365 Days of Music: Day 196

Serendipity: I’m responsible for nineteen of the twenty top-grossing films of all time.
Bethany: Nineteen?
Serendipity: Yeah, the one about the kid, by himself in his house, burglars trying to get in and he fights them off? I had nothing to do with that one. Somebody sold their soul to Satan to get the grosses up on that piece of shit.

Dogma (Kevin Smith)

Serendipity: I’m responsible for nineteen of the twenty top-grossing films of all time.
Bethany: Nineteen?
Serendipity: Yeah, the one about the kid, by himself in his house, burglars trying to get in and he fights them off? I had nothing to do with that one. Somebody sold their soul to Satan to get the grosses up on that piece of shit.

Wicked Game is proof positive that Chris Isaak sold his soul to the devil.

Think about this, for just a moment:  who had any clue of Chris Isaak before this song, despite it being his third album?  The album Heart Shaped World was released in 1989, with no real success.  It took the use of an instrumental version of  this song in David Lynch’s Wild At Heart in 1990, and, in turn, a rabid Lynch fan named Lee Chestnut blasting the original version on the station he worked for in Atlanta for it to see radio play.  Then, it somehow managed to chart for 24 weeks on the Billboard 100, peaking at number 6 in January of 1991, remaining the only song of his throughout that and his subsequent ten albums to be a top ten single in the United States for Issak.

There’s a quote that my boyfriend bastardizes from the TV series Flight of the Conchords that notes that all women love men in kilts, Southern Comfort and Wicked Game.  Now, I’m not impressed by the first two, and can find many women who’ll agree with me.  But every damn woman loves Wicked Game.  Even men like the song, if only for the incredible electric guitar line that adds its haunting edge, or wanting to spank it to Helena Christensen in the video.

What the hell is with this song?

Chris Isaak croons, but it’s very much like Roy Orbison; therefore, it’s not a unique voice.  It’s a smoldering love song, true, but I know plenty of those as well.  There’s no other way to explain a song with so much obscurity suddenly launching, nor can I explain Chris then landing a TV series playing a rough cariacture of himself, nor the numerous albums he’s released since, much to my surprise.

He sold his soul for a single hit, and lives modestly off the resulting career.  I’m sure of it.  There’s voodoo in it.  Play it backwards, and I wonder what we’d find…

In any case, yes, yes, it’s a sexy song and I enjoy it.  But seriously:  I’m right, aren’t I?

Day 196:  Wicked Game – Chris Isaak


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