Chris Isaak

Always Got Tonight

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You have to admire Chris Isaak -- the guy's been making records for close to 20 years, and he's still the very model of effortless cool with pipes to match, not the easiest accomplishment for a guy who's pushing fifty. At the same time, while Isaak's gifts haven't faded a bit with time, he hasn't displayed a stunning degree of versatility, either -- he's still the same lovelorn lover man with the retro-hipster style he introduced on Silvertone in 1985. But Isaak's eighth album, Always Got Tonight, suggests that slowly but surely Isaak is learning to change with the times. Isaak actually puts a retro-funk groove on the title cut, he lets his country influences rise to the surface on "American Boy," "Notice the Ring" shows a little electronic glimmer around the edges, and "One Day" lays on a bit more of the rock juice than you might expect. Don't get the idea that Isaak is breaking radical new ground here, though -- he may have added a few new toppings to the menu, but at heart this is still the same kind of ice cream sundae he's been offering listeners for years, and as always the goods are rich and tasty and made with only the finest ingredients, and tunes like "Life Will Go On" and "I See You Everywhere" will keep fans of his trademark luxurious heartbreak very happy indeed. Always Got Tonight offers something a little bit new for Chris Isaak's fans, but not enough to really startle anyone, and while a shade more ambition might have made this a bit more interesting, this guy is still doing what he does with the same style, flair, and skill he's always possessed, and you can't fault a man for doing what works, especially when it works this well.

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