There is a great sadness weaving in and out of the new Iggy Pop album “Post Pop Depression” and as satisfying as it is for long time fans musically the fact that this stands as a potential final statement stains the listening experience. It doesn’t hijack the joy of hearing Iggy once again hitting some career best form but if the recent David Bowie loss has taught us anything, no one is safe no matter how immortal we thought they once were.
Perhaps it is my own personal sadness that infects the listening experience with “Post Pop Depression,” still spooked by the madness of what happened with Bowie and the whole “Blackstar” experience, an album which mirrors “Post Pop Depression” at least lyrically in how it highlights the psyche of two creative giants facing their own mortality. Where Bowie may have sounded cryptic with his fear, all reports point to the fact that he didn’t want to die (who does really) and he wanted to just keep making music. In the same way it sounds like Iggy has had an injection or jolt creatively but if you are to believe the lyrics of “Post Pop Depression” this sounds like Iggy is fed up with the struggle and is looking for the next great adventure, death.
The first time this becomes clear is on album highlight “American Valhalla” which puts the theme of death and one’s own mortality front and centre. In Norse mythology, Valhalla is a majestic, enormous hall located in Asgard ruled over by the god Odin. In Valhalla, the dead join the masses of those who have died in combat known as Einherjar, as well a various legendary Germanic Heroes and kings as they prepare to aid Odin during the events of Ragnarok (thanks Wikipedia). It’s a pretty strong metaphor when applied to what Iggy is tackling emotionally in the lyrics to this song.
That’s not to say that “Post Pop Depression” is a funeral dirge affair. Scattered among the sadness are lots of groove laden rock tracks that realistically rival the strength of Iggy’s debut album “The Idiot.” A lot of this comes from the fact that Josh Homme has been one of the first collaborators since Bowie to really push the strengths of Iggy to the front and centre. I’m a strict disciple to Iggy’s full discography and while there have been some high points post 77 across the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s the sounds contained on “Post Pop Depression” outline that Iggy is at his best when he has a collaborator who takes the time to push the intellectual side of his ego to the front. Iggy has always been a great wild rock n roll frontman but his intellect has always been downplayed and misunderstood by both his fans and his critics. Lucky for us Homme has approached this project like a true fan and brought the best out in Iggy.
On a basic level this is a just a flawless rock record full of groove and glam rock riffage. Not quite punk but not quite rock and not quite nostalgic throw back. That dark desert mood suits the Iggy Pop mythology perfectly. Fans of Homme’s work will embrace the warmth of his production with the music contained within being able to offer a sonic duality where it can be both mournful but still thick with swagger. It makes you realise just what a musical giant Josh Homme is and how with time people may finally catch up and see that like Bowie and Iggy, he is indeed a legend and genius in his own right just as responsible for adding a few different dynamics to the rock n roll and pop singer rule book.
For long time Iggy Pop fans this album will be beautifully satisfying and for fans coming to him for the first time via Homme’s involvement this album will stand as the perfect launch pad. If this is the final statement from Iggy then he has made it a strong one, leaving the way he came in. People will have their various reasons for loving an artist like Iggy Pop – for me I was always in love with his wit and intellect. The way he could be so poetic but so vulgar without ever having to resort to shock tactics. He is the great misunderstood performer who the greater music industry have admired from afar but rarely ever given or paid dues to for his deep influence. Everyone who discovers Iggy Pop has a life changing experience that helps sort out parts of themselves they didn’t know they needed sorting out. He set me free and gave me the confidence that I could be some kind of artist and I’ll always be in debt to his influence.
With “Post Pop Depression” we are reminded that Iggy Pop is, was and always will be the Godfather of everything and anything to do with Punk Rock. The world’s forgotten boy, the one who’ll forever search and destroy.
By: Dan Newton