1001 Songs Challenge #707: Wicked Game (1989)
On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Chris Isaak – Wicked Game (1989)
” Wicked Game” is a song by American rock musician Chris Isaak, released from his third studio album Heart Shaped World (1989). Despite being released as a single in 1989, it did not become a hit until it was featured in the 1990 David Lynch film Wild at Heart .
Welcome to 1989, dear reader. We ended 1988 in the UK and we are beginning 1989 in the US because that is how we roll. Once we reach the US we head on over to California for our latest guest on this list. Chris Isaak began his career in 1980 and specialised in rock as well as rock and roll. It’s now 1989 and Isaak has released his third album, Heart Shaped World, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Wicked Game.
Wicked Game comes across as a song about bittersweet love and pain and the general mood of the piece only enhances that feeling. However, Isaak himself said the track was inspired by a late night call from a girl who wanted to come over and “talk” with him. Those inverted commas are deliberate, of course, and fall under the same umbrella as someone inviting you in for a “coffee”. With that in mind, the song becomes more about indulging oneself with another but the “wicked game” element suggests that this may not be the best idea. As pleasant as the night may be, you get the impression that the morning after is going to be awkward.
I am not alone I am sure in having heard of this song and heard it many times but not being able to name any other tracks by Chris Isaak. He has had a good career including 12 albums but it is Wicked Game that remains his signature piece. Strangely enough, the song did not fare well in 1989 but was used in David Lynch’s 1990 film, Wild at Heart. By 1991 the song had gained traction on the radio and climbed into the US Top 10. Isaak is still performing to this day and has also branched out into acting. Now, that is just showing off.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)
The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)