In March 2016 Iggy Pop released Post Pop Depression, his seventeenth solo record and possibly his most commercial album since Lust for Life almost 40 years ago. It’s my pick for album of the year; and here’s why.
Iggy Pop, one of the pioneers of punk, has drawn on modern indie to shape this melancholic masterpiece. He sought out Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, Artic Monkeys’ drummer Matt Helders and QOTSA guitarist Dean Fertita to turn back the clock to the halcyon days of Lust for Life and The Idiot, co-written the late great David Bowie.
Homme’s impact on the album is clear: he channels his inner Bowie to provide brilliant melodies and backing vocals, judiciously juxtaposed with Iggy’s snarly but poetic lyrics. The combination of rough and smooth is evident in ‘Gardenia’, the first track to be released as a single, with Iggy talking sex in a typically blunt way and Homme’s vocals a delicate delight.
Besides sex, there’s death, with old-man Iggy keen to document his fears of the inevitable. ‘Break Into Your Heart’ is haunted by death as Iggy declares “Time is so tight, it’s closing in.” Likewise, in ‘American Valhalla’, death is “a pill that’s hard to swallow”.
‘Sunday’ sounds every inch The Ig – heavier, punkier, but with echoes of AN, it also bears the Arctic Monkeys hallmark.
Iggy comes into his own in the closing tracks; the explosive ‘Paraguay’ makes for a fantastic finale. With brutal lyrics, e.g. “fucking phoney two faced phoney two faced three timing piece of turd”, Iggy manages to be menacing and funny at the same time.
Post Pop Depression shows that after almost half a century in the music industry, Iggy Pop still has what it takes to captivate an audience. The collaboration with Helders and Homme is a masterstroke. Who’s next, many of us have been wondering. True to form, the icon of deadpan isn’t giving anything away about next year’s release.