We gave it a C
Chris Isaak is such a patently world-class star-quality package — great songs (twangy minor-key rockabilly laments from a condo at Heartbreak Hotel), great voice (Roy Orbison redux), great teen-idol looks (as if Elvis Presley and Chet Baker had gone through a cross-transformation machine) — that his five-years-in-the-making fluke ”overnight” success has got to stand as the best example of record company ineptitude in history. Like Warner couldn’t sell this guy until now? Sheesh. In any case, estimable as Isaak is — and make no mistake about it, he’s an authentic rock original — this new five-song video collection, Chris Isaak: Wicked Game doesn’t remotely do him justice. In fact, most of these clips, exemplified by fashion veteran Herb Ritts’ beach-romp visualization of the title tune, are simply beefcake ephemera, blurring the remaining distinctions between what you see on MTV and a designer jeans ad; only ”Blue Hotel,” the closest thing to a straight performance piece here, makes Isaak and his crack band seem as special as they are. In short, this is a pinup poster with moving images; buy the guy’s CDs instead.