After scoring the highest-charting LP of his career with the Josh Homme-dominated ‘Post Pop Depression’ in 2016, the Iggy Pop renaissance continues on what may be his best record since ‘Lust For Life’. It’s also one of the most unique entries of his whole canon. “I felt like I wanted to put on shades, turn my back, and walk away”, said the former Stooges frontman of an exhausting touring schedule. “I wanted to be free… So this album just kind of happened to me, and I let it happen.”
The sombre, ambient sounds that score the eponymous title track immediately draw comparisons to two other late-career masterpieces: David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’, and Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘I’m New Here’. Iggy’s languid, gruff oration on restrained, spoken-word piano piece ‘We Are The People’, is particular resemblant of the aforementioned poet’s prose. And the guitar harmonics and airy pads that open the angelic ‘Sonali’ give way to a jazzy skiffle akin to something more like Radiohead than The Stooges.
The tongue-in-cheek ‘Dirty Sanchez’ is built around an oddball call-and-response vocal dialogue and mariachi-style horns in what may be the album’s most memorable number. “Just because I like big tits doesn’t mean I like big dicks” is so perfect a lyric in context (it’s a song about online porn) that it should be branded on a t-shirt.
“This is an album in which other artists speak for me, but I lend my voice”, he says of the record, and therein lies the magic - there is a rich musicality on ‘Free’ that gives the vocalist a fresh platform to be a poetic and lyrical storyteller. And it’s deeply personal, even sad, at times. “You’ve done it all before, you’ll dread the encore”, he mutters on the languid ‘Page’.
It’s the uniquely sombre and contemplative Iggy Pop album we didn’t realise we needed.
More like this
The biggest and best of this week’s new releases.
For 50 years, Iggy Pop has been the man your mother warned you about. And though, these days, he’s more into exercise than ecstasy, the 72-year-old is still defying expectation with every turn.
Iggy Pop reigns supreme, Bon Iver draws the crowds & Noel Gallagher brings the hits as Mad Cool 2019 kicks off
Let’s Eat Grandma, Haiku Hands and Nao were among the fresher treats of the day.
Queens of the Stone Age battle on-site problems, but still emerge as the victorious kings of Finsbury Park
Sound problems, long queues and scorching heat are the order of the day, but nothing can dampen the majesty of Josh and co.