Irreverent, Iggy Pop has probably originated the word at the beginning of the world. What he does is what he wants, how and when he wants. So, thanks (or because) of his attitude, there are a lot of grand tunes on his latest studio album, Every Loser.
In its vinyl format, we’ve decided to treat ourselves to the limited to a 1000 copies edition and alternative cover. The colour of the opus is a beautiful ‘Clear Coke’, which means a pale more-green-than-blue (or absinth) so light it’s transparent. A beauty. It only reminds us that Iggy Pop is a wild animal, barely tamed at 76 years old.
Tamed? Hmm… Well, some tracks are definitely calmer – among them, we get New Atlantis, Morning Show, The News from Andy (Interlude), and My Animus (Interlude) – but the legendary punk has more to offer on most of the album. And those are his better songs. There is an important difference between these: his voice. Deep and husky, it is grittier and sharper when he lets the early days-punk inspirations overcome him. The opening track, Frenzy, shows that.
That’s when it really starts. Soon, we’re just pushed into a punk hurricane from the very first guitar riff. It is a frenzy – pun intended – which would leave anybody sweating and panting for more, mirroring the most chaotic gigs in existence. Three seconds into the chorus, singing along to Frenzy is second nature. It’s not going to be the only one like that.
Neo Punk is a tribute to the infernal and chaotic identity of the chair-collecting (true story) artist, whilst it tackles the glamorous business created by the industry and applied to the genre. A whole commentary with simple hooks and vibes. It also has a skate-punk side, easily explained with the drums – we’ll come back to it later – and yet, it doesn’t overpower the raw and bumpy garage layers it pushes.
Modern Day Ripoff has that same stupidly great rock line. It’s fast, clear, sharp, and to the point. And yet, we’re listening to it with the idea of a storm lurking nearby, ready to fuck everything up if it wasn’t so strong in its composition.
Stung Out Johnny has some pop colours. With a balance between his furious punk side and his crooner side, Iggy lets the music carry him as much as he is carrying it. An exchange up in the air, harmonious and magnificently hypnotic. It’s pretty cinematographic, really, and hard to let go of.
Then, Comments is the most pop of all on this opus. With a smile, we’re getting lost in an extravagant moment – we can hear the glitter falling from Hollywood’s sky. It is a cutting remark (another and an easy one probably), to the Entertainment industry and online comments… Iggy has a lot to say! There, it’s the bassline from Eric Avery (Jane’s Addiction) and the groove of the track that really speaks to us.
As for All The Way Down is a classic that rings so well, it clearly could have come from an older record of his. Had it been released in the 70s, it would have destroyed some club’s barriers, whenever it was played.
The Regency closes the album as it has started. Grace, energy, and a touch of cheekiness. It starts low and soft, as if to lull us into the end of the record. But truly it is only a lure to attack us by surprise and shake us awake from the first chorus. And there the lyrics are really, really difficult: Fuck the regency, fuck the regency up.
Now, a couple of words about Pop’s collaborators on this one. First, Andrew Watt gets behind the guitar and the production brilliantly. He isn’t the only one to play with that instrument: Josh Klinghoffer has entered the room. It’s all high-voltage, crazy, and extravagant, but also wise, precise, and complex when need be.
Of course, as a producer, Watt isn’t a rookie when it comes to amazing tunes and collaborations – and we’ll see more of him next month with the new Rolling Stones’ record. Still, we admire his spotless work here. And the same for Kinghoffer, mainly known for his work with Red Hot Chili Pepper and Jane’s Addiction. And on the bass, we also get Duffy McKagan (Gun’s And Roses) and Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction).
Iggy Pop also has chosen to work with some incredible drummers, among them Chad Smith (another Pepper) on Frenzy, Stung Out Johnny, Modern Day Ripoff, and more, Travis Baker (Blink-182) on Neo Punk, explaining its skate punk vibe, and the late Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) on Comments and The Regency… quite a bunch!
A lot of amazing people there, of course. And this is far from being an exhaustive list – as it is not the aim of this feature. What’s certain is that Iggy Pop knows how to create beautiful and relevant tracks, looking like him, by picking up from a pool of magnificently productive, prolific, and talented musicians who are, themselves, deeply inspired and marked by Pop’s timeless work. In the end, it is a balanced exchange of notes and tunes that builds up each other legend and refreshes the musical legacy of one of the greatest punks in history.
Some could ask him to do something else, but Iggy Pop will not listen. Doing whatever he fancies, is a theme found across all his records, after all. It is pretty true when we’re facing the variety, depth, and energy he put into Every Loser. Iggy Pop has made another record from his ribs, and we love it.