Monday, 11 May 2009

Crowded House 'Instinct'

Chart Peak: 12


For possibly the first time in the history of this blog, looking this track up finally prompted me to replace my cassette of the best-of album where this track first appeared with a download. So you can probably guess which way this is going to go.

'Instinct' was one of a few tracks tentatively slated for a fifth Crowded House album, but ultimately became one of the three new tracks on the Recurring Dream best-of, their last recordings with original drummer Paul Hester. For about a decade they were their last recordings of all, since Neil Finn announced around this time that he was folding the band. And on this track, you can almost hear why. Not that it's anything other than good, but it does hint that Finn was looking for a new direction; there are traces of the mildly more modern production sound that he'd explore as a solo artist. Even his vocal is pushed beyond his typical range.

Even after all these years, I've never really been able to grasp what the song is supposed to be about. Parts of the lyric ("Laughing at the stony face of gloom", "Your instinct can't be wrong") sound like they might belong in an upbeat fist-punching anthem, but as usual the music resists this, presenting an oddly bewildered, slightly bleary-eyed confusion. It's this darker side of Crowded House that is often overlooked, rather to the detriment of their reputation, though presumably not their bank balances. 'Instinct' is surprisingly worthwhile for a new song on a best of album, if not up with their finest work: I prefer the other hit from the album, 'Not The Girl You Think You Are' but that never made it to a Now album.

Also appearing on:
Now 21, 22, 23, 26, 35
Available on: Recurring Dream: The Very Best of Crowded House

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