Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Smooth rockabilly/pop from Chris Isaak

My iPod reached back and spun me a little vintage Chris Isaak today and I decided to write him up. Isaak is an interesting fellow. He has released 14 albums, acted in many movies (including The Informers, Married to the Mob, and Silence of the Lambs), appeared in many TV shows (including Friends, Wiseguy, and Ed), and had two different shows of his own. I honestly can’t tell if he’s insanely good looking or not. I know he has great hair. Judging from the amount of acting he’s done, I think he must be. I’ve seen his show, too. It was engaging and funny. Anyway, he’s talented, funny, good-looking, rich… I hate him.

I'm not kidding.

Kidding! I’m kidding. Well, maybe I hate him a little. However, that doesn’t keep me from liking his 1993 release, “San Francisco Days.” If you’re familiar with any of his music, there’s a good chance it’s either ‘Wicked Game’ (from “Heart Shaped World”), the video for which featured a smoking hot Helena Christensen, or ‘Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing” (from “Forever Blue”),  which Stanley Kubrick picked for inclusion in the Eyes Wide Shut soundtrack. Personally, I like “San Francisco Days” better than either of those albums.

Like his 50s greaser hair, Isaak’s music has a throwback feel to it. Mixed rockabilly and country guitar is scattered through songs of lust and breakups. His crooning generally sounds like he’s channeling Roy Orbison, though he sometimes descends into a throaty growl or a husky whisper. “San Francisco Days” was his first album in 4 years when it was released and he spent the time writing some good songs and updating his sound a little bit with some occasional rhythm machine and production effects. I remember the disc stayed in my player for several weeks when I got it and I still like to hear songs from the disc come up in rotation. Check out some winners and go get it if you don’t already have it.

  • San Francisco Days – This track kicks off the disc and it’s a great, high-energy pop tune. I linked you to a live performance but it’s in a studio so they come very close to the album version.
  • Round N’ Round – It’s too bad this whole song isn’t on YouTube because it’s great. The rhythm machine rears its head in this one while Isaak lays down a dirty guitar riff and moaning vocals.
  • Can’t Do a Thing (To Stop Me) – This track is simply gorgeous. The clean guitar is so gentle and the backing vocals caress the chorus. The highlight of the song, though, is Isaak’s voice, which is as sweet and smooth as caramel.
  • I Want Your Love – The guitar vamps a full on rockabilly groove while Isaak does his wailing-with-longing thing. I love the energy.

If you’re just dipping your toes in Isaak’s collection, his 2006 release, “The Best of Chris Isaak” is a rare best-of collection I would actually recommend.



December 23, 2010 - Posted by | Popular

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