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Speak of the Devil

80 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 22, 1998
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Speak of the Devil + Forever Blue + Baja Sessions
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Isaak,Chris ~ Speak Of The Devil

Amazon.com

Chris Isaak rocks? Indeed. Granted, the crooner's latest is no noisy, post-grunge Nirvana (though the chord progression of the opener, "Please," recalls Kurt Cobain's "Heart-Shaped Box"), but Devil does find Isaak loosening up. His gut-busting vocals on the free-for-all title track are as near to reckless as we're ever going to hear him. He's also toughening up, growling around his lower register in the death-inflected "Black Flowers." The backing band Silvertone kicks up its heels as well, most infectiously on the gleefully two-steppin' "I'm Not Sleepy." Of course, Isaak's signature shivery, quivering, and wistful ballads remain. And the singer still has a winning way with an unshakable melody. Armed with guitarist Hershel Yatovitz's poignant picking, only Isaak could turn a tired platitude like "Don't Get So Down on Yourself" into a true tearjerker. --Sue VanHecke

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 22, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reprise / Wea
  • ASIN: B00000AG8O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,944 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Mr. Isaak has a way with everything he does.... the simple bitter melody about broken hearts and lost love... low key rock 'n' roll songs... and voice that's surely has thousands of female fans swooning!
And this record is his best yet... "Please" is a frantic song with the "light and shade" musical treatment that sounds better every time you listen to it. Flying is another amazing song which has this really cool intro.
And the rest of the record never lets up.... Walk Slow, Speak of the Devil, Breaking Apart..... they are all great songs that maintain the quality and the integrity of this CD right till the last notes of Super Magic 2000.
Full marks to Chris and his band for creating a bit of magic on this great record.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tim Brough VINE VOICE on October 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
You could tell that there was something cooking in the Chris Isaak camp when you took a look at the production credits for "Speak Of The Devil." Although longtime associate Erik Jacobsen is still the knob twiddler for the majority of the CD, Isaak also self or co-produced seven of the 14 songs here. There's also the presence of Rob Cavallo, who, as the man behind the boards for Green Day, gave the world "Dookie." Even weirder, Cavallo produced the BALLAD!

So the more things change, the more "Speak Of The Devil" sounds the same. Minor key misery is still the mainstay, spiced with a few blasts from the reverb heavy retro rock Isaak frequently favors. There's even an Elvis come-on with "Please," a one sided plea for Isaak's love to explain things in a crumbling relationship. But is there an answer? Not on your heart shaped world, baby. Almost as flawless is "Breaking Apart," co-produced by Cavallo and co-written with hit maestro Diane Warren. Although it treads dangerously close to formula, it was the album's obvious shot at a hit. That is, before "Eyes Wide Shut" broke "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" from the almost 4 year old "Forever Blue." Fate is a funny thing....

Even if "Speak Of The Devil" got sideswiped by the older song, you should still seek this set out. You can hear Isaak try to push his envelope, be it the near grungey guitars on "Please," the more prominent synths on "I'm Not Sleepy" or the fact that he can make a worn phrase like "Don't Get So Down On Yourself" sound like heartbreak mantra. He even drops the loser in love persona to sing praises of settling down in "Talking Bout a Home." Then, to top it all off, there is the terrific space-spy-surf instra-mental millennium harbinger of "Super Magic 2000" to warp the album to a close. "Speak Of The Devil" flirts with the danger of breaking the mold, and Isaak makes it work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By DreamFrame@aol.com on December 29, 1998
Format: Audio CD
After Baja Sessions, I thought that there would be little left to say for Chris Isaak, and boy was I pleased to be wrong. Speak of the Devil is marvelous!!! In this album, Isaak has moved from the haunting songs of Forever Blue and the sweet island sounds of Baja Sessions to a combination of flare, passion, and tranquilty in his music.
I find that when I listen to "Wanderin'" or "Like the Way She Moves", I'm dancing in my chair. But quickly, I come back down to the sadness of "Breaking Apart" and "Don't Get So Down on Yourself". The album can be described as emotionally packed. Packed to the brim.
As a woman, when I hear Chris Isaak sing, I am both disturbed by the anger with which he describes broken trusts, and moved by the sweet way that he can seduce and charm with the lilting of his voice. Either way, with whatever perception, I am affected deeply. Speak of the Devil is no exception. It's the rule.
"I believed you when you said you would be mine." "Please, your killing me." "Are you on my mind, everyday, all the time?" "I cry in my sleep at night. I'm breaking apart, without you."
Where do I get a Chris Isaak of my own? Oh well. I guess that I will have to just settle for the CD.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Will Errickson on February 20, 1999
Format: Audio CD
If the Devil could sing, he'd want to sound like Chris Isaak. What an instrument! Another terrific album from (and for) the eternally heartbroken. while not quite u to his masterpiece, "Forever Blue," "Devil" has some finely wrought, top-notch songs. The opener, "Please," rocks with anxiety and desire and a quiet desperation... I'm digging his double-tracked vocals on "Walk Slow"; the deliciously creepy "Black Flowers" is one of his best songs ever, dark and unsettling and with a strange backward mix; the beautiful "Don't Get So Down on Yourself".... but my favorite song is the gorgeous, aching, dreamy "Breaking Apart" (who's the woman singing back-up? Ouch) It chills me to hear, "I don't want to sleep without you/ Dreams don't mean a thing without you...." He gets the best mileage out of failed romance, and I for one will buy anything he does. Unfortunately, Chris Isaak's broken heart is music to our ears.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tim Brough VINE VOICE on October 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
You could tell that there was something cooking in the Chris Isaak camp when you took a look at the production credits for "Speak Of The Devil." Although longtime associate Erik Jacobsen is still the knob twiddler for the majority of the CD, Isaak also self or co-produced seven of the 14 songs here. There's also the presence of Rob Cavallo, who, as the man behind the boards for Green Day, gave the world "Dookie." Even weirder, Cavallo produced the BALLAD!

So the more things change, the more "Speak Of The Devil" sounds the same. Minor key misery is still the mainstay, spiced with a few blasts from the reverb heavy retro rock Isaak frequently favors. There's even an Elvis come-on with "Please," a one sided plea for Isaak's love to explain things in a crumbling relationship. But is there an answer? Not on your heart shaped world, baby. Almost as flawless is "Breaking Apart," co-produced by Cavallo and co-written with hit maestro Diane Warren. Although it treads dangerously close to formula, it was the album's obvious shot at a hit. That is, before "Eyes Wide Shut" broke "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" from the almost 4 year old "Forever Blue." So somewhere, a smart exec added the radio remix (substantially different from the album version) of that song to this version of "Speak Of The Devil." Fate is a funny thing....

Even if "Speak Of The Devil" got sideswiped by the older song, you should still seek this set out. You can hear Isaak try to push his envelope, be it the near grungey guitars on "Please," the more prominent synths on "I'm Not Sleepy" or the fact that he can make a worn phrase like "Don't Get So Down On Yourself" sound like heartbreak mantra. He even drops the loser in love persona to sing praises of settling down in "Talking Bout a Home.
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