Album Review: Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression (2016 LP)

The world was treated to a surprising (and hard-rock wet dream inducing) announcement early this year – the great man himself, Iggy Pop, was going to release an album of new material. Not only that, but it was to be produced by another rock legend, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal. This might seem like a surprising combo, especially since Iggy has been a bit quiet recently (and it’s hard to believe he stays up to date on the latest musical trends), while Homme seems to have had a hand in basically every indie rock project on the face of the earth, but it worked in a big way.

The LP kicks off with the sinister, dark “Break Into Your Heart”. Iggy hasn’t lost anything on the old creepiness stakes and what could, by it’s title be a summery love song, ends up being a dark threat.

This is followed by the equally brilliant “Gardenia”, a fetishisation of an old flame. The music is gently propulsive and eerily Bowie-like, while Pop’s refrain (“Gardenia, where are you?”) shows the regret of an old man who has had more than his share of one night stands.

“American Valhalla”, a more downbeat song, is also fantastic – Pop finds himself ruminating on the ups and downs of fame, with the repeated mantra “I’m
nothing but my name”.

The sound of Post Pop Depression mirrors Pop’s greatest works, The Idiot and Lust for Life. As in those two LPs, the music here doesn’t go for crazy heavy volume or distortion but settles into a more groove-based vibe, which is the perfect setting for Iggy’s sinister crooning, which he does so well here.

Iggy’s lyrics have (for the most part) hit another high note here as well – only someone as crazy and ingenious as him writes the words, “Shit turns into chocolate drops”, and have them sound like poetry. Apart from one embarrassment, “Vulture”, Pop’s lyrics veer from hilarious to poignant, all the way to furious anger. My standout track is “Paraguay”, a slow builder that essentially ends with Iggy furiously howling at his own audience, before going off to live in the jungle. If this is truly his send off, it’s a fitting one.

Full credit has to go to Josh Homme here – in lesser hands, this project could have turned into a depressingly vanilla album from a “heritage” artist, but Homme has managed to steer Pop away from his cliches and his comfort zone. There is also a note of genuine sadness on songs like “Sunday”, that is new ground altogether for the great imp of rock music.

All in all, Post Pop Depression is a wonderful and surprising return to form from an artist who clearly had more to say, and just needed the right muse to help him get it out there.

Review Score: 8.1 out of 10.

Post Pop Depression is out now.

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