Iggy Pop „Post Pop Depression“
Funnily enough, Iggy Pop’s “Post Pop Depression” has made its way to me on the day that is International Women’s Day out of all days – and that as a record that has been strongly under the suspicion of containing a rather heavy dose of testosterone – given that it features picture-book male rockstars, namely Josh HOMME (sic!), Iggy Pop, Dean Fertita and Matt Helders – how incredibly appropriate, I couldn’t help, but think to myself.
The title alone however already hints at how little stereotypical these male identities might turn out to be after all – “Post Pop Depression”: does this term aim to describe this inner feeling of emptiness and isolation that takes a hold of you when you listen to what people these days refer to as pop music or is it rather to be understood in a much more personal way? Has Iggy Pop managed to survive himself, but has failed to get over himself? And what is it that lies beyond pop music? Will there be anything post-pop that can top what has already been? Post-pop sounds even more vague than post-punk. It’s not like Iggy Pop needs to be classified in any way anyways – he has experienced everything there is to experience in life – and somehow made it out okay on the other side. Some of his friends have already had to leave this world of ours, but not Iggy Pop, who has just posed in the nude for an art class in New York.
About a year ago, we discussed an album here at kaput that managed to first of all confuse us a bit to then impress us completely – not only because we dealt with an extraordinary combination of musicians. And it was quite obvious: neither one of the bands would have been able to go out and do an album of equal quality on their own at that time. I am of course referring to Franz Ferdiand Sparks (FFS) who seemed to simply have been made for each other and quite evidently benefitted mutually. Much like Josh Homme and Iggy Pop who have been pretty friendly for a while (as superfan and superstar, as Daniel Gerhardt puts it in German music paper Spex magazine) now finally decided to work together. The result of their collaboration are nine tracks that have been released one after the other before the official album release date: for example “Sunday”, very laid back and funky, yet rock, and the outstanding track “Gardenia” that sees Iggy lament the end of a love affair – in a desperate pose, yet all the while keeping his dignity, as he knows that the relationship is long over.
One of the most common comments about new releases is that they are “timeless”, which often means that they sound extremely old-timey – astoundingly enough, “Post Pop Depression” seems to deserve just this very attribute of being “timeless”. Its tracks could have been released in the mid-1970s or the early 1980s, at the beginning of the Noughties (oh hello Queens of the Stone Age!) or they could have just as well been released just now – they are completey free from the latest fads, they dig through blues- and desert rock, touch lightly on the Detroit of Jack White and they take us to all those dark sketchy bars that you find in every town in the States, whether it’s on the East coast or the West coast. Josh Homme has managed to create songs that are customised to what Iggy Pop needs and who he wants to be: the music itself has unmistakable QOTSA-characteristics, but has been stripped to the core. It feels scarce, spare, yet muscular and dynamic, a little spent and rugged, at times surprisingly charming, elegant and self-deprecating. And the album has more surprises in store than one is lead to believe: one might say that “Post Pop Depression” epitomises Iggy Pop’s looks and spirit perfectly. At times it’s all grandiose, while everything seems to fall apart completely in other places. Iggy Pop whines and rants away with a shaky voice (“Chocolate Drops”), gets all theatrical (“American Valhalla”, “Break Into Your Heart”), revels in the times he has spent with Bowie (“German Days”) and conveys with every note that all that is rock on this record is naturally merely an act. Dean Fertita’s guitar-playing is of course cool – very much the opposite of narcissistic machismo. The Arctic Monkey’s Matt Helders uses just the right amount of pressure in his drumming.
Iggy Pop makes for the album’s obvious focal point. He is well aware of his being anachronistic – but hey, what are you going to do, right? Keep on keeping on, that’s for sure. Even if the vultures are already zeroing in on you. “Sunday” culminates in a waltz with strings and it seems a fair observation that a lot of the songs end up somewhere that you would not have expected them to end up initially. “Paraguay”, the last track is a lot like a dusty roadtrip, starting off a little weary to then turn into something adventurous and bellicose. Iggy works himself up into a proper frenzy: he IS our dog. Forever and ever. If that’s ROCKANDROLL, then I’m all in.
(Translation: Tanita Sauf)