Isaak's had his past, now he's working on tonight

Grade: C

Ever since Chris Isaak frolicked provocatively on the beach with supermodel Helena Christensen in his 1991 "Wicked Game" video, his good looks, sultry voice and prolific singing and songwriting have raised eyebrows.

On his new album, "Always Got Tonight," however, Isaak disappoints fans.

Perhaps he has been too busy acting and developing or working on other projects to have recorded an album, but everyone deserves time off now and again. It could have been more stellar, considering the time he took off to work on the 12-track disc.

Isaak changed his musical style on this album. Featuring his trademark slow love ballads, "Always Got Tonight" might not help those who are already depressed. His angst-filled songs about being dumped are not recommended for those recently involved in a breakup. It could use more variety and upbeat rock songs.

This album still features Isaak's signature slow Southern accent and moving, heart-wrenching ballads about lost love. Isaak's songs are as soothing to listen to as a baby's lullaby but could put you to sleep after a long, stressful day.

Finding all 12 songs enjoyable except for the whiny and repetitive "One Day," the CD does offer some good pieces. "Worked It Out Wrong," probably the best song on the disc, is followed closely by "Courthouse." The song, "Let Me Down Easy," is also Isaak at his best.

This album isn't as gripping as Isaak's prior efforts, but he can't be counted out of the game just yet. His lyrics envelope the listeners.

"Always Got Tonight" proves Isaak can still run with the big dogs in the music world and isn't content to just watch from the porch. Like a fine wine, Isaak himself proves some things just get better as they age.

He is still evolving as an artist and perhaps at a point in his career where he's trying to find himself and what works. But if he would stick to what made him successful instead of changing his musical style, the finished product may have turned out better. His plethora of love ballads over the years have grown tiresome.


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