April 15, 2016

Iggy Pop - The Idiot (1977)


The Idiot is every bit as much of a David Bowie album as it is an Iggy Pop album. I'm not trying to undersell Iggy's genius, but effectively communicate just how incredible this is. When Bowie was at the peak of his output, not only did he release best-selling albums to much critical acclaim, he brought his proto-punk heroes back into the light, most notably Iggy and Lou Reed, by producing their albums and releasing them on his label. The Idiot is one of Iggy Pop's weirdest albums (in the sense that it's pretty unrepresentative of his output and in the sense that it's just straight up strange). Iggy really roams out of his previous role as fun and noisy proto-punk singer and lends his voice to a much different atmosphere. He sounds psychotic and alienated in a much different way than on his albums with the Stooges. It's difficult for me to describe the album's sound. Inverted glam rock. The only way I can put it. Whenever I listen to this I feel like I'm living in some dystopian fiction piece. The instrumentation Bowie selected and the arrangements he came up with put up to Iggy's unstable baritone have the weirdest effect on me. Bowie's choice to hardly master the album at all (at least this is how it sounds to me--China Girl seems like it wasn't touched at all in the booth), makes the album even darker. Not only did The Idiot change how people perceive Iggy Pop's entire career, but it was influential to to all post-punk albums in some way or another. Very historically important and essential listening.