Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Heart Shaped World – Chris Isaak [#573]

Heart_shaped_worldTrouble all around, says Chris in this his third album.

This was the second Chris Isaak album I added to my collection and was the first that hadn’t been copied from a friend’s CD onto cassette (Thanks, Mike!) and the first I bought having seen Mr Isaak play at my first gig at the Royal Court in Liverpool.

As a single teenager the angst-ridden lyrics meant something to me. Well they seemed to. As with all Chris Isaak, they are songs about either a woman done me bad, oh noes my drinking buddy has died or  hey mrs robinson milf I’m a young and virile chap let’s do the jiggy.  Though admittedly, they are mostly about cheating on lovers and are a little whiney.

Isaak’s breakthrough album in Europe, with two albums already under his belt; Chris Isaak and Silvertone, the success of Heart Shaped World and his singles, Blue Hotel and Wicked Game meant that releasing his best of compilation, also called Wicked Game, as the next album was a clever marketing trick. Indeed, as Isaak himself, and his music, started to appear more regularly in films and on TV it wasn’t long before  his fan base started to grow in the UK and people stopped asking me “Who?” when I said that I liked Chris Isaak.

Sadly people I spoke to still daubed him with the Country & Western brush instead of the American Rock genre I liked to classify his music as. Indeed, as there was a bit of a wait until his next album San Fransisco Days to show how diverse his music skills were.

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Guitar Legends – Various Artists [#563]

Guitar Legends The guitar. Some would say it is a crucial instrument in modern music. “Without guitar” they might say, “All you have is some bloke singing with drums and a keyboard.” Which is true, but as we have already heard with the likes of Morphine and Matt Howden, the guitar is merely a tool in the production of great music. However, one cannot ignore the guitar completely, especially when presented with a compilation such as today’s album.

This two disc 41 song Capital Gold compilation features some interesting choices. It starts off quite promising with songs by Queen, Derek & the Dominos (guess which song), Rainbow and even Motorhead. But by the mid-way point it drifts into a sort of smokey late eighties blues nightclub (the proper sort where you go to listen to live music and smoke not to get pissed and/or laid) where Skynrd, Frampton, Santana and Lee Hooker have been placed on the bill with later guest appearances by John Lodge & Justin Hayward, Nick Drake and the Shadows.

If, for some reason, you’ve been living in a guitar free world and you’re interested in finding out what can be done with the instrument, I suppose this is a good way to find out.

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Forever Blue – Chris Isaak [#488]

220px-Forever_Blue_-_Chris_IsaakIn 1995, just when I thought Chris Isaak had given up and gone off to that place where successful musicians disappear to, Isaak released Forever Blue. Nicely timed too, as dramatic changes were taking place in my own life.

Forever Blue was once described as the most “depressing Chris Isaak album ever”, fitting really as Isaak’s childhood sweetheart and wife died during the production of the album, a fact I only discovered last year. This nugget of information helps explain some of the lyrics and the songs on the album.

Regardless of situation, Isaak pulls out all the stops. Moping and pining lyrics dotted with the yearnings of pathetic love sick teenagers bring an extra departure from previous more jovial albums such as San Fransisco Days returning us to the near original classic Chris Isaak of Chris Isaak and Silvertone era. An excellent album for a break up.

This album helped me through the dark years of 1995-1997 and, if you were to jump into a time machine and go to my old flat back then, you’d have probably heard this album repeatedly being played, ingraining itself in my aural memory as a “flat album”.

Great stuff.

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