Posts Tagged ‘ 1977 ’

Iggy Pop “The Idiot”

The Idiot

Iggy Pop’s “The Idiot” is a record that breaks a lot of rules musically. It’s sweet but classless. It’s reminiscent as well as groundbreaking. Its sound is timeless as it is dated. This album will make you as confused as the mad men who wrote it. This is classic Iggy for the main reason that it’s nothing like he’s done before. It’s immediately likable for that best of reasons: because you don’t have a clear-cut idea of why you like it.

As soon as “Sister Midnight” kicks in, the influences of the album’s co-author are evident. David Bowie (specifically of the Berlin Trilogy variety) touched this project. The man produced it and shares writing royalties from the first to last track, and it’s heard throughout.

This undoubtedly had a major hand in pop’s new direction, but that’s not to undermine the growth of Iggy as an artist.

This record showcases a lyrical prowess that wasn’t always expressed with The Stooges. Maybe it was the lack of the machine gun guitars, presence of the more soulful Bowie (prevalent on the track“Tiny Girls”) or the stay in the mental hospital that changed him, but pop music morphed.

“Nightclubbing” has a heartbeat intro that slowly bleeds life into the rest of the arrangement. It rises like a sedated Frankenstein and moves heavily towards Iggy’s lyrics – which have him sounding like he’s singing in an S & M themed karaoke bar. The song, along with “Funtime” and “Dum Dum Boys”, sets the stage for the new theme of the record – Iggy’s taking his time. He’s going to sing these songs slow and steady, fused with a new baritone and an amazing grasp of minimalist songwriting. “China Girl” is a perfect example. Take in the lines of any of these songs at face value and they can be dismissed just as easily as they were ingested. Accept the flaws and you will be rewarded.

Some may long for the frenzied sound of Raw Power. Some may dismiss the otherworldliness that reels in “Mass Production” – the closing track. But deserters will miss out on a lot of what makes The Idiot such an iconic album…the mood.
Iggy would make another record (the also brilliant Lust For Life) with Bowie at the helm the same year before moving on. Both are poignant because they accomplish a true rarity: a recording that is testament to a time when an artist had nothing to lose.

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The Beach Boys “Love You”

Love You

This is my 2nd favorite Beach Boys record. But damn if I didn’t have to work for it. When you are a Beach Boys nut, everything you read about this record makes you want to conquer it, but it simply isn’t possible your first time through.

On around your 5th time you start to get the hang of the songs. Clearly you are already digging I’ll Bet He’s Nice, easily the stand-out track with its chirpy, whirring, bubbly synth attacks, and maybe even laughing along with Johnny Carson, which the Boys actually got to perform on the late night show! When you hear it the 6th and 7th times, you’ll be by yourself and it’ll be during a nap, but it is at this point that The Night Was So Young and Airplane stuck in your head. Even the album opener should start to resonate with that Love You warmth around now.

10 plus listens and you’ll be tired of Pet Sounds. Even Let’s Put Our Hearts Together is starting to sound good and you simply love Dennis’ I Wanna Pick You Up and Brian’s soaring Love Is A Woman. It takes getting used to, but Brian’s ragged voice and the orchestra of synthesizers on this album weave a sonic and melodic tapestry as retro, textured and beautiful as its quilted album cover.

You can ignore 15 Big Ones (the album packaged along with Love You as a twofer), in fact I would recommend searching for Love You on vinyl so you don’t have to deal with it. Actually, there is one magic take on Big Ones: Had To Phone Ya.

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“Let Us Go On This Way”

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