Albums Of The Week

Untamed Pop

Singer Iggy Pop said that his 17th solo album Post Pop Depression could be his last.
Singer Iggy Pop said that his 17th solo album Post Pop Depression could be his last.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Punk icon Iggy Pop's 17th solo album is rock 'n' roll as it should be - feral and unconstrained

In an age where hype is a social currency, albums recorded in secret and released to an unsuspecting public can be a wonder.

Arriving in the same fashion as other recent surprise album drops such as Kendrick Lamar's Untitled Unmastered, and even the recently deceased David Bowie's final two albums, is Iggy Pop's Post Pop Depression.

Pop, 68, is the elder statesman of wild, unfettered American rock, frontman of proto-punk legends The Stooges and an influence on generations of significant acts from the Sex Pistols in the 1970s to Nirvana in the 1990s.

With Post Pop Depression, his 17th solo album and, as he said in a recent interview, possibly his last, Pop is not about to go gently into the good night.

As the album title suggests, this is his way of dealing with coming towards the end of a long and weighty career.

Post Pop Depression is also rock 'n' roll as it should be - feral, untamed and unconstrained by a need for niceties and decorum.

  • GARAGE ROCK

  • POST POP DEPRESSION

    Iggy Pop

    Loma Vista

    4.5/5 stars

"I've shot my gun/I've used my knife/This hasn't been an easy life/I'm hoping for American Valhalla," he sings in American Valhalla, in a deep, dark voice not unlike that of the late Bowie, a close collaborator who worked on Pop's seminal 1970s releases.

He is done with the modern world, where there is too much information and everyone is perpetually plugged into electronic devices.

Album closer Paraguay ends with an extended rant. In some of the more printable parts, he rails: "I'm gonna go to Paraguay/To live in a compound under the trees/With servants and bodyguards who love me/Free of criticism/Free of manners and mores/I wanna be your basic clod/Who made good/ And went away while he could/To somewhere where people are still human beings."

Sonically, Pop sought out contemporary collaborators to flesh out the tunes, enlisting producer and co-songwriter Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age and Eagles Of Death Metal.

While Homme was not performing with Eagles Of Death Metal in Paris when the terrorist attacks happened, the event still distressed him greatly and he has said that working with Pop helped him deal with the tragedy's aftermath.

Pop and Homme worked on the album in secret over the past few months and, to ensure creative independence, co-financed the album themselves.

There is a lot of ground covered style-wise in the nine tracks. Sunday has a galloping, danceable groove, courtesy of drummer Matt Helders from British luminaries Arctic Monkeys, and a grand, orchestral finish.

Gardenia bounces with a funky bass line and shimmery chorus, In The Lobby shines with a psychedelic swagger while Vulture mashes a dramatic, discordant build-up with Spanish guitar flourishes.

Pop's singing stands dominant through it all though, the voice of a man with an assured and unassailable legacy of raw, uncompromising rock 'n' roll.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2016, with the headline 'Untamed Pop'. Print Edition | Subscribe