Chris Isaak – Always Got Tonight

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

Chris Isaak says he began writing this album in Hawaii, literally scratching the words into the sand. Whether you believe that or not, the whole process seems to have given the multi-talented Isaak a more sunny disposition – there is little of the crippling heartbreak of his 1990 breakthrough hit WICKED GAME on this record.

Instead, there’s an upbeat vibe to ALWAYS GOT TONIGHT that kicks off on spirited opener ONE DAY and continues on through the album’s three-quarter-hour duration. Even when the chiselled one gets all trademark mournful, as on WORKED IT OUT WRONG or the closing NOTHING TO SAY, there’s still a sense of Hawaiian twang in his guitar.

Heck, songs like AMERICAN BOY and the title track are pure country rock and you’d have a hard time convincing anyone that the manic NOTICE THE RING was Chris Isaak at all. Nonetheless, that wonderful voice still croons like it’s about to collapse under the weight of unspeakable sorrow, and on the tragic end-of-relationship song LIFE WILL GO ON, the sense of melancholy is almost overwhelming.

But in general, this is the sound of the singer/musician/actor/presenter (he also fronts his own hit US TV series – don’t you just hate him?) in love with the power of music, the energy of performing and – despite his frequent lyrical hints to the contrary – life.

4 stars