Iggy Pop sets out his stall from the very first lines of new album Every Loser ‘Got a dick and two balls/That’s more than you all’.
At the ripe old age of 75, the Dorian Gray of punk rock is back with a provocative, potty-mouthed assault on the eardrums that revives the trailblazing, chest-slashing days of his youth.
Opener Frenzy as the title suggests is a frenetic, splenetic power chord thrash, Iggy screaming ‘I’m in a frenzy/you fucking prick/you goddam dick’.
Subtle it ‘aint, but there is a knowing, self-deprecating humour about it all.
There’s even a nod to his advancing years; ‘My mind is on fire/When I oughta retire‘.
This is raging against the dying of the light writ large.
There’s more fast-paced riffola on Modern Day Rip Off and elements of hardcore on Neo Punk – on both songs the old master appearing to take a bit of a pop, if you will, at the young pretenders.
‘Emotionally I’m a celebrity,‘ he spits on Neo Punk, ‘I don’t have to sing/I’ve got publishing.’
Producer Andrew Watt sprinkles a pop sheen over the proceedings, but there’s an overwhelming sense that this is Iggy in the studio having fun jamming with his mates.
Those mates are an A-list roster of players including Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, Blink 182’s Travis Barker, Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard and Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro and Eric Avery.
Red Hot Chili Peppers are represented by drummer Chad Smith and former guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, while the late Foo Fighters‘ sticksman Taylor Hawkins can be heard on Comments and the excellent five-minute closing track The Regency.
It’s not all balls out rock’n’ roll, there’s a stylish homage to his adopted hometown on New Atlantis. Iggy crooning with real affection for this ‘beautiful whore of a city‘.
‘Coming here is the best thing I ever did – Miami I love you.‘
He draws on personal experience for heroin ballad Strung Out Johnny – his baritone voice, warm and enveloping as though matured over oak barrels.
This might be sacrilege, but the lilting Americana of The Morning Show brings to mind U2‘s One.
An elegiac tale of someone preparing for an interview, it contains some of the record’s loveliest lines:
‘A future that is hopeless/Just makes each day delicious‘; ‘Time is like a peel/It opens and reveals‘.
Not everything works. There are two, minute-long, spoken word curios, which feel underdeveloped.
But on the whole this is fine record. Iggy Pop as fierce, immediate and direct as he’s been in decades.
Every Loser may not be as essential, say, as 2016’s Bowie and Berlin drenched Post-Pop Depression – but there’s clearly life in the old dog yet.
A welcome return to the Raw Power of The Stooges and well worth splashing your Christmas cash on.
- Every Loser is out Friday, 6 January on Andrew Watt’s Gold Tooth label via Atlantic Records. Pre-order here
- Iggy Pop is due to play a one-off headline show Dog Day Afternoon at London’s Crystal Palace Park on Saturday, July 1, 2023. The bill also includes Blondie and the Billy Idol-fronted Generation Sex.