Jeremy Gluck (Barracudas) : my top 10 favourite albums : number 8 : Iggy Pop
The Idiot – Iggy Pop
(For number 9 in Jeremy Gluck’s top 10 favourite albums please go here)
When Iggy decamped to Berlin to make “The Idiot” with David Bowie, The Stooges had already made three of the most important albums of all time, their post-Altamont, biker acid Midwestern mania one day to rebirth garage punk. But Berlin wasn’t about that. It was about staying clean, sightseeing, and now and then making it to the studio, where Bowie, with all of his usual efficiency (a man who could launch D-Day for a hobby) had prepared for his Michigan muse a musical melange fit to not-die for. Iggy was reborn in the spirit; it was up to Bowie to get him reborn in the grooves.
And so he did, laying down track after track of murky, somewhat twisted but also beautifully innocent sound to compliment Iggy’s improvised lyrics and greatest vocals. Students of history both, the irony and aptness of rebuilding Iggy’s career on the ruins of the Third Reich escaped neither of the dyspeptic duo. This is music with its feet in history, musical, metaphorical and maybe mystical. It’s a pilgrimage by one man to a country his country conquered to make peace with his own demons and those of a century. You might think I am overstating the case with such florid flights, but I defy you to listen to “Funtime” or “Baby” and not be moved by their surprising earnest, studious and precise inference of everything from Junkers to junkies. Much as the I love The Stooges, to me this contrite, concise, rehab Ig is his moment of glory. “Death Trip” is riveting, but it’s “The Idiot”’s unlikely life trip that in the end grabs me, the sound of a man rising from his own ashes and blowing them in your face. As for Bowie’s magisterial co-writing and production…well, at his best that pretty much comes as standard.