Forever Blue

Chris Isaak

Reprise Records, 1995

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


Chris Isaak may be one of the biggest cons in rock music. Every girl I know swoons over his looks. His seductive voice and smooth delivery makes him at the top of anyone's "make out" collection of CDs. But in practically all of his albums, he's all by his lonesome.

The 90s have been fairly kind to Mr. Isaak. He enjoyed a taste of success with his song, "Wicked Game" in 1991. After that, he enjoyed critical acclaim with the beautful album, San Fransisco Days.

Now, he's back in the public light as one of his songs is playing in the trailer for one of this year's most anticipated movies, Eyes Wide Shut. The song, "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" is played in the background as Tom Cruise and Nichole Kidman go at it heavily in front of a mirror.

Damn, and that song kicks off what possibly could be his finest hour so far with my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Forever Blue. In case you haven't seen the trailer, "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" is a clear, angry, blusey blast from Isaak. He has always incorporated elements of rockibilly into his forte, but with this song, he digs so deep into the blues, it sounds like he's singing with a bruised, broken heart. As he assaults his guitar, he shouts "Feel like crying!/Feel like crying!" and dammit, you believe it.

There's nothing more rocking than that song on Forever Blue, so it could be thought of as a cheap way to lure the listener in and then taper off with filler material. But that song serves as a nice slap in the face. He has your attention, now he proceeds to keep it throughout the rest of the album.

The minor hit "Somebody's Crying" lays out the theme of loss on Forever Blue. Indeed, just look inside the CD case and you'll see a rather nasty, yet affectionate letter Chris has written to a potential soon to be ex.

Songs like "Don't Leave Me On My Own" and "Changed Your Mind" focus on relationships at their most desperate stages. Musically, there really isn't much I can say about Isaak that hasn't been said before. If there were to be a successor to Buddy Holly, Isaak would definitely be in line for auditions. His guitar work stays true to the rockibilly form, but he allows himself to slow down for more pensive ballads like "Graduation Day."

While Forever Blue is very much etched in black, Isaak makes sure to insert a couple of playful ditties to keep listeners from going off the emotional deep end. "Goin' Nowhere" is a great example. It starts off like a song that you would dedicate to your best girl, "Like your lips/like the way you shake," but he quicky turns the affection to a slap when he says, "You're the type of girl I would say is going nowhere." He even includes a cowboy yell during the song to back up his talk.

Isaak has never been known to explore new sounds, and much of Forever Blue is stuff that he's done before. But on Forever Blue, the lyrics seem more genuine and the music just has a much smoother flow than his past releases. If you haven't discovered Forever Blue yet, do it before Eyes Wide Shut. At least then you can say you got in on an artist who will no doubt profit in a huge way when that movie hits the theaters.

Rating: B+

User Rating: B-



© 1999 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Reprise Records, and is used for informational purposes only.