From the wild and frightening young man who fronted The Stooges for a handful of peerless years, to the enigma who released three classic LPs in 1977 alone (albeit Kill City has an asterisk next to it), to the ageing lunatic and insurance salesman who spent three decades doing just about whatever the hell he wanted - Iggy Pop is in the “legendary” class. Since the lauded double-header of The Idiot and Lust for Life, Iggy has been a journeyman of the bizarre, earning 37 acting credits (ranging from Jim Jarmusch and John Waters films to the likes of The Crow: City of Angels, Tank Girl and Sharktopus vs Whalewolf) while issuing a further seventeen studio albums, without touching the UK Top 40 again. Iggy does what he wants.
The surprise announcement of Post Pop Depression, his seventeenth solo LP, has proven to be a bit of a story. The additional factors of the world losing David Bowie, Pop’s friend and collaborator and the news that the LP would be produced by QOTSA/Kyuss/EODM man Josh Homme seem to have got people talking. But the involvement of Homme is, in theory, by no means a game changer. Iggy has often utilised notable names in the past, not only did Bowie’s production span much of Pop’s early work and not only did Iggy reunite with Stooges’ guitarist James Williamson on multiple occasions, but over the decades, Iggy has utilised the likes of Glen Matlock and Steve Jones (The Sex Pistols), Ivan Kral (Patti Smith Group), Chris Stein and Clem Burke (Blondie), Slash and Duff McKagen (Guns N Roses), Green Day, Peaches and many others.
What this goes to show, is that the mere inclusion of gifted guests is by no means a new thing to Iggy and doesn’t promise greatness. What really justifies the intrigue that accompanies this LP is the gorgeously gloomy left and right hook of ‘Break Into Your Heart’ and ‘Gardenia’. These two leading singles promised something punchier than Après and Préliminaires but more refined than Ready To Die or Beat ‘Em Up, offering the possibility of a Pop LP that’s both sophisticated and satisfying.
Homme’s contributions are many and his influence runs deep throughout this LP. His effortless moody vocal helps to carry ‘Sunday’, while ‘Paraguay’ has more than a hint of the classic Queens Of The Stone Age sound to it. Homme introduces strings, keys, backing singers, he even brings QOTSA member Dean Ferita and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders to the fold. But it’s not a bleaching of Iggy’s sound, ‘American Valhalla’ is somewhere between Iggy’s ‘China Girl’ and Gary Numan’s ‘Metal’, ‘German Days’ recalls his time in Berlin with Bowie, while the coarseness of ‘Chocolate Drops’ is, for better or worse, unmistakably Iggy.
While he hints that this could be his final album, everything sounds a little more loaded and blue than it was perhaps intended to be, but it really is a strong final chapter and about as good an album as you could hope to hear from a 68 year old Proto-Punk pioneer. If we’re preparing for a “Post-Pop” world, then Homme has done a lot to help provide a fitting finale.
The album is seemingly being marketed as a new Lust For Life, but it feels more like New Values - perhaps not a definitive album for the masses but a really really fun LP, one of his best and certainly not a work to be skipped over without consideration. With a wildcard artist like this, there’s a difference between the celebration of a vital and furious young creator and supporting a man with nothing left to prove, who continues to yell and dance topless into his 40s, 50s and 60s - but there’s a lyric in album-closer ‘Paraguay’ that I think sums up both Iggy and Post Pop Depression quite beautifully: “I just thought, well, fuck it man.” Fuck it man, indeed.