Friday, April 8, 2016
Iggy Pop is the man to go against expectations, especially in the sense that he hasn't yet died. For decades he was on the list as The Next Rock Star to Die, in the wake of Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and the lesser known musicians who've died young. Iggy's tale is as horrendous as it got for pop musicians, all sorts of bad habits and tough breaks visited him like spirits to a hard knocks convention, the culmination of such things usually being fatal, as in dead, as dead as a beef jerky, if not as tasty. Pop pulled out of the tailspin, though, cleaned up and, thanks in large part to the recently belated David Bowie, became, even more, the artist than he was before. An icon and proof that one can survive from the Edge and have the severe experience lend authenticity to the angry three chord bashing you perform in front of. His legacy is such that he could just about sing anything he chooses and have critics slobber over with foamy superlatives. Apres, his album of covers of French songs, is that bridge collapsing.It's an album worth skipping. It is his version of The Great American Songbook fad, where fade rock belters like Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, and Cyndi Lauper attempted to become "real singers" but offering piecemeal versions of very old tunes. The results varied wildly artist to artist; there were not enough interesting interpretations of old ballads and standards for it to be anything more than a fad, like the notion that Rock and Roll is an art form on a par with, say, professional wrestling. Iggy tackling French tunes just seems pretentious; Mr. Pop has an expressive range midway between a car alarm and a beluga impaled on a bendy straw. It is a voice best saved for the personal bits of self-defining rage that continue to be his genius. Everything else he might try is baloney by definition.