Music legends are falling one after the other. In the last few months, we have said fairwell to Scott Weiland (48 years old) Lemmy (70), Bowie (69), Glenn Frey (67) and Prince (57) and Lonnie Mack (74) just a few days ago among others, but, against all odds, Iggy Pop has celebrated his 69th birthday, still touring bare chest, showing no signs of slowing down. Let’s hope The Iguane – like Keef – can keep it up for a long time, even though his body has had more tha his share of chemicals.

Iggy Pop’s career has had highs and lows. He was brought back to life in the late 70s by his pal David Bowie who penned him a few great songs (China Girl was initially sung by Pop in 1977 before Bowie made a major hit out of it in ’83) and produced a few great albums. Pop wandered through the years, with some great moments (“American Caesar” in 1993), solid albums (“Brick by Brick” in 1990) and some stranger things (a poetry album with Tarwater (2014) and French pop cover songs “Après” (2012) where he sang Joe Dassin and Edith Piaf’s classic songs.

iggy pop chicago

Art by Jermaine Rogers

A few months ago, Iggy Pop teamed up with Queens of the Stone Age leader Josh Homme and guitarist Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age), Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) et Matt Sweeney (Chavez). They began to jam and write songs, creating a major rock album, “Post Pop Depression”. Honestly, I haven’t heard Iggy Pop sing as good as on this album, even getting close to Bowie’s range on some occasions. On the Gardenia single – one of the great songs in there – you really can confuse one with the other. It’s amazing!

iggy pop josh homme

“Post Pop Depression” is filled with excellent songs. America Valhalla, with its Chinese-type melody mixed with fuzz heavy bass offers quality rock that makes Pop’s voice shine. He doesn’t need to scream to dominate the music, every element is carefully balanced. You know you’re listening to a great song when your ear finds new captivating elements to listen to at every other session. The first time you might notice the drums, the next, the bass line, the next, how the guitars pick up the theme during the chorus, and so on.

In the Lobby is another strong song, where the two Queens of the Stone Age guitarists double their efforts. Again, Pop’s voice on the chorus is reminiscent of Bowie’s. You almost want to check the credits to make sure The Think White Duke hasn’t recorded vocals for his buddy before passing away. Let’s not underestimate Iggy Pop’s vocal abilities. The guy can sing.

Sunday is a typical American rock song on which Iggy takes a more social or political angle, while wishing for days like Sunday where he doesn’t haven’t to move. Vulture starts stripped down with Homme’s acoustic guitar before the rest of the band joins in a Bad Seeds way.

 

German Days starts with a cool rock riff, before complerely switching mode. Iggy sings very low, very slow, while guitars seem to want to jump in the action. Then, in another sudden change of style, another Bowie influenced moment, when Pop deploys his voice to higher scales, with a lot of grace and panache.

Way smoother, Chocolate Drops is based on four piano chords, fuzzy bass and lighter beat. Iggy Pop wants to sound reassuring for tougher days. Life lessons from a guy who’s been near the top and close to the bottom.

Born in 1947 in Michigan, James Newell Osterberg Jr is of English and Irish descent on his father’s side, and Norwegian and Danish ancestry on his mother’s side. He started as a drummer in high school bands and moved to Chicago after dropping out of university to learn the blues. After seeing The Doors live in 1967, he formed the Psychedelic Stooges with him handling vocals, Ron Asheton on guitar (died in 2009), Asheton’s brother Scott on drums (died in 2014), and Dave Alexander on bass (died in 1975). The Stooges are considered as one of the most influencial punk bands, along with The Ramones and MC5.

After the Stooges disbanded, Iggy had drug use problems. Bowie took him under his wing during the mid-seventies, bringing him to his most acclaimed albums “The Idiot” and “Lust for Life” which included his well-known hit The Passenger. Its inclusion in cult drug movie Trainspotting in 1996 contributed in Iggy Pop reaching younger fans.

Post-Pop-Depression-crop

IGGY POP
Post Pop Depression
(Loma Vista Records, 2016)

-Genre : rock

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier
Fondateur et rédacteur en chef
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Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 4 500 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Nicolas a publié "Les perles rares et les grands crus de la musique" en janvier 2013, un ouvrage de 1250 pages en deux tomes.