Punk Legend Iggy Pop Teams up With Josh Homme for the Intriguing and Introspective ‘Post Pop Depression’
For whatever reason, post-Stooges Iggy Pop has always been at his most memorable when paired with a strong and established musical guide. The punk rock icon just needs someone who is able to reign in the spastic and raw vocal power that spews from his wiry, shirtless body. David Bowie was able to do that in the 70s, pulling Pop out of the depths of drug addiction to produce and collaborate on two albums, “The Idiot” and “Lust for Life.” Fast forward a few decades and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age appears to have taken up that torch. The pair has brought the world “Post Pop Depression,” an LP that channels Pop’s punk rock energy into a set of thoughtful, well-crafted rock ‘n roll tunes. The album was recorded in secret with Homme and contributions from Queens of the Stone Age bassist Dean Fertita and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders.
When the first single “Gardenia” was performed on national television, fans salivated at the thought of Pop releasing a late-career masterpiece like the late David Bowie. After several raucous live appearances, it would appear that Pop has plenty of gas left in his tank. However, he has hinted in interviews that this could very well be the last piece of music he ever records and releases. At 68, he has the perspective to know it is more dignified to fade away versus burning out – a shocking sentiment for anyone with a superficial knowledge of his reputation. With that in mind, the album does not see Pop trying to be anyone other than himself and lyrically the album touches on themes like accepting the inevitable end of one’s career.
While Pop’s 17th studio album does not reach the level of transcendence of Bowie’s final album, that is hardly a damning criticism of “Post Pop Depression.” It is easily one of the landmark releases in Iggy Pop’s discography and at just nine tracks is powerful from bottom to top. It is a musically diverse and instrumentally rich set of songs touching on elements of The Stooges and Pop’s solo career while gracefully blending Homme’s modern sensibilities into the mix. Lyrically and vocally, this is still very much a Pop record with songs like “Vulture” and “American Valhalla” fitting perfectly alongside his greatest songs like “The Passenger.”
“Post Pop Depression” is buoyed by two strong singles, “Break Into Your Heart” and “Gardenia.” As the first and second songs on the album, they make for a powerful opening that hooks the listener in, never releasing its grip. “American Valhalla” offers one of the most introspective moments on the album concluding with the line “I’m nothing but my name.” This is an extremely self-aware statement for Pop, a man who is firmly entrenched as a legend in music history despite having only one song (“Lust for Life”) that is easily recognizable to the masses. “Sunday” impresses with a sinewy but melodic guitar riff that brings back memories of Television’s “Marquee Moon.” “Post Pop Depression” closes in a most appropriate manner with “Paraguay,” its longest track. The final minutes of the song and the album feature a chorus of QOTSA-style chants that back up an expletive-filled rant that is pure, undistilled, vintage Iggy Pop.