By: Derek Jung
Producers have, since the beginning of pop music, put their own personal touch on the albums that they work on. This can be good is some cases, or bad, like how Dan Auerbach completely butchered the latest Cage the Elephant album. Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme has also produced a good number of albums in the last decade. Albums like Humbug from The Arctic Monkeys, Them Crooked Vultures' self-titled debut, and the Eagles of Death Metal records and Queens of the Stone Age records all have Homme's distinctive sound and flavor to them. Many would call this flavor the "desert rock flair", and for the artists that Homme's worked with, it's all fit. When I heard Iggy Pop was teaming up with Homme, there was no doubt in my mind that the record would be a desert cruiser - sexy, dangerous, and filled with Homme-isms. I was not disappointed.
Iggy Pop's career has been an insane run. If you ever want a rock n roll story of "Wow, I can't believe he's still alive", read up on Iggy Pop. The man has a crazy life story of drug addiction, mental health issues, and turbulence, but through it all he's become one of the founding fathers of punk rock. Post Pop Depression, described as the final album in Iggy's long discography, is filled with the same end of life material that was on David Bowie's Blackstar. It's almost fitting, as the two were great friends who wrote and produced together frequently in the past. But despite their closeness, the two have starkly different grand finales. Whereas Bowie's was experimental and had jazz influences, Post Pop Depression is just that, the closing chapter of an exciting, challenging lifetime. The question is whether it was worth it.
The first single, "Gardenia" is a wonderful embodiment of this idea. The subject of the story is described by Iggy as "a forbidden dream" in the opening verse, something to lust after, crave, and aspire to, but after living a hard life of drugs on the street, this dream has turned into a giant disappointment, a mere ghost of a memory. Similarly on "American Valhalla", Iggy muses that at the end of things "I've nothing, but my name", singing that line dreamily as the music slowly fades to silence. Then, in a gravelly snarl, he repeats it twice more: "I've nothing, but my name. I've nothing, but my name". It's chilling.
One of my biggest concerns going into this album was that it was going to sound too much like a typical Homme project and lose Iggy Pop's unique sound. I would have come away from this album disappointed if it sounded like a Queens of the Stone Age or Them Crooked Vultures album with Iggy singing, but with the lone exception of "German Days", where the opening guitar riff is seemingly right out of a page from the Era Vulgaris or ...Like Clockwork recordings, the album is very much a balance between Homme's production and Iggy Pop's personality. The only dud on this album is "Vulture," where the chorus "Vulture oo-ee-oo" is just too much for me.
The closing song, "Paraguay" is a perfect ending to the last album of Iggy's career. The song begins slowly, explaining Iggy's desire to get away from the pressures of money, business, and modern society. This soothing finale could have ended with a final kumbaya of tra-la-la's, but that wouldn't be Iggy Pop; he's going to do whatever the hell he wants, and this final tirade goes on for nearly two scathing minutes. A short snippet of the rant includes the following:
You take your motherfucking laptop
And just shove it into your goddamn foul mouth
And down your shit heel gizzard
You fucking phony two faced three timing piece of turd.
So for all of us, myself included, that this rant was directed towards, all of the critics, all of the haters, all of the naysayers who have questioned him and doubted him throughout his career, Iggy has the last laugh. One final middle finger. One last fuck you. Because maybe it wasn't worth all of the troubles, but he'll be damned if he doesn't go out on his own terms. And if this truly is the end, we'll miss you, Iggy. Thanks for the ride.
My Number: 8/10
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here.