Last week’s Valentine’s Day musical selections seemingly mentioned most every “love inclined” artist, yet neglected one of recent renown. Upon mentioning this to Mr. Adair, A&C editor, he smiled his twinkling smile and agreed with a certain sense of indifferent aplomb. Well, the very next day providence, and the U.S. Postal Service, would add an exclamation point to the neglect by delivering Chris Isaak’s new album Always Got Tonight.
From the opening track of Always Got Tonight Isaak backs up his reputation as one of the most love/relationship-obsessed singers around. But perhaps that’s all anyone ever sings about? Perhaps. But for Isaak it’s true.
Since his first album through Heart Shaped World and on and on he’s written and sung about love lost, love saved, love elevated, love, love, love ad infinitum. Another consistency as with previous albums is Isaaks’ pouting, puppy-dog face adorning the cover.
And for all those post-Valentine traumas there’s plenty of material on Always Got Tonight to drown in with a nice glass of red wine. Specifically the tunes “Life Will Go On” and “Worked it out Wrong.” These are sad, blue songs and are classic Isaak.
Thankfully, there are far fewer of these sad, blue songs on this album than his previous records. This actually may be Isaak’s most balanced album yet. Oh, yeah, don’t get me wrong he’s still crooning about broken hearts and shattered love. But not each track is wrapped in dower tones. Isaak can actually rock a good guitar riff when he wants to and luckily for us he does on “Courthouse,” “One Day,” the title song “Always Got Tonight” and my favorite “Notice the Ring,” and not just because of the kick-ass flute.
For Always Got Tonight Isaak abandoned long-time producer Erik Jacobsen for John Shanks, who has also collaborated with the likes of Stevie Nicks and Melissa Etheridge.
His press release stated, “He checked himself into an isolated, old, out-of-business beach-side hotel …” Besides the conundrum, the oxymoron, the fallacy, the contradiction of checking into an out-of-business hotel I agree with Shanks’ statement about the album, “We accomplished what we set out to do – make a great record.”
And if St. Valentine treated you wrong last week you might think about a little red wine and Isaak’s new album.