2016 July

Post Pop Depression by Iggy Pop

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This week featuring the likely swan song from an artist I’m sure many thought would never still be around at this stage in his life…
 
Considered by many to be the godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop has been playing music for the past 50 years.  Born and raised in a trailer park in Michigan, Iggy (real name James Osterberg) was forming bands while he was still in high school.  He started off on the drums, playing in blues bands in Chicago after a stint at the Univ. of Michigan didn’t work out.  He then went back to Ann Arbor and formed a rock band, electing now to be the frontman instead of the drummer.  His inspirations included Jim Morrison and Lou Reed.  He was aiming for a band that was aggressive, sexually charged and repetitive.  He hooked up with two brothers and a bass player and they formed the Psychedelic Stooges (later shortened to just the Stooges).  Right around the same time, Osterberg changed his name to Iggy Pop.  Iggy gained a reputation for being crazed onstage, confronting the audience and working himself into such a frenzy that he was usually bleeding by the end of the night from various cuts and scratches.    The band released two albums, a S/T one and “Fun House” but they sold so poorly (plus there were drug issues) that the band was dropped by their label.  Ironically both albums have now become classics and were massive catalysts for what became punk rock.
 
David Bowie, who was a fan, ended up tracking down Iggy Pop and convinced the now clean and sober singer to restart his career.  He relocated to England, paired up with a second guitarist the Stooges had enlisted and signed with Bowie’s management company.  They then reunited with the Asheton brothers and the Stooges were back in business.  They signed with Columbia and released “Raw Power”.  Pop’s goal for this record was for it to be so brutal and powerful it would physically hurt the listener as it played.  Bowie produced and the album was another commercial flop.  The band went back heavy into drugs and broke up for a second time.  Iggy was homeless at one point on the streets of Hollywood.  He later checked into a psychiatric hospital and started writing some music while he was there.  Bowie came and visited him and offered to take Pop out on the road with him to support Bowie’s new album.  They moved to Berlin together and Bowie helped Pop get a solo record deal.  Bowie helped write and produce “The Idiot” and “Lust For Life” for Pop, which sold better than any of the Stooges’ albums.  This led to a long solo career, with many ups and downs along the way. 
 
After 30 years had passed since the Stooges were together and many bands had cited them as an influence since then, Pop brought the band back together in 2003 to record some songs on his current album and do some touring as the Stooges.  In 2010, Iggy and the Stooges were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and did some touring during that timeframe.  After the second member of the Stooges died in 2014, that closed the final chapter on the Stooges.  That brings us to 2016 when Iggy Pop has now released possibly his final album, “Post Pop Depression”.  The unique thing about this album, other than it probably being the last of a very long and storied career, is that he co-wrote it with Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), with help from Dean Fertita (QOTSA, the Dead Weather) and Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys drummer).  They recorded the album in secret and funded it independently, so it was a complete surprise when it was announced to the public in January.  The album came out last week and it’s a solid effort.  If you like Pop, Homme or QOTSA, there’s plenty to enjoy about “Post Pop Depression”.  I’ve included the first two tracks from the album down below to check out.
 
“Break Into Your Heart” – You’ll get a good idea of Pop’s current vocal style, which is obviously very different from his Stooges days.  Keep in mind he’s 68, and it’s been a HARD 68 years.  It’s kind of a talking/singing voice, but Iggy make’s the most of it.  And actually, his vocal style worksextremely well with the type of music Homme tends to write.  This was actually a surprisingly good pairing.  The end of the song is particularly interesting when it slows down and really focuses on Pop’s voice.    This track could have easily been a B-side from the most recent QOTSA album.

 
“Gardenia” – This track probably has the biggest commercial potential.  Very catchy chorus and again, very well-suited for Pop’s vocals.  The bouncing bass line drives the song forward, while Pop “speaks” his vocals in between the music.