Friday, July 1, 2011

Iggy Pop- The Idiot

Fuck Elvis, Iggy Pop is the king of rock n roll, don't believe me, just ask Henry Rollins... Thanks Henry!!! get that reference, and you're way cool. also, i hate capitalizing things and using all the right punctuation and stuff, so im gonna quit that now, im too dyslexic, it just gets in the way, i hope thats cool with you...
this is my favorite record ever and i talk about it way too much, i guess thats why i figured it might as well be my first post. i know theres a cult out there that feels the same way i do, but i also know theres a lot of dudes and dudettes that overlook or feel underwhelmed by it. its unlike anything else by iggy, and honestly, its kinda unlike anything else in general, except bowie's "low" and "heroes" and, i guess, the early krautrock that inspired the record (kraftwerk, neu!, and can, being my favorites), ill get to that stuff in a second though. what i really want to say in this paragraph is the fact that i know and understand that its weird, and thats why its so amazing. iggy himself said that this album was "freedom."
some general information before we really get into it, gonna keep it light because you can just look this stuff up yourself.
david bowie and iggy pop moved to west berlin in '76. "low"by bowie,  came out first, but really, they were working together on songs for the idiot first. basically, bowie was experimenting with the new influence of krautrock and used the idiot as a guinea pig for his later works. which in reality, is a total dick move, but the corners cut, the quick one takes and experimentation that took place on the idiot just adds to the record. strangely enough, the freedom and carelessness bowie allowed himself on the idiot, that he wouldnt allow to go on his own records, i feel, made it the best out of the three in the berlin trilogy. well, that and iggy being a complete fucking genius.
i dont really just want to just say "this record is cool" or write like some rock journalist that uses metaphors on top of metaphors to explain things, so lets just listen to the tracks and ill point out stuff i think is cool, ok?

1. Sister Midnight
i cant imagine what those stooges fans in detroit felt when they heard this first track of the new "iggy stooge" record in '77. ill admit even i would have probably immediately just thrown my headphones off and yelled "what the fuck is this?!"
its droney and repetitive, but least of all is it boring. a love ballad to the night and the introfucktion to iggys new deep, monotone voice thats carried throughout by layers upon layers of drunken synths, noisey, high trebled guitars, deep ambient guitars, and a subtle but driving rhythm section. my favorite parts are the little bleepy bloops in the middle and how much tension gets created throughout the song. it feels like inviting some friends over for a little pre-party before a big night, but then you just end up shitfaced by the time you step out of your house.

2. Nightclubbing

first things first, that drum machine track, which wasnt intended for the actual song. it was just used while writing, but iggy insisted on keeping it instead of getting a real drummer. awesome. so awesome, in fact, that its been sampled a billion fucking times "closer" by nin anyone? actually, i dont want to get started on how much trent reznor bit this album and made a career off it. trent, i dont hate you but ... 
theres a million songs about going out nightclubbing with your gal pals, but nothing like this. its a parody on the cliche. if i didnt know english i would think this song was about drudging through toxic waste. one of the toughest songs ever and the contradiction between the feeling it excretes and the subject matter are perfection. also, its the only song on the record david wasnt just backing vocals on. he knew it too, this song was special.

3. Funtime
funtime is just nuts. its my favorite song on the album and for me epitomizes what this album was about. the production alone is insane. i feel like there were years of me listening to this and everytime i heard this song i heard something new. there's those big guitar noises, and then the low volumed guitar rocking back and forth. that pretty electronic bell thing. super simple, heavy as fuck bass and driving toms. and then the cacophony of noise at the end, theres things in there you just quickly catch for a second and then it goes away. 
then theres iggys lyrics which are just as perfect as the music and production. "last night i was down in the lab, talkin to dracula and his crew." so cool... his lyrics are poetic and totally individualized, with humor and sarcasm, and a unique ability to be philosophic and deep, with dumb guy words, completely on purpose.
...and the delivery of his words, apparently david told him to sing like mae west. 

4. Baby
the bass steals the show here. mixed with the pretty synths and davids backing "hoohs." another atypical song with a classic premise. just soak this song in. stop reading and just soak.

5. China Girl
david covered this for iggy to get him out of a finacial jam. what a friend. its a good cover too, big hit. he threw in disco bass and said "shhh." a lot more, but a polished disco hit doesnt compare to the grit of the original, and the toy piano, and that screech of iggys at the bridge. thats heartbreak, apparently he wrote it about a crush he had on another mans babe who was recording at the same studio. iggy gave her his heart and she gave him the "shhh." 

6. Dum Dum Boys
an ode to the boys in the stooges. iggy even references himself at the beginning "what about james? hes gone straight." this song feels like, as the listener, ive taken just as many drugs as the stooges. its walking around barely able to stand up. wasting away in a pile of booze and junk. 
it used to be my least favorite song on the record. i used to find it kinda boring or maybe a little annoying (which probably sums up his relationship with the boys in the stooges at the time) but for some reason the guitar riffs would get stuck in my head. and everytime i would stand up and realize i had a few too many this song would play in the back of my mind. its grown on me.

7. Tiny Girls
i love this track. the softness of the saxophone and the organ and the ride of the drums. then the sharp edge of the guitar and the lyrics. this song hits you somewhere. its too honest. its another one that im just going to shut and let you listen to. 
wait, hear that low volumed, low pitch distorted guitar. neat. 

8. Mass Production
what an end. everything just melts together.

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