Iggy Pop

by Jack Diablo
Album: Preliminaires
Artist: Iggy Pop
Label: Astralwerks
Release Date: June 2, 2009
It would appear that Iggy Pop has finally grown up. At least that’s what you might infer from even the most cursory listen of his latest solo release.
Preliminaires is essentially a musical score to The Possibility of an Island, a novel written by Michel Houllebecq. Pop was inspired to create the album while writing songs for a documentary about the author and his work. The album features artwork by Marjane Satrapi, the author and illustrator of the graphic novel, Persepolis. Set for release on June 2nd, it is a far cry from what you’ve come to expect from the punk rock legend.
Departing from his roots, the album is less Raw Power and more along the lines of Leonard Cohen or even Serge Gainsbourg. The opening track, ‘Les Feuilles Mortes,’ will have you doubting whether or not you are indeed listening to the same strung-out hedonist who wrote ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog.’ And from there it only gets more bizarre.
From the New Orleans jazz-infused ‘King of the Dogs’ to the bossa nova beat in ‘How Insensitive,’ Iggy dabbles in just about every unexpected style. Preliminaires becomes more and more unbelievable as it progresses. The cheesy backbeat of ‘Party Time’ sounds like a bad Flight of the Conchords parody. The only part of the album that holds any weight as something you’d associate with Iggy Pop is the bluesy riff and stomping beat of ‘Je Sais Que Tu Sais,’ later recycled in two other tracks, ‘He’s Dead/She’s Alive’ and ‘She’s a Business.’
You can blame the surprising change in direction on all the “idiot thugs with guitars banging out crappy music,” as Iggy puts it. And I suppose the old man has earned some artistic freedom. Given the alternative of trying to prove his relevance to a younger generation, it is respectable that he’s trying to be creative and make the music he wants to hear. I just don’t know if the world is ready to hear him tackle spoken word or croon in French.
You won’t find any singles or instant classics on this album. In fact, if you’re an old Stooges fan, you’ll probably hate it. And while I won’t write the album off as particularly bad or misguided, it does seem a tad bit self-indulgent. I honestly can’t think of an audience that this would appeal to beyond the mildly curious.

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may, 2022

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