The year is 1967 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a band known as The Stooges was formed by James Newell Osterberg, Jr. Five albums with this band and 16 solo releases later, Iggy Pop has triumphantly careered into his 17th solo effort, Post Pop Depression. On this new record, he has worked with Josh Homme and Dean Fertita of Queens Of The Stone age, with Matt Helders of Arctic Monkeys providing percussion. Pop met Homme at a Kerrang Awards several years ago and following three months of varying correspondence – including text messages, poetry, vague song ideas and anecdotes from Iggy’s time working with David Bowie, in January of 2015 Pop turned up at Homme’s home, unannounced and they embarked on a trip to Joshua Tree, California, where their collaborative effort would be recorded. The album was financed by both Pop and Homme as it was recorded in secret.
Pop’s trademark baritone begins proceedings, pop declaring “I’m gonna break into your heart // I’m gonna crawl under your skin”, a melodious opener promising a record characteristic of the man known for his wild stage antics. Into the second song, ‘Gardenia’, the themes of the album – sex and mortality – become apparent, underlined by an irascible distaste for modern culture. This track is almost a tribute to the late great David Bowie, with the chords reminiscent of his work in the early 1970s. The influence of Bowie is hardly surprising given that his two most successful solo albums, The Idiot and Lust For Life were both written and produced with his assistance.
Whatever his grievances are, there is no doubt that this record is an outstanding piece, a testament to a career longer and more successful than many musicians could ever hope for.
As the album progresses, Pop decides to deal with his legacy, both musical and personal. In one instance he growls “I’ve nothing but my name”, a sinister reflection, perhaps, on what he will leave behind in the rock world. A more cheerful turn is taken here, with ‘In The Lobby’ serving as a reminder that this record is not all about Iggy. Punchy guitar riffs are evidence that Homme is equally as talented as Pop in his respective area. The track crescendo’s and melts into what is the centrepiece of the album, ‘Sunday’. A 6-minute sprawler, this showcases the individual talents of all involved – Pop’s vocals more diverse than usual and complemented by Homme’s own voice, backed up by varied drumming from Helders. The guitar here is outstanding and this is no doubt assisted by Dean Fertita. Session vocals give a more mellow, poppy sound, pleasingly contrasted with the always snarling vocals of Pop. Towards the close, it breaks down into an orchestral piece – highly refreshing given the darker themes earlier on.
One upbeat moment leads to more gloom, with the album closing out in an angry fashion, an epitome of a man who is infamous for writing frustrated, no-holds-barred lyrics. ‘Paraguay’ is punk meets poetry, the chorus repeats itself while Pop splutters his way through an expletive-laden tirade against all that is 21st century modernity – “You take your motherfucking laptop // And just shove it into your goddamn foul mouth // And down your shit heel gizzard // You fucking phony two faced three timing piece of TURD”. Whatever his grievances are, there is no doubt that this record is an outstanding piece, a testament to a career longer and more successful than many musicians could ever hope for. One can only wonder where it will end, with parts of the album sounding like a farewell, but it is apparent that the old, sinewy punk is far from finished.