Chris Isaak,
Heart Shaped World
(Reprise, 1989)

Chris Isaak will probably only be remembered in musical history as the guy who rolled aroung naked on the beach with a supermodel in his video for "Wicked Game." As sexy as that might have been, it's nothing compared to spending a little time alone with his voice and sultry guitar on Heart Shaped World.

Being enveloped in Isaak's world is a sensual experience, be it accompanied by the slow spreading saxaphone groove on "Blue Spanish Sky" or the deliciously dirty-feeling guitar twang and insinuating vocals of "Wrong to Love You." Altogether the man creates a feeling, that right or wrong, his lovin' is good lovin'.

A little bit country, a little rockabilly and a touch of pop, this album is a moody, often melancholy peek into the psyche of a man who may not often be alone, but can't seem to shake a pervading loneliness. With a voice dipping low, nearly to whispers, he reaches straight into secret depths of his listeners, the heart certainly being one. The wracking sadness of "Nothing's Changed" is a familiar cry of loss, the places we once knew, the past that's long forgotten, while affirming the permanance and importance of enduring love.

The incongruently upbeat tone of "I'm Not Waiting" gives lie to the title of the song, especially after his impassioned wail: " I give up, so I pretend, but in my heart I know, I know, I love you still." No advice given here, but in the experiences shared, lessons on love, loss and life are wound through with emotion-provoking, flawless musical accompaniment.

This is a soundtrack for lovemaking, but it is also a score for the making of love.

- Rambles
written by Katie Knapp
published 22 May 2004

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