Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

“Post Pop Depression” Reminds us that Iggy Pop is Still Angry

    Iggy Pop is the last artist of a dying breed, but you wouldn’t know it from looking or listening to him. He is an artist who helped transition rock out of its post Woodstock hippie daze and into a state of mind that was at once both glam and punk. Pop’s new album, “Post Pop Depression,” is a so-so album that recalls some of the artist’s older work, but fails to incorporate new material in a compelling manner.

    The album feels like an attempted recollection of Pop’s 1970s albums like “The Idiot,” and “Lust for Life,” however, producers Joshua Homme and Dean Fertita (both of whom are in the popular band, Queens of the Stoneage) fail to step away from their previous work, and drummer Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) is used primarily to recreate rhythms similar to those found on albums from Queens of the Stone Age, like “Rated R.” Still, the album works because of Pop’s low, nasally voice.

    Songs like “Vulture,” which starts off with a casual, “Okay, cool” and then a simple guitar riff accompanied by Pop singing, “Fat, black vulture/ White head hung low/ Chewin’ dead meat/ By the side of the road,” quickly fade into forgetfulness when the track evolves and ultimately breaks down. The track is interesting, and features some of the better lyricism on the album (tell me more about this weird vulture, Iggy!). However, the chorus is uncompelling and the instrumentation leads to the songs ultimate failure in a wailing breakdown towards the end.

    “Chocolate Drops,” on the other hand, is a fully realized song that features some of the best instrumentation and backup vocal work on the album. Sure, it’s a simple song with a simple arrangement, but it all works. A bell rings in the background of a beat and guitar riff (do I detect a bit of slide guitar?) that perfectly accentuates the dark themes explored by Pop’s lyrics.

    “When you get to the bottom/ You’re near the top/ Your shit turns into chocolate drops,” Pop croons on “Chocolate Drop’s” chorus. It’s a song about failure, success and letting go, and it’s all sorts of clever.

    “Sunday” starts off with classic “Queens” drums and soon joins a double tracked guitar riff from Homme that makes way for more of Pop’s clever lyricism and catchy backup vocal work. “I’m a wreck/ What do you expect?” Pop declares, before a call and response moves the song into a whimsical reflection on the afterlife. “Got all I need/ And it is killing me/ And you!” Pop sings, reminding the listener that everyone’s life story is headed for the same abrupt end, no matter their station in life. Not exactly upbeat, but still a cool song.

    The final song, titled “Paraguay,” is probably the best song on the album. It laments the rise of the information age. “Everybody’s fucking scared/ Fear eats all the souls at once/ I’m tired of it/ And I dream about getting away/ To a new life/ Where there’s not so much fucking knowledge/ I don’t want any of this information/ I don’t want YOU,” Pop sings. The instrumentation isn’t anything too special, but it lends itself nicely to the overall theme of the song, given its dark bass and guitar, which compliment Pop’s voice very well.

    In “Paraguay,” the listener gets a chance to hear Pop get angry about something that many artists have expressed similar feeling about, so there’s nothing groundbreaking about the song’s material, however, it’s a sentiment that is communicated in signature Iggy Pop style. At one point in the song, Pop goes on a legendary rant, saying, “Take your motherfucking laptop/ And just shove it into your goddamn foul mouth.” All the while, the band chants in the background about wild animals who never wonder why, but “just do what they goddamn do.”

    It’s an angry song that relates Pop’s concerns over the state of modern society. He joins the ranks of artists who have condemned the information age; however, he does so in a way that only he could pull off.

    Overall, the album isn’t great, but it’s short enough and has enough good material that it is far from a complete flop. If given a letter grade at Seattle University, I would say your average listener would give it a B-, give or take half a grade. Even those who don’t like punk rock should be able to enjoy “Post Pop Depression,” if only for a short time.

    Will may be reached at [email protected]

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