IGGY POP

Post Pop Depression (Loma Vista)

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A morbid sensibility lies just under the easy rock surface of Post Pop Depression¸ the newest album by Iggy Pop. It's the first after the death of his friend and collaborator David Bowie, whose ghost seems to haunt the album, most conspicuously in the vocals. When Pop sings, "Death is the pill that's hard to swallow," the melancholy brushes up against the sheen provided by Queens of the Stone Age guitarist and superproducer Josh Homme.

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Homme excels at making records that sound like authentic classic rock albums dug up from some lost 1970s vault. But he tends to make the same classic rock album every time. When it goes well, you get one of Homme's own albums. When it goes badly, you get the Artic Monkeys album Humbug. Post Pop Depression lands in the middle.

When Pop hits a great lyrical turn of phrase, Post Pop Depression charms like his 1977 breakout Lust for Life. To wit: "When you get to the bottom you're near the top / Where shit turns into chocolate drops." The last two tracks, "Chocolate Drops" included, are the best. On "Paraguay," Homme and Pop find their balance. The two lead an a cappella blues chant before the track kicks in—"Wild animals they do / never wonder why / just do what they goddamn do"—that could serve as a mission statement for both the album and Pop himself. That statement is all the more welcome when it returns, when Pop degenerates into the paranoid spoken-word rant that's been percolating for the 40 minutes preceding it. recommended