Iggy Pop: Après – album review

Iggy Pop: Après (Self released)
Out Now

Iggy Pop’s new album is a long way removed from the genre for which he’s most well known, punk. Of itself that’s not necessarily a bad thing but the question is whether or not ‘Mr Pop’ can pull off an album of French folk songs. Read on to find out what Louder Than War writer Maren McGlashan’s verdict on this matter is.

A trailblazing artist widely considered a forefather of punk rock, Iggy Pop is the man who brought us seminal records (cue: “Lust for Life) filled with unforgettable tracks (cue: “The Passenger”). Always radiating a rebellious, angst-driven coolness, Iggy Pop is the “modern guy” who has always stayed true to form ”“ without sticking exclusively to his signature genre. Après, Iggy Pop’s latest release, may not be your typical punk rock fanfare, but it is undoubtedly Iggy.

Though NME lists the official release date as Tuesday, June 19th, Iggy Pop released Après direct-to-fan via his website last month. The album, which consists of mostly French covers, is a follow up to 2009’s Preliminaries, and has a similar, mid-century France flavor. In a press release, Iggy Pop said that “[m]any of these songs are in French, probably because it is French culture which has most stubbornly resisted the mortal attacks of the Anglo-American music machine.” Though Iggy’s quips with the music industry are well-documented as of late, Après spins with such coolness that any trace of animosity simply does not translate. It’s not there, and that’s the point.

The album itself is interesting, delicate and mod, and offers takes on a number of familiar songs. Among these is The Beatles‘ Rubber Soul staple “Michelle,” Edith Piaf’s famous “La Vie En Rose” and Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love?” His version of “Les passantes” is beautiful, and the first track, “Et si tu n’existais pas,” is rich and lively. He even channels his inner folk singer with Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin.”

Crooning vocals, Cole Porter covers, soft melodies, and an all-around sense of everything suave ”“ sure, the material might not be what most would consider rock. However, the punk attitude is there, echoed in every article that offers Iggy’s take on the record. In making Après, Iggy Pop shunned the notion that the album would flop ”“ as well as his label’s suggestion of creating an all-stars of punk disc ”“ and instead created something that resonated with him and his current place in life. Moved by vintage sounds, Iggy wrote that he “wanted to sing some of these songs myself, hoping to bring the feeling I felt as a listener to my listeners through my voice.”

I would be lying if I said that I enjoy every moment of this record. Truthfully, there are more than a few tracks that I’d be apt to skip when listening to Après again, which is largely due to my personal musical tastes and preferences. Regardless, this is a clean record fit for all of the places that Lust for Life and Fun House are not. Most importantly, however, is the cementing of Iggy Pop’s role as a multi-dimensional artist. At age 65, he’s still churning out quality records that move him in a fresh, forward direction.

All words by Maren McGlashan. You can read more from Maren here.

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