- 19 Jan 23
Ever seen Iggy Pop live? You probably have, of course, but if you haven't, every sensible rock n’ roller really should. Even now, he can still wipe the floor with everyone else, although said floor is thankfully no longer covered with broken glass and blood. As far as records go, his influence is immense. The first three classic Stooges records - The Stooges, Fun House, and - even though it sounds like it was recorded in an oil can - Raw Power are the definitional of pivotal; an awful lot of the music that followed simply wouldn’t have existed otherwise, and every time a film director is looking to signpost how edgy they are, the first few bars of 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' or 'Gimme Danger' blast out of the speakers.
His solo output is a bit more hit and miss. No faulting the Bowie-aided brilliance of The Idiot or Lust For Life, songs from which the Dame would later recycle when his own creativity temporarily dried up in the 1980s. I've a soft spot for Blah-Blah-Blah (Bowie again) and the hard-as-a-wall Instinct (with Sex Pistol Steve Jones) as well, but quality has dipped on occasion. Recently he’s veered from singing in French to channelling late-period Scott Walker which, love it or hate it, is at least interesting.
Every Loser ropes in Guns N’ Roses hero Duff McKagan on bass, RHCP Chad Smith on drums, and Grammy-winning producer (Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa) Andrew Watt on guitar, and kicks off in raucous form with the appropriately named ‘Frenzy’. No denying that it rocks out and prompts the old cliché that here's the Godfather of punk reclaiming his title again, etc. The similarly paced ‘Modern Day Ripoff’ which incorporates that pounding 'Gimme Danger' piano deep in the background, and plastic-rocker-baiting ‘Neo Punk’ also sound good but the problem is that song writing just isn’t as strong as it was on previous forays into similar territory. I'm talking here about ‘Home’, which also featured McKagan, on Pop's useful 1990 album Brick By Brick, or the nonpareil arse-kicking of Instinct's ‘Cold Metal’ or even the more recent Josh Homme collaboration ‘Gardenia’ on Post Pop Depression (2016).
Single ‘Strung Out Johnny’ – drugs are bad, and nobody knows that better than Iggy Pop – is a much better bet as is the ‘Doom And Gloom’ Stones/Stooges hybrid sound of ‘All The Way Down’ which reminds you just who it is you're listening to and finds the band genuinely capturing something. As for the rest, slower cuts like ‘New Atlantis’ and ‘Morning Show’ are only passable, and the spoken word interludes are listen-once affairs. He pulls things back with the closing ‘Regency’, which has a bit of fire, but overall, for all the clatter and bang, Every Loser is second division Iggy.