When my sister and I saw “Wild at Heart” in a movie theater, I became fixated on the song playing during a scene that, if I remember correctly, involved a car accident. I don’t recall the scene so well because I leaned over to Sis and asked if she knew what the song was. She didn’t, and I was like a deer in headlights until the day I figured out what it was and brought home my own copy of the album. For months, I would stroke the cover as I played it in head phones while drifting off to sleep. I may have whispered, “My Precious,” on occasion.
I like a lot of Chris Isaak’s music, but I will always think of “Wicked Game” as a classic. It’s coming with me to that desert island if anyone makes me go. Especially if I’m not allowed to bring a man.
I’ve always thought the day my ears were assaulted by a punk version of it — spit out at me through a boutique’s speakers before I could get away — was a low point for music. (And I don’t hate punk rock; sometimes I like it very loud.) But now I’m reeling from Il Divo’s version (I can’t even believe I have their first album… ) on the Tonight show (which I’ve vowed never to watch on principle, but tonight I was too busy to change the channel) butchering this song as if the hairs on their heads were being ripped out as they sang.
Someone had arranged the music as if all our lives depended on my dictionary’s second definition of overwrought being completely understood. Right now.
Instead of leaving one of the world’s most perfect make-out songs to do its gloriously dirty work, they made my hands stop on the keyboard, my face cringe, and a certain part of me that has always been very open to this song, scream out, “No, no, no!”
All right. I think I’m done now. I’ve exhausted the immediate ways I can think of to insult Il Divo. I wish I had more. They deserve it. I can take my opera on the slightly overwrought side — my palate isn’t so sophisticated on that plane, and isn’t opera supposed to be that way anyhow? But if you go messing around with my make-out music, I ain’t gonna treat you nice.
I think it was Herb Ritts who blessed us with glorious images of Chris in the official video. For the uninitiated or anyone needing a little pick-me-up, here it is: