Iggy Pop is to punk what Ozzy Osbourne is to heavy metal and James Brown is to soul. When I was an angry young man, the music of his first three albums with the Stooges (The Stooges s/t, Funhouse, and Raw Power) inspired me to pursue my own garage-punk and grunge projects. Iggy was wild, raw, real and unyielding. The Stooges’ proto–punk trilogy lit the fuse on the powder keg that exploded into punk rock in the late 70s. In 1977, Iggy released two albums, The Idiot, and Lust for Life. Recorded in Berlin and produced by David Bowie, these albums were the twin pillars upon which alternative music developed.
Now, with the help of Josh Homme and friends, Iggy is transporting us back to the glory of his 1977 releases. Due out March 18th, Post Pop Depression is an extension of the post–punk journey that was started with The Idiot and Lust for Life. Joining him on the record are Joshua Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Dean Fertita (QOTSA), and Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys). On January 21st, the release of the album was announced on The Late Show and the first single, “Gardenia” was debuted live.
“Gardenia” stands out with each additional listen. Homme and Co. bring a funky, new–wave groove while Iggy croons with a deep, gravely growl. The verses feature a sharp, crunchy guitar that picks up during the chorus to deliver a wavering, wavy pulsation with some slick guitar work by Homme. Iggy pleads poetically for a girl with a gardenia in her hair and, in the chorus, cries, “All I wanna do is tell Gardenia what to do tonight." The lyrics are dark and beautiful and Iggy’s vocal performance calls back to late seventies cuts like “Tiny Girls” and “Tonight.” The recently deceased David Bowie’s influence is crystal clear on “Gardenia.” Not only is it reminiscent of the Bowie/Iggy collaborations of the late seventies, but it also seems as if Bowie himself would have felt right at home on this track, making his untimely death an addition to the bittersweet tone.
The drums throughout the track are crisp and tonally lush. The low–end bass work on this track stands out above much else. The funky, syncopated bass, meaty and thick with just a touch of overdrive, drives the song along and enhances the song tenfold. The guitars and bass carry heavy resemblance to Queens of the Stone Age. While they don’t possess the same doom and gloom as they do on 2013’s …Like Clockwork, the band’s fingerprints are still all over the track, especially in the bridge, which is the standout moment of “Gardenia.” The instrumentation climaxes and becomes a roar with Homme soloing in his distinctive style and Iggy crying out “We lay in the darkness/Then she turned the lights on.” The bridge is a moment that brings out the best in the Iggy/Homme collaboration.
I am excited to hear the rest of Post Pop Depression. This collaboration looks to be the perfect storm: the godfather of the punk movement and the most exciting man in modern rock. Alone, Iggy and Homme have created some of the most interesting and influential tunes around. Together, their power could be unparalleled in today’s musical landscape. If you’re looking for a blend of old and new that sweetens with every listen, check out “Gardenia” now and Post Pop Depression on March 18th.