Release Date: Mar 18, 2016
Record label: Loma Vista Recordings
Genre(s): Punk, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Album Rock, Hard Rock, Detroit Rock, Proto-Punk
A few people have noted how strange it is that of the Trinity of Bowie, Reed and Iggy Pop, Pop has outlived the others -- the most spontaneous and purely self-destructive of all frontmen is still alive and well, if marked with scars and remnants of wounds. But then the former James Osterberg has always been a survivor, a fighter. The cover of A Million In Prizes showed Iggy with his hands wrapped in dirty tape, ready for a match, and it made complete sense.
Iggy Pop’s advancing years have failed to have a stultifying effect on his productivity over the past decade – between his own work and that with both temporarily revived iterations of The Stooges, this record is now his fifth in ten years – but it’s been a good long while since the man's new work was met with this kind of clamour. You’d have to assume the reasons for this are threefold; one, he’s drafted in Josh Homme and his Queens of the Stone Age associate Dean Fertita, as well as Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders, to serve as his backing band; Homme also sat behind the production desk and co-wrote several songs, bringing in his own ideas and melding them with Pop’s. Self-financed and free of external pressures, the album announcement came out of nowhere; reason number two for the flurry of excitement around its release.
There’s a famous early-Seventies Mick Rock photo of Iggy Pop – wild-eyed in a T. Rex -T-shirt, a pack of Lucky Strikes clamped between his teeth – with his arms around David Bowie and Lou Reed: together, the troika who smacked rock & roll out of its hippie daze and into scarier, more thrilling territory. That Iggy, who once performed blood-soaked after rolling in broken glass and indulged in numerous unhealthy appetites, would be the last man standing of the group seemed inconceivable at the time.
Fate has a way of putting things into an interesting context. When it was announced that Iggy Pop would be collaborating with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, the music press buzzed with anticipation about the project. What would the proto-punk icon and the snarky hard rock smart guy come up with? The surprise answer is, in many respects, 2016's Post Pop Depression, an unwitting but loving tribute to Pop's friend and collaborator David Bowie.
Every good rock'n'roller knows the best music has a bit of mystery to it. So when Iggy Pop unexpectedly announced the arrival of his first solo effort in four years in a surprise New York Times article and on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert this past January — and that the album had already been completed, was self-financed in secret and recorded and co-written by Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme — not only did the 68-year-old proto punk icon prove he still had a few tricks up his sleeve, but that he has impeccable taste and timing, as well. Post Pop Depression comes mere months after the music world lost two of its most seemingly immortal figures (David Bowie and Lemmy Kilmister); it's an album rock'n'roll lovers didn't know they wanted, but no doubt need.
Iggy Pop is an artist who’s always cast a big shadow. His influence is central to the rise of punk rock and he pioneered a kind of performance as startling in its masochism as it was enjoyable in its spontaneity. Besides his landmark output with The Stooges, two of rock’s greatest albums ever, The Idiot and Lust for Life, also bear his name. It’s funny then that Post Pop Depression is an album in which Iggy allows himself to walk in shadows, rather than cast a bold new shadow of his own.
Whelp, this is it. If we’re to believe the man himself, Post Pop Depression is Iggy Pop’s last romp through the rock and roll mire. That fact stings, but there’s a healthy amount of reality behind the King Stooge’s announcement. At 68, Iggy hasn’t just turned over every possible stone, he’s decimated them all into a thousand pieces.
It’s quite remarkable to think that almost forty years have passed since Iggy Pop released his first two solo albums, 1977’s The Idiot and Lust For Life. Following the first breakup of influential proto-punks The Stooges, Iggy went in search of creative freedom and found it in his collaborations with David Bowie. Both LPs subsequently went on to receive widespread critical acclaim, with Lust For Life spawning hits in its iconic title track and The Passenger.
Asked recently by Internet radio station Beat 1 about his plans following the release of his latest album, Post Pop Depression, Iggy Pop answered plaintively: “I feel like I'm closing up after this.” We should all step back and marvel that Iggy miraculously managed to live past 1973, much less to retirement age, which is proof of divine intervention if there ever was any. But his statement isn't all that surprising. After all, his most recent effort with the Stooges was titled Ready to Die, the cover art of which featured the eternally shirtless, stringy-haired rabble-rouser strapped into a suicide vest.
In June of 1977, Iggy Pop appeared on Dinah Shore’s morning variety show, ostensibly to promote his debut solo album, The Idiot, with its producer—David Bowie—in tow to provide moral support. Instead, what transpired was almost an intervention, with Shore expressing quaint maternal concern for Iggy’s troubling behaviour, which included (but wasn’t limited to) chest-slashing and abandoning teenage groupies at airports. He may go down in history as the patriarch of punk and one of rock’s greatest provocateurs, but Pop's most subversive quality has always been his ability to charm the squares—after all, this is a guy whose songs have been covered by G.G.
Iggy Pop's craggy visage and road-worn physique is "central to an understanding of rock music and its place within American culture," artist Jeremy Deller recently said, explaining Pop's turn as a nude model for an upcoming exhibit. "His body has witnessed much and should be documented." While there is some implication there that Iggy Pop, at 68 years old, is more interesting as a museum piece than as a living, breathing artist, Post Pop Depression's best moments argue in favor of his continued relevance. .
Rock beasts rarely come as urbane as Iggy Pop (68) and Josh Homme (42), producer of Pop’s 23rd record – his last major outing, Pop avers. Sure, Iggy invented punk in the late 60s, strutting and fretting over the brutalist guitar shapes of the Stooges, slashing his chest and ingesting more drugs than anyone bar Keith Richards. But you only need to tune into his 6 Music show to understand there is more to the man born James Osterberg than dissolute sinew, exposed in all weather.
Secret projects are fun. In movies, they hide superhero gangs; in real life, it’s supergroups. In this case, it’s the new Iggy Pop album, which just so happens to feature Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, with QOTSA’s Dean Fertita and Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders thrown in the mix for good measure. Tipped by the former pair to perhaps partner 1977’s ‘Lust For Life’, if not work as a sequel, the album doesn’t quite pack the immediate finger-snapping punch of the former’s title-track.
Iggy Pop has said Post Pop Depression is to be his final album. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but it feels like an odd note to go out on. There isn’t an air of finality or grand statement about it – either of his French-themed albums, Préliminaires or Aprés, would have seemed a more fitting end. Instead there’s a sense of stepping slightly off to the side.
It’s absurd to cavil about the loss of Iggy Pop’s “rawness.” Whatever you wanted from him, you either got in 1969 (okayyyy), or 1973, or 1977, or you decided to keep listening. Has he made another album as good as his first five? No, but 2013’s Scott Asheton reunion Ready to Die (billed as the Stooges, because nothing means anything) was as good as any other meat he’s thrown us over the last 39 years, and few rock stars can say they’ve had as much fun across the past four straight decades. Among Pop’s duet partners were the long-missed Jemina Pearl, B-52s’ up-for-anything Kate Pierson, the not-always-forgettable Sum 41, and Kesha — imagine Dr.
“I feel like I’m closing up after this,” says 68-year-old Iggy Pop of ‘Post Pop Depression’, his collaboration album with Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders and LA multi-instrumentalist Dean Fertita. Does that mean it’s his last ever release? Well…probably not. But almost certainly, this album marks the closing of the last great chapter in Iggy’s musical life – ‘The Stooges’, ‘The Idiot’, ‘Lust For Life’, ‘The Passenger’ and some of the most iconic performances in rock history – as we know it.Pop sought out Homme after the two met awkwardly at the Kerrang! Awards some years ago, thinking he’d be a good writing partner and vibesman for his last roll of the dice.
Iggy’s undiminshed lust for life shines through on this stellar late-career highlight. Perhaps it was Iggy’s friend and bête noire David Bowie who first convincingly demonstrated that a long musical life could feature something other than a sequence of diminishing returns. ADVERTISINGinRead invented by Teads It’s therefore all the more heartwarming that with David Jones having recently departed the planet, James Newell Osterberg has delivered a near-masterpiece that ranks as his best work in decades, evoking the glory days of Detroit and Berlin, without being in thrall to either.
Becoming an elder statesman of any genre predicated on rebellion is a dicey proposition: Enshrined by institutions like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and feted by best-of-all-time lists, one can easily rest on one’s laurels. Thankfully, the 17th solo album by punk-rock lifer Iggy Pop coolly smashes that paradigm; it’s a stark, sinewy affair that foregrounds the punk-rock lifer’s voice, a finely weathered instrument, all knowing vibrato and bemused sneering. Produced by Josh Homme, who in recent years has been honing rock to its essentials with Queens of the Stone Age, “Post Pop Depression” is all minor keys and stark imagery; guitar squeals grow like weeds from dusty ground on “In the Lobby,” while the stripped-down “Vulture” animates its chilling tale with bells and cello before ending with Pop’s weary moan.
One problem with being a legend is the weight that comes with being legendary. As Iggy Pop pointed out in a recent interview, the loftier your standing, the less likely it is that anyone's going to challenge you. All you need to do is turn up and offer an inevitably diluted version of what made you famous in the first place, which handily explains oceans of sub-standard product from Giants of Rock of a certain vintage.The man formerly known as James Osterberg should know what he's on about.
Iggy Pop is a musical workhorse. He’s released 23 full-length studio albums from 1969 to 2016, and his performative exploits—like self-mutilation, caterwauling screams, and eschewing all manner of T-shirt in favor of bare-chested glory—make him a bonafide legend of punk. Iggy Pop has always pointed a towering middle-finger at the squeamish, and with his band The Stooges, existed as a stubborn champion of rebellion for 47 years.
On his first solo album, "The Idiot," in 1977, Iggy Pop sang about the demise of his former band, the hugely influential yet tragically misunderstood Stooges. The song was called "Dum Dum Boys," and Pop included himself as among the near-casualties, the one who'd "gone straight" in an attempt to pull out of the nosedive. Now, on what he has hinted will be his final album, "Post Pop Depression" (Loma Vista), Pop looks back on an up-and-down life with a mix of melancholy and anger, regret and humor, the near-casualty who somehow kept himself afloat.
Supposedly, Post-Pop Depression will be its Stooge's last disc. If so, Iggy Pop's adieu doesn't go out in a blaze of blitzkrieging punk, but rather adopts a subtler, rhythmically diverse attack reminiscent of his earliest solo work and specifically 1977 twofer The Idiot and Lust for Life. QOTSA commander Josh Homme (guitar), Dean Fertita (bass), and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders help update those albums' Berlin atmosphere and David Bowie's production deftly.
If Iggy Pop is as sick of the world as he appears to be on Paraguay, the scathing closer to his 17th studio album, it’s hard to feel sorry for him. “I’m goin’ where sore losers go,” he croons into a galloping drum beat, “to hide my face and spend my dough.” As he makes clear, it’s only a dream, but he could do it. That arch yet honest sentiment is typical of Post Pop Depression, a caustic kiss-off of an album that’s being hyped as (potentially) his last.
On their ninth album Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future, Underworld have made some of their most vital work without compromising any of the aspects of their sound that a modern audience might scan as dated. All of these songs sound like they could have been made in 1997, perhaps even earlier. The drum sounds haven’t been in vogue since the first Clinton administration, and Karl Hyde—who spends most of this record speaking rather than singing—sounds like every cartoon of the aging British raver still prattling on about wankers and acid.