IGGY POP, the “Godfather of Punk” – – – and a sudden new album, POST POP DEPRESSION. The unexpected slow and insidious, painful death of a best friend – – – a soul brother *(that would be DAVID BOWIE) – – – the IG unable to shake the inevitable reality of his own mortality, virtually mirrored before him. He’s outlived most all of them: MARC BOLAN, LOU REED, FRED “SONIC” SMITH, LEMMY, the RAMONES, WENDY O. WILLIAMS, countless others, plus many of the First-wave Punks and peers he’d influenced, worked with, befriended, including one of his own closest and very best of friends *(and several-time collaborator), DAVID BOWIE. IGGY took it hard. After all, DAVID BOWIE was the one person to drag IGGY out of the gutter when he was caught in the madness of uncontrollable, nearly inhuman addiction, after he had once again obliterated his career. No one would go near him with a twelve foot stick. The mind of the man behind the brilliance of “Search and Destroy” *(my all-time favorite song, hands down, and has been since that gloomy evening, many a moon ago, that I first placed that needle on the outer rim of that most transformative disc of sound) was living lost, penniless, alone, and addicted, swallowed into the gutter of broken dreams that lines the name-paved and hand-printed glittering lies of the sidewalks of Los Angeles. BOWIE whisked the poor bastard off to Berlin and gave him his career back. His life. Even after that period they’d occasionally cover each other’s songs. Now it will only be IGGY to cover those songs.
IGGY POP recorded what is my all time favorite album, RAW POWER, still ahead of it’s time – – – of all time. His Latest, POST POP DEPRESSION, is a tale of legend and legacy born out of raw and unformed materials, that all began as a youthful need to annoy, yet twisted and toiled and slithered somehow into the wonder and pitfalls of the life that it’s had, that almost never was. This was a force of nature. *(I refer to IGGY here as “it” due to the consistent theme of the objectification of an iconic-being in the spotlight, especially when “it’s” fukked-up, painful and in the gutter at times – – – gains and losses that in retrospect really meant absolutely nothing – – – he only wanted to be your dog.) He’s railed against norms and mores and basically any form of control, especially of the creative kind from higher-ups, and the bullshit one has to go through to get to “The Top,” since that first IGGY AND THE STOOGES album in 1969, and has continued to do so up to and including this very album. Here he rails hard and speaks unequivocal truths about life, death, love, passion, hate and greed.
IGGY POP – – – Perhaps the most excessive character of that wondrous post-glitter/proto-punk era *(1968 – 1975) of underground music – – – a long and hard, strange life of ups and downs; addictions; successes and failures; uncontrollable self-abuses; institutionalization; at points a career virtually forgotten while at the same time a revered true forerunner of the many futures and variances of Rock-n-Roll musics *(Punk and Goth/Deathrock/Post-Punk in particular, but with outreaching tendrils extending far beyond those unfortunately oft-limited barriers) that not just were, but were also to come *(and I’m sure to come again even further in those futures – – – barring those futures happen).
IGGY POP – – – A mysterious album, recorded in complete and utter secrecy *(much like that of his best mate, round the same time), and in a manner of process that defies and redefines the direction and spirit of true Rock-n Roll, and most likely will continue to do so for those aforementioned reasons above. A tour that is claimed to be his final *(which leads me to believe that this may in fact be his final album). If that be the case, he’s not going out with a whimper, but simply by once again being your dog. It is also the story of his life. A beautifully metaphore’d and brilliantly honed sonic swan song autobiography to an endlessly bizarre and brutally overindulgent career/span of experience that does what the IG has always done – – – tell it exactly how it fukking is. He’s never been one to take major label bullshit, never compromised his creativity to cater to the mass populace. He’s always done Rock-n-Roll his way, one of the pioneers of whom during a time of great societal strife, rife with toxically positive dancing bears and LSD-burnt idealists sticking flowers down the barrels of guns *(like ALBERT FISH cramming thorned rose stems into his urethra – – – sorry, it was there, I had to), was *(in my opinion) the unwitting main accomplice in creating an aesthetic-cum-sound that became an entire spectrum of music and philosophy thereof, influenced by that sound/aesthetic, which would at times re-influence the IG – – – an artistic Ouroboros to which he is one of the last of those great Sonic-Titans – – – and he is quite well aware of it. *(POST POP DEPRESSION was recorded while BOWIE was sick, and just starting to work on his epic finale – – – we know now that BOWIE kept his illness a well-guarded secret, and I suspected that IGGY was most likely one of the few who knew – – – after listening closely to the lyrical content of this album, after feeling its general vibe, I believe that I can securely say yes, IGGY knew.)
POST POP DEPRESSION is quite easily one of IGGY’S most diverse albums, and actually one of his best, I think. He collaborated with JOSH HOMME *(QOTSA, EAGLES OF DEATH METAL, KYUSS) on the music and lyrics, to which I was a little wary of *(I don’t like EODM, and QOTSA have precisely one album that I thoroughly enjoy – – – 2003’s SONGS FOR THE DEAF – – – but most of that album’s best material was penned by NICK OLIVERI [MONDO-GENERATOR, RIVER CITY RAPISTS, THE DWARVES as REX EVERYTHING], not with QOTSA for some time now). And yes, their sound changed after OLIVERI left. Dramatically. But that’s a completely different rant for another time. Back to the review – – –
The album opens with the slower-paced, indica-tired strains of a stressed and dehydrated guitar, and a time-worn crooning vocal affect about the depths of the heights of success & failure such as the IG has experienced in his forty-five year career of being something people took for granted; an object, expected too much of the wrong things from; exploited by record labels as a novelty of sorts, the record execs often seemingly blind to the brilliance and observations on the base aspects of humanity from which IGGY’S lyrics always came. He’s always sang what he’s lived, lived what he’s sang. Not fully knowing who contributed what lyric doesn’t matter here; the album and it’s stories of true-life victory and vice, and the identity abyss of vacancy once success begins to suck eggs, as well as the album’s spitting in the eye of the terminally corrupt music industry and what it does to those lucky enough to make it. The album is Sex & Death – – – Eat Or Be Eaten, so to speak – – – from beginning to end.
My personal favorites were “American Valhalla,” a smack in the face to one fully realizing their mortality, that their own personal legacy will eventually fade into the nothingness. It ends with the chilling spoken sentence, in an ghoul-like voice, “I’m nothing – – – but my name,” flatly delivered across the deathlike-silence background of that fully empty nothingness – – – and directly aimed at the parasites who savagely drain these artists of all integrity and merit for their own gain of power and greed. References to BOWIE’S ALADDIN SANE *(on which the song “Jean Genie” appears, purportedly about IGGY, and not the first, nor last, time that the IG would influence BOWIE’S lyrical content) also abound in this song. “In The Lobby” covers that omnipresent fear of Death peeking just over your shoulder, and begs answers to deep questions of mortality. It’s about the literal Fear of Death in every sense of the word. “Sunday” musically reminisces his NEW VALUES era, and almost embraces the Peace of the Reaper with fully open arms. The song ends on an interesting bit of minimalist musical grandiosity *(quite reminiscent of the QOTSA song “Mosquito”). This is IGGY’S best album since 2001’s BEAT EM UP, in my meaningless opinion, personally. It’s that sound of raw power and energy and charisma and flaws and honesty that IGGY has always maintained, lived, and an acceptance of an end, to career, to fun, to life – – – as well as knowledge of what expediates these ends. The rest of the album covers all the same topics, in various ways. However, he lets you know no man nor corporation has ever dictated his life nor ever will. Nor should they yours.
The sound of the album is almost wholly unique – – – very deep-desert-like *(with HOMME involved that’s to be expected), filled with sand-beast skulls caught in the whirling dervishes surrounding you and cascading intentedly in your direction. Certain parts even give a certain ALICE COOPER-type vibe of sorts, the more chilling moments this album can evoke, which it also manages to do extremely well.
It’s no RAW POWER *(that just can’t/won’t ever happen again), but he’s still going *(out?) on an incredibly high note. Somehow he’s reached 69 years of age. He’s never been one to mince words or emotion – – – and this comes out on the intense blues-riff-rife finale “Paraguay,” where we are treated to a brilliantly vicious bit of *(what I suspect was largely brilliantly improved on the spot) verbal vitriol *(as well as pounding vitriolic riffs that scuttle chaotically around his words in partially choreographed chaos) as IGGY vomits forth with all the power of his *(once but forever) 19 year-old self everything he hates in humanity, in what we’ve become, devolved to – – – of our impending near non-existence. *(“Paraguay,” by the way, is the name of a wretched 1980’s comedy with Richard Dreyfuss about a man who “invents” a “perfect utopian country,” by somehow buying a war-torn 3rd world island that’s in a constant civil war or something, which of courpse being from the ‘80’s it all [not so] hysterically backfires and his federal crimes become slapstick “Oopsies” – – – you’d just have to see it – – – I did, thanks Dad.)
A certain mystery surrounds this album on several levels: it’s secrecy; its timing with BOWIE’S passing; it’s plodding primal urgency to pass on yet not flicker out and away. Certain private notes and details about BOWIE that IGGY had mailed to HOMME prior to recording come into play as well – – – it’s all very human, no different than you or I; mammals, just another animal knowing their December is encroaching, reflecting upon a life truly lived to the hilt.
Back to POST POP DEPRESSION. This is intense, deep, witty, crude, melodic, experimental, intelligent – – – everything IGGY has always been – – – and it sticks with you. Not just the music, but the subject matter, as well. It is focused, it knows where it’s going and what it’s doing, and takes you with it. IGGY walks us all into the Elementals of the Dust-Devils, bringing us along for the ride. I highly advise you be the passenger on this *(final?) search and destroy mission, revel in the outlaw stales of psychological desiccation and corporate vandalism of the soul that both the IG and the music subversively, sometimes outright, expose. They paid for this out of pocket, JOSH HOMME produced it – – – fuck the scam artist corporates and DO IT YOURSELF. They learned, and the hard way at that. Most bands that achieve even minimal success with the Majors are still at the bottom of the ladder. They said NO, THIS IS WHAT WE’RE DOING AND HOW WE ARE DOING IT. Oh, and, uh, fuck you while we’re at it. And they did it, well, at that. It’s dramatically different yet strangely familiar to the ear, the mind, the soul. Pick yourself up a copy and hear – – – his cycle may be finalizing soon, as well.
It’s a much different world now, with no going back. Day by day, second by second, increasingly so – – – like it or not, ALVIN TOFFLER was right – – – this is “Future Shock,” and we are living in the POST POP DEPRESSION. And IGGY has bore it’s soundtrack.
Honest. Beautiful. Brutal. Unique. Passionate. Uncompromising. Essential.
Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email is firstname.lastname@example.org