some great tracks featured throughout. “Kiss The Dirt”, “This Time”, and the one that broke the Aussie to US barrier, “What You Need.”
Originally intended to be a funk track in the vein of James Brown, the band turned “What You Need” into a party anthem while keeping the rousing funk rhythm portions in tact. Highly impressive vocal gymnastics gave it some much needed punch, and solidifying it as one of the most loved songs of 1985.
Lyrically speaking, INXS always kept things simple. They favored the performance value of the skilled sound machine they assembled. But when Hutchence spoke/sang, you listened. Because of the rarity with which the lyrics out-trumped the music itself, you felt as if the band was really getting to the heart of the matter. Case in point, “What You Need” is a purely uplifting rollick down the freeway. It’s a story, really, of someone who needs a kick in the pants. “Forget about the trouble in your life”, “Don’t you get sad and lonely”, “This is not the end of it all”, are all lyrics that crescendo with the simple sentiment…”I’ll give you what you need”.
Be better. Do better. Get better. Themes we all need to hear on a daily basis.
I feel like we’ve turned a page in Barons hockey in the last week. If this were a Choose Your Own Adventure book, the Barons would be the twelve year old refusing to turn the page for fear of a wrong story arc. Not that OKC’s minor league hockey team is afraid to be better or move forward, they are simply uncapable of doing so. There’s nothing wrong with that, because when you’re out matched, you’re outmatched.
The week long tour of the Illinois AHL teams known as the Midwest Division, started with the Barons winning a point while giving two in return to the Chicago Wolves who are nary a point ahead of the Barons in the standings. Unable to close the gap mid-week, the team turns again to a few Illinois teams – Peoria on Friday, Rockford on Saturday. This road stretch was bound to be rough, and two points has never been a more valuable commodity.
Peoria and Rockford are both admirable opponents, especially in the month of March.
Peorioa, nearly out of playoff contention, could make some noise down the stretch, but like OKC, I’m not sure they’re capable. On the plus, they play well at home, win a ton of one goal games, and are starting to be a tad more headstrong. The lone meeting between these clubs earlier in the season was in OKC, with Eberle, Schultz, and Hall in the lineup, and was heavy on the Peoria scoring. Let’s not do that again, Barons.
Rockford is on the other side of the equation. One point ahead of OKC, but currently holding the “if needed” tie breaker, the IceHogs are a fun team to watch. They play little defense, score in bunches, and are highly energized. The good news for OKC is that they themselves have games in hand (two right now) over the squad, and that’s HUGE down the stretch. Brandon Pirri, Martin St. Pierre, and Jeremy Morin will all likely break the sixty point mark of the season while the Barons will only have one (Mark Arcobello). So their gameplan is to outscore you, and scoring has been troubling for OKC. This one has trouble written all over it.
The Barons desperately need the two points in both games, thus totaling four for the weekend. The added wrinkle of Teemu Hartikainen only makes this team better. But it feels as if a callup might be coming with Oiler’s centerman, Eric Belanger, groined-up. Anton Lander, perhaps?
Regardless, the team needs to be better than they have been. Better early between the pipes for Yann Danis and Niko Hovinen. Better with the puck coming out of the zone (I’m talking to you Taylor Fedun). Better production from the top line (which I predict gets a shake up this weekend).
Good luck OKC.
*Starting Lineups From This Week:
Philippe Cornet – Mark Arcobello – Jonathan Cheechoo
Toni Rajala – Anton Lander – Teemu Hartikainen
Dane Byers – Josh Green – Ben Eager
Darcy Hordichuk – Ryan Martindale – Chris VandeVelde
Scratched: Curtis Hamilton, Antti Tyrvainen, Tanner House, Tyler Pitlick (injured), Kristians Pelss (injured)
Martin Marincin – Taylor Fedun
Nathan Deck – **Alex Plante
Brandon Davidson – Andrew Hotham
Scratched: Kendall McFaull, Colten Teubert, Dan Ringwald (injured), Randy Jones (injured)
*As stated earlier, I believe we see a shakeup in that top line for this weekend. Whether it’s adding Teemu to the top line left, Rajala back to the second line right wing, and Cornet to the second line left wing – a change is in order. Virtually non-existent has that first line been, and that’s bothersome.
**Plante and Teubert have been hot-swappable for nearly four weeks. Rookie D top pairing and two ECHLers are outplaying them nightly. Not good for the former prospects with whom the Oilers management team had high hopes.