Chris Isaak Album Review: Forever Blue (1995)

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Forever Blue, the fifth album from Chris Isaak.

In green is my opinion. I discovered this album in my dad’s CD collection and gave it a listen. I decided I would like to review it. I am not familiar with Chris Isaak.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He has heard of Chris Isaak, but he only knows one of his songs. This is a fresh artist for both him and me.

Let’s start our track-by-track review!

Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing

Forever Blue starts with an edgy, ambient track. Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing has a grungy blues sound to it, which is by no means a negative thing. The guitar riff drives the song, and Chris’s gruff vocals help to make it even rougher. The progression of the song is Peter Gabriel-like in its execution. The lyrics set the tone for the album, which is dark and (who would have guessed?) blue. From the first track, I’m on board for the album.

The first thing I noticed about this song is that it sounds like ZZ Top’s song La Grange, which has one of my favorite riffs of all time. I love the western sound this song has, and how much louder it was in the end.

Somebody’s Crying

With some more great guitar work, Chris Isaak sings some stellar lyrics on another sad song. He sings with emotion and honesty, something he does often on Forever Blue. This quick track is clearly a friendly single built for airplay, but regardless, its simplicity works in its favor. 

This song sounds like rockabilly that has been slowed down and updated to modern times. I really like how slow it is, and Chris’s voice is just wonderful.
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Graduation Day
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Graduation Day is a song Isaak pulled right out of his heart, as can be heard through his reflective lyrics. The guitar and the drums work in harmony with his somber voice to create a stellar, stand-out song. Graduation Day also has some great guitar sections and accents that add a lot to the song, essentially “Isaaking” it. I dig Graduation Day.
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I graduated from high school in 2013, so I am glad I can relate to this song. It makes me sad when I listen to this song, though, because it reminds me of all the good times, mistakes, and chances I had in my high school years. When your parents say their high school years were the best, they really mean it. College is boring for me, and there are countless memories I have from high school that this song makes me remember. 

Go Walking Down There

A James Bond-styled guitar riff gives this song a dark, edgy sound that is both original and familiar. It makes you want to move, as it has a life of its own, and it’s once again filled with passion. Isaak’s yelling is priceless. He lets you know he’s pissed, and I’m completely fine with that.

Once again, the intro is strong, just as the case has been on the other songs from this album thus far. I also noticed that Chris and his music resemble a modern Elvis. Go Walking Down There has a nice blues theme, and you can never go wrong with blues. Oh, and Chris’s screaming is just pure gold.

Don’t Leave Me on My Own

While the vocals are sincere, the guitar seems to be a little too upbeat for its own good. Don’t Leave Me on My Own, rather than being embellished by guitar as the other songs have, gets dragged down by it to a level of cliche. I’ll pass on this track. 

What a magical-sounding love song. I really love the lyrics and sound this song has, especially the great blues sound. Blues songs are often about love, and this song does it right!

Things Go Wrong

Things Go Wrong song starts off on the wrong foot. In other words, things went wrong. The trippy guitar was unnecessarily drawn out, and Isaak’s passionless singing was not pleasant to my ears. A little over a minute in, however, all of that is dropped. The guitar is no longer distorted, and Isaak once again sounds like he cares. The chorus is easily the highlight of the song, as the opening verse is sung in a way that is not dynamic. Things Go Wrong is weaker song from the album that is very forgettable.

Things really do go wrong, especially in relationships. This song communicates that message perfectly, and even if you cannot relate to this song, it is still easy to listen to.

Forever Blue

I can’t help but wonder why Chris is so depressed. The obvious choice is heartbreak, as the lyrics would imply, but I want to know the full story. Whatever happened prompted this song of depression. It should be called “The Song of Depression,” not Forever Blue. Regardless, I really dig this track. It’s very well written, and the guitar shines. Forever Blue is a well-done song.

Wow, this song is really depressing. I can see why it was chosen as the title of the album. This whole album is really blue in terms of the lyrics and sound, and this song capitalizes on that. I really love this song because of how deep it is, and it surely cannot be skipped!

There She Goes

To me, this whole album has a blues sound, though this song is the one exception. This right here is country fit for South Carolina, despite the scarcity of banjo. “Hey Buckshank, let’s go Gater hunting in the swamp while ma’ is making ice-ed tea.” It’s joyous, and it helps the listener to catch on to the fact that this album is a story. Everything before Forever Blue is buildup to a break up, Forever Blue is the breakup itself, and There She Goes is the aftermath. There She Goes achieves the uplifting sound it is trying to create. 

This song has a nice country sound to it, and I could easily find myself singing along to it. The lyrics are great as usual, and the music makes it better. I could also see this song being sung as a duet.

Goin’ Nowhere

Goin’ Nowhere is the middle finger of the album. Chris mans up and decides to bite back at this woman who has beaten him down. The music is strong, Chris’s vocals are top notch, and his confidence bursts through the track. “You’re the kind of a girl that looks better naked” is the lyric of the album. Goin’ Nowhere is hilarious and captivating.

We go from some sad blues to this song, which has an upbeat country sound. I can easily play this song for my family or friends, and we would all enjoy listening to it. I am glad there is a song like this on an album filled with sad slow songs, though nothing is wrong with those either. It’s a breath of fresh air.

Changed Your Mind

Changed Your Mind displays Chris’s strengths: guitar and vocals. The conservative drumming along with the calculated guitar and calm singing create an ambient track that is easy to enjoy. Chris’s howling is enjoyable as always, enhanced by the distant effect put on his voice. Changed Your Mind is a great track.

We go back to blues with Changed Your Mind, and it is yet another solid blues song. If I ever broke up with a girl and then she came back to me, this would be the first song I would play. If you are to do this, make sure you play the song when she is not near you and where she could not hear the song.

Shadows in a Mirror

Deep, is all I can say. Isaak details heartbreak well in his other songs, but Shadows in a Mirror takes the lyricism to a whole other level. His passionate singing and excellent guitar-work add to the intelligent lyrics, making Shadows in a Mirror a highlight of the album, undoubtedly. 

This song is the longest song on the album, and it is by far one of the deepest. The song title helps you to piece together what the song is about, which was much appreciated. It is deep and dark, and it showcases Chris’s vocals along with the blues elements I’ve come to enjoy. 

I Believe

I believe that Chris wrote this song while dancing around his room in his underpants . Not many albums tell a story as successfully as Forever Blue does, and this is the chapter where Isaak finds a shred of hope. I can’t take it seriously, however, and it’s my fault. Many parts of it remind me of Nice Peter’s picture songs, and that’s my brain’s fault. I don’t even follow the guy. I’ve just seen a few of those videos, and they seem to have made an impression in my head. I Believe is a swell track, just not for me.

I believe you will love this song and this album. To me it seems like this album is about break-ups. This song also goes along with that, but it is more about the post-breakup and how it is not all that bad. You can still enjoy your life without the stress of a relationship.

The End of Everything

The End of Everything. Isaak doesn’t say that it’s the end of the world, or the end of a bond, or the end of a relationship. It’s the end of EVERYTHING. This is a breakup song at its finest. In terms of the music, it’s fine. Better work was done in other places on the album, though this is a satisfying conclusion to this satisfying album.

If you could not tell by the title of this song, this is the last song on the album, and man is it sad. If I were to explain this song to someone I would say it is the Ultimate Break-Up Song. I can clearly tell this album is a break-up album, which is why it is rightfully named Forever Blue. Thank you again for reading yet another review and stay tuned for more!

My Top 3

Graduation Day

Shadows in a Mirror

Goin’ Nowhere

Rob’s Top 3

Graduation Day

Go Walking Down There

There She Goes

This is an album I am glad I discovered. Forever Blue is one of the most depressing albums out there, and it is absolutely worth a listen. This blue T-Bone is easy to the stomach despite its sad contents. Both the music and the vocals are largely well-done, and the story this album tells is cohesive and interesting. Chris Isaak has a quality album right here.  Thanks to Robby as always. These album reviews wouldn’t be possible without him.

~Juck

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One comment on “Chris Isaak Album Review: Forever Blue (1995)

  1. Pingback: Jack Johnson Album Review: In Between Dreams (2005) | GAMERSCENE.WORDPRESS.COM

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