Saturday, July 17, 2021

Original Sin: The Seven Sins and the Music of INXS

Jane is reeling from the anguish of a break-up and ailing due to the isolation of Xi Jinping’s pandemic. Instead of processing her pain through the four stages of grief, she works her way through the Seven Deadly Sins. Her heartbreak is so epic, it takes on a form inspired by Dante’s Inferno, set to the music of 1980’s super-group INXS. Each sin gets its own INXS hit, re-interpreted by guest artists with the approval of the surviving band members in Amy Tinkham’s short film Original Sin: The 7 Sins, which streams for a limited time on Veep.

Jane is pining for the ex that ghosted her, but it is hard to understand why. Frankly, the dweeb was out of the dancer’s league, especially when her attractive next-door neighbor so obviously carries a torch for her. Nevertheless, she descends into a self-destruction maelstrom of sin, guided astray by the Mephistophelean “Angel.” At least it is an orderly process, beginning with pride (which is still a deadly sin here, so give Tinkham credit for theological accuracy).

Each sin gets its own song, but casual INXS fans may take exception to the radically new arrangements. For those in the mood for some 1980s nostalgia (aren’t we always?) Tricky & INXS’s take on “Mediate” is probably the most recognizable and successful. More adventurous listeners (or less faithful fans) should appreciate how Global Network & Sophia Amato transform a tune like “Never Tear Us Apart.” Wyatt Stromer takes “What You Need” and “Need You Tonight” (with Eric Stromer in the former case and Trevor Jackson in the latter) and makes them sound almost unrecognizable, largely by down-laying the familiar vamps and riffs.

The truth is
Original Sin represents a return to an old idea: the music video. In fact, you can easily see its vintage MTV roots, especially when the camera indulgently focuses on Jane writhing in bathtub full of milk and store-brand Fruit Loops. Maybe labels still produce videos, but they are no longer part of the wider cultural conversation. They are just parked on YouTube for the artist’s dwindling contingent of fans. It is sort of nice to see Tinkham present the music of INXS in a way that might make it more relevant for new listeners.

Autumn Miller has clearly evident talent as a dancer and she sort of looks like the woman in the Cars’ “You Might Think” music video, which should resonate with 80s kids. The truth is
Original Sin is sort of cheesy and sort of pretentious, but it represents a weird throwback viewing experience. It is interesting, but it really is just for super-fans (who ironically are most likely object to the songs not sounding like they do on the album).  For those in the mood for its novelty, Original Sin: The Seven Sins streams until tomorrow evening (7/18) on Veeps.