This is something I’ve been over before, but 2016 in music was in many ways the year of rock star mortality. Because 2016 took more than its share of beloved 20th century musicians from us, and we’re still being reminded of it as Leonard Cohen and David Bowie’s final albums have very prominently been making the rounds on a lot of “best of the year” lists. These albums were both clearly the works of dying men who knew they didn’t have much time left on this Earth, and you could certainly lump Iggy Pop’s Post Pop Depression in with those albums, since it also has a decidedly dark and murky sound to it. While I believe Iggy stated that there’s a pretty good chance that he might not have the will to record another album again.
But at the same time, Iggy Pop is clearly alive and kicking. Sure, he’s settled almost exclusively into leaning on that low key croon that he’s often whipped out, and from what I can tell was keeping his shirt on a little more often in the wake of this album’s release. Still, this is an album that does it’s fair share of rocking, with a backing band headed by Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme, as the album fittingly has some of that lurching sludge rock that Homme was exploring on the last QOTSA album. And because Homme’s stamp is felt all over Post Pop Depression, it’s a little hard for this feel like a final statement from Iggy rather than a really good collaboration between two artists that have never ever given a fuck.
I’ve had a hard time deciding if this not giving a fuck had possibly kept this album from being something truly special, or if it’s completely appropriate. Because from what I’ve read, the album was recorded in just a couple weeks at Homme’s own recording studio, and even though the production is equally lavish and brooding in a pretty awesome way, I don’t know if all the songs are quite there. Some of them feel a bit like sketches that were fortunately backed up by some really great musicians, while Iggy’s charisma is usually more than enough to make each song at the very least interesting.
But a lot of the time, that’s enough I guess, even if none of the songs come close to matching the sublimely muddy street poetics of “Gardenia”. Though it’s also hard not to love the note this album goes out on with the song “Paraguay”, which features a spoken tirade by Iggy, basically railing against complacent millenials dickin’ around on their god damn laptops. And instead of quoting said tirade, I’ll just say go listen to it. It’s a weirdly satisfying testament to the man who invented punk’s ability to stay pissed off after all these years, and a reminder that maybe we still have plenty to learn from his inability to just sit there and eat shit from the powers that be.
Favorite Tracks: “Gardenia”, “German Days”, “Paraguay”