Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Chris Isaak

  • Silvertone [Warner Bros., 1985] B
  • Chris Isaak [Warner Bros., 1987] B
  • Forever Blue [Reprise, 1995] Neither
  • Baja Sessions [Reprise, 1996] Dud
  • Speak of the Devil [Reprise, 1998] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Silvertone [Warner Bros., 1985]
Like his East Coast counterpart Marshall Crenshaw, Isaak comes to his sources as a professional musician, not a bohemian dabbler. This is attractive, only his sources aren't as rich as Crenshaw's, and neither is his talent. Reflective modernized rockabilly played for echoing atmosphere. B

Chris Isaak [Warner Bros., 1987]
For me, the almost genteel formalism and romanticism of this dreamy foray into rockabilly's dark, hurtful, sensitive side is epitomized by the fiddle-as-violin that adds its sad color deep behind "Fade Away." Don't get me wrong, it sounds good. Whole damn thing sounds good. B

Forever Blue [Reprise, 1995] Neither

Baja Sessions [Reprise, 1996] Dud

Speak of the Devil [Reprise, 1998]
Rockaballads AC ("Speak of the Devil," "This Time"). *