Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression

by Liam Hill

Post Pop Depression comes as Iggy Pop’s 17th studio album, three years after his last release, and at the age of 68 proves he is still a forced to be reckoned with. The man currently best known for being on the Swift Cover advert, who is now also the second most known Iggy on the planet, in his time has collaborated with the likes of Bowie, Tom Waits, Blondie and most notoriously with his band The Stooges.

But for his latest release, unlike previous efforts, Pop and Homme have assembled a true supergroup. Dean Fertita, Homme’s Queens of the Stone Age compatriot, provides a plethora of instrumentation whilst Arctic Monkeys own Matt Helders provides drums and backing vocals. However, and more importantly, Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme produces the album and brings guitar, bass and keyboard, giving the icon’s sound a makeover. Homme injects a ‘raw’ punch to the album which has been missing on Pop’s more recent releases, reinstating the legends place in contemporary popular music.

Lead single Gardenia, the masterpiece of the album, features Pop and Homme harmonising through the chorus whilst Pop provides clever yet raunchy lyricism to the track. Pop describes his sexual lust for an “hourglass ass” and a “powerful back” through his fantasy for a black prostitute with a white flower in her hair. The dreamy drone of Hommes’ guitar supporting Pop’s poetic vocals provides such a great contrast to the description of cheap sex in dingy motels. Despite the image of a slightly saggy, sixty eight year old man declaring “all I want to do is tell Gardenia what to do tonight”, which should make your skin crawl, Iggy’s charm and Homme’s production somehow make this sound refreshingly prepossessing.

Opening song Break Into Your Heart, as debuted on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, provides a grand inception to the album, with a strong guitar riff and a showcase of Pop’s vocals and conversational style. Melodically, this track is possibly the most appealing with huge repetition ensuring the song quickly gets stuck in your head. In true Iggy style, his lyrics are honest and to the point. He declares, “time is so tight, it’s closing in”, potentially an insight to the realisation that as the remaining body of the sacred triangle (Bowie and Lou Reed being the other two), that Pop’s time too is numbered, following the very recent tragic illness and death of his close friend.

Throughout the album one thing remains the same, strong instrumentations. Punchy and notable guitar riffs are held together by solid bass lines and excellent drumming, but without a doubt Pop’s lyrics provide a quirky commentary. Nevertheless, the instrumentation largely provided by Homme undoubtedly carries Pop, and arguably the Queens Of The Stone Age influence heard throughout is what allows Pop to flourish. There is something uniquely charming about how well the two work off of each other, especially on tracks such as Sunday.

This is also true with the closing of the album, Paraguay. The longest of the collection could arguably suggests Pop’s reluctance to let go. Yet lyrically that is exactly what Pop does with a perfect exit song. He suggests that “everybody’s fucking scared, fear eats all the souls at once” and that he’s “tired of it, and I dream about getting away to a new life”. Homme’s dominating power expressed through his brooding guitar symbolises Pop’s intense want to escape whilst Iggy’s vehement guarantees the album ends in true rock and roll fashion, in style.

Post Pop Depression being 41 minutes long and containing nine tracks mirrors Iggy’s renowned Lust For Life and nearly 40 years on proves that Pop has still got it. However, Iggy has suggested this could be his last album. Lets hope it isn’t but even if it is, what a swansong. Much like Bowie’s Blackstar, an underlying tone of depression traces the album through tone and lyrics, but we can only wish that this isn’t his goodbye.