Saturday, May 19, 2012

Iggy Pop - The Idiot



If you’re planning on taking your own life tonight, may I suggest Iggy Pop’s The Idiot.

Too soon?

Yes, it was thirty-two years ago tonight where Ian sat down to a viewing of Werner Herzog’s Stroszek and a spin of Iggy Pop’s The Idiot.

Then he went to the kitchen to grab a bite to eat.

His wife found him the next morning, and I assumed put all of this together. It seems plausible. And The Idiot is a really good album.

It time to think so; can you remember the first time you heard it? If you haven’t yet, remember it, write it down. I’m curious to hear what Iggy novices think about it or, like me, familiar with his repertoire to the point where you can compare it to Idiot.

Truth is, I hated it. The Idiot was so unlike anything else in Pop’s catalog, never mind that it sounded like Iggy was just as loaded as he was during Kill City, it was just that he had Bowie funding the dope for him.

It’s confirmed with the fact that Bowie made RCA hold on to The Idiot for just a little while longer so that Dave could be the first to market with a Berlin trilogy, making it seem that he was the one who taught dum dum Jim Osterberg everything.

Actually, The Idiot is the record that truly confirmed Pop was a certified genius, briefly breaking away from that dumb Michigan shtick just long enough to see that, even if he’s not fully in charge of his capacities or the control board, Iggy Pop is capable of delivering a left-field hit of epic proportions.

The sound is as unexpected today as it must of have sounded back then, the claustrophobia is menacing and there’s a general unease throughout it. This is the part of the review where I tell you that I really like the record now, but I think it’s important to explain how this weird-sounding thing planted a fucking seed in my head telling me to keep coming back to it.

The Idiot is the equivalent of sharing an 8-ball of cocaine with your friend and you decide to start recording the room at 4:00 in the morning. It’s that time when your forehead feels tingly and the coke becomes more of a need than anything else.

Oh wait, someone left this rhythm machine behind…

The irony is that the most “normal” song on the record is the one that begins by naming off all the friends who have o.d.’d or died. “Dum Dum Boys” produces a sensible song structure and good rock groove, but then Iggy appears like he’s had a bottle of wine or three, singin’ “Dah Dah Dah Dah Dum Dum Day.”

Because there are times after work, driving home just trying to shake of the fact that you’re no longer at work, when I feel like singing through the marbles of “All aboard for fun times,” just dreaming for a chance to stay up late in a coke-fueled panic.

By “Tiny Girls,” the dawn is starting to creep through the curtains when suddenly Iggy brings in a smooth sax. It takes the edge off, particularly when Bowie fucks around with the echo.

“Mass Production” is probably the best song Neu! Ever wrote, mainly because Iggy Pop sings it. It’s the record’s forgotten treasure, a big-rock ending to an anti-rock concept album with Iggy politely mentioning, “By the way, I’m going for cigarettes” after David stops fucking around with a synthesizer.

By my count, I’d say it took at least a dozen spins for me to get comfortable with The Idiot’s art-damaged interior, to find the pleasure in its icy restraints and outta mind adventurism.

But once there, I was hooked

Get me a pack of Marlboro’s, Jim.

1 comment:

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