100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #33 Chris Isaak – Wicked Game

Released : 1989

Initially buried on Heart Shaped World, Wicked Game created not much more than a ripple on it’s release, joining what was by now an extensive collection of lost loves, broken hearts, endless blacktop and crepuscular loneliness in Chris Isaak’s obsessive world. Originally written about a lover who had bitten both the snake and the apple, it might have lain there forever, gathering dust amongst the silent motel rooms of his mind.

Then David Lynch called. He and Isaak were already acquainted as the maverick producer had used his work before, but Lynch’s next cinematic project Wild At Heart was to be one of his most ambitious, with an all star alternative cast and a blackly comedic take on the American dream. He needed another song.

Along with a From Here to Eternity aping video featuring the singer and super model Helena Christensen, the prominence Wicked Game attracted as a result of being featured on the film’s soundtrack helped it strike a chord with the public unlike any of his previous music; lush and dark, the tremelo guitar line gave it a romantically nostalgic sheen and the chastised, whispered lyrics were those of a dead man walking. Now, for the first time in his career there was smoke – and fire.