Genre: Art Rock/Garage Rock
Producer: Josh Homme
Released: March 18, 2016
There are few as prolific and established musicians alive today as Iggy Pop. First making his name as the frontman of the proto-punk outfit The Stooges, Pop’s career spans over six decades. The new release, Post Pop Depression, is the rock icon’s 17th studio album. Despite being labeled as Iggy Pop’s solo record, the album was done in collaboration with the Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme. This is a death-related therapy record for both of them: Pop explores the themes of mortality after the passing of his friend and former collaborator David Bowie, while Homme processes his thoughts after his show became the center stage of the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks.
Homme also produced the album, which can be clearly heard. Post Pop Depression sounds a lot more like a Queens of the Stone Age record, especially the 2013’s …Like Clockwork, than an Iggy Pop one. Given that …Like Clockwork was one of the better rock albums of the past few years, this is not necessarily a bad thing, even if it feels like occasionally that Homme does his best to hog the spotlight. It is interesting how different moods the two albums have despite similar soundscape: while Clockwork was eerie, alienating and aggressive, Depression is somber, smooth and oddly alluring. This is clearly a conscious choice on Pop’s part, singing how he’s “gonna Break Into Your Heart” on the opening track of the same name.
In addition to …Like Clockwork, Post Pop Depression shares many similarities with David Bowie’s recent Blackstar. Both are dark, grim albums from veteran artists coming to terms with their own mortality in their twilight years. Similarly to Bowie on Blackstar, Pop utilizes the age-brought frailness of his voice to his full advantage, sounding firm and fragile simultaneously. Lyrically speaking the album is solid, with one exception: “Chocolate Drops” has interesting insights on fame and how people’s views on a person will change after reaching stardom. However, I feel like there could’ve been a better way to express this than “shit turns into chocolate drops”.
On “American Valhalla” Pop is looking for some sort of lasting legacy after he’s gone, worrying about what he will leave behind. This is a common theme on Post Pop Depression, right down to its title: what will there be after Iggy Pop? Pop has mentioned that he’s “closing up” after the record. While I heavily doubt this will be the last we hear of Iggy Pop, Post Pop Depression is a worthy swan song.