Iggy Pop Post Pop Depression Loma Vista
Propelled by intoxicants, rebellion and libido, Iggy Pop has toplessly snaked a lubricious path through four decades, establishing himself as the very personification of rock ‘n’ roll’s rebellious urges. As the voice of The Stooges, then solo, Pop made seminal records in the late 1960s and 70s, and arguably a couple more beyond. But his output has been chequered, and he hasn’t released strong work for years.
Now, as he approaches his seventies, Pop reviews it all on this introspective collaboration with Josh Homme. Why the Elder Statesman stuff now? Doesn’t that seem a little incongruous for the self-styled Godfather of Punk? He’s said, harshly, that this album happened because he realised he’d ‘outlived’ his ‘utility’. But maybe the title of The Stooges’s last album – Ready to Die – gave it away already. This might well be Pop’s swansong.
Death looms large in the context of this album. The world is still mourning the loss of Pop’s close friend and collaborator David Bowie, and, not too long ago, their mutual friend Lou Reed passed away. Homme, on the other hand, has said the album was helpful when coming to terms with the Paris attacks at the Bataclan last year. On American Valhalla, Pop addresses the subject explicitly: “Death is a pill that’s hard to swallow”, candidly expressing the fear of mortality common to many of us. Indeed, Homme’s influence is clear throughout, but it’s most discernible on Break Into Your Heart. Creepy, dark and buttressed by brooding guitars, it bears all the hallmarks of Homme’s bleak brand of gothic Americana. Sunday is another highlight, drawing on the Herculean drug habit of Pop’s most notorious phases for its lyrical content. But there’s also a silliness that’s all Pop’s own.
For most of Post Pop Depression, the music rarely goes beyond straightforward, restrained rock production. So if you were hoping that Pop would attempt to muster up one last Search & Destroy, you’ll be left unsatisfied. Better to approach this record as a well-pitched resignation letter from a class act.