Maturity Replaces Anarchy on Iggy Pop’s New Release

Photo Courtesy of Yves Lorson, Wikipedia

With a legendary career spanning 50 years in the business, the one thing audiences can expect from Iggy Pop is that he does not care about anyone’s expectations of him. The godfather of punk has been able to hold onto this esteemed title by eschewing all anticipations and remaining true to the ethos of punk by doing whatever he wants.

When Pop implied that his latest album – “Post Pop Depression” – would be his last, the only surprise was to see the punk icon was finally slowing down. Though with an old-time rock feel still intact, “Post Pop” surprises only in its innocuousness.

Bland as it may be, “Post Pop Depression” is the most fitting album Pop could make at this point in his career. The cover alone recalls a retro punk feel: it features Pop and his band wearing leather jackets, much in the style of The Ramones. But the album still manages to feel modern in a way – after all, Pop is not trying to recapture his youth. He is merely doing what he loves.

Working with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Pop makes authentic rock music in a post-rock world. Iggy himself is still present in all of the tracks –he’s just a bit cooler with age. The tracks on “Post Pop” don’t harness the raw power of his early releases, but follow a similar groove of his work on 1977’s “The Idiot.” Songs like “American Valhalla,” in particular, feature Iggy in his original state: nihilistic and carefree. “I am nothing but my name,” he murmurs as he closes out the track. It’s the most haunting moment Pop has made in years.

Compared to the later releases put out by Pop’s first band The Stooges, “Post Pop Depression” is a highlight in the current trend of rock veterans striving to remain relevant. Songs like “Gardenia” and “Sunday” are some of the funkiest songs Pop has ever put out, possibly influenced by the old-style rock swagger Homme is akin to.

While Homme’s influence is palpable throughout the album, it never overshadows Pop’s songwriting. Overshadowing an icon like Pop is nearly impossible in the first place: just a few bars of his surprisingly well-preserved baritone is enough to show why. Punk was made to be ephemeral, nothing more than three minutes of unadulterated, rebellious potency.

On “Post Pop Depression,” however, Pop retains the potency, but loses a bit of the rebellion. The opening track, “Break Into Your Heart,” has a distinct edge and vitality, but lacks the punch of what made him such a figure in the first place. It is still respectable to see such an icon grow into their sound instead of repurpose for the sake of familiarity.

This is not to say that “Post Pop Depression” doesn’t have energy – it’s just more mature. In place of grit and dirt, there is a refined quality to Pop’s music that’s been lacking even in his past few releases. Though there are very few surprises within the album, it is still a strong note for Pop to bow out on.