The Godfather of Punk is back! At 68, one of the greatest rock stars ever, Iggy Pop, is still on top of his game. When he dropped “Gardenia” on Thursday night, the internet went into meltdown – before anyone had even heard the track. Not only was Iggy back, but he’d put together a supergroup: Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal) on guitar and backing vocals, Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) on drums and Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age, The Dead Weather) on bass. It’s a fantasy lineup, with the type of names you would choose to create your dream band.
Or that’s where your imagination would first take you. However, your inner cynic might pipe up just as you get lost in your day dream – when have a supergroup ever been as good as they should be? In this case though, that cynical side of you needs to remember who is at the centre of this project: Josh Homme. Arguably the greatest rockstar of the 21st century. Besides his two incredible bands, he produced the third Arctic Monkey’s record, and has collaborated with the likes of Foo Fighters, PJ Harvey, The Strokes and Biffy Clyro. Not to mention his last foray into the world of supergroups: Them Crooked Vultures, which consisted of himself, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana) and John Paul Jones (Led Zepplin). Their self-titled debut was a triumphant example that classic rock and roll will never die.
So is there a better man to have producing your album? I don’t think so, and neither does Iggy Pop. He works magic at his studio in the desert of Joshua Tree, CA and if “Gardenia” is anything to go by, Post Pop Depression is going to be one of the best records of 2016. It’s already one of the most highly anticipated. The track itself has such an irresistible groove to it. The vocals Iggy provides are some of the most tender he has ever recorded. These are over the top of a delicious lick, which weaves its way into your consciousness. Underpinned by a bassline so goddam funky that your leg will start twitch uncontrollably. And I haven’t even mentioned Helder’s beat or Homme’s space-cowboy backing vocals yet (made famous on the Arctic Monkeys’ Suck It & See and AM). It’s a potent mix and Iggy’s rasping refrain “All I wanna do is tell Gardenia what to do tonight” is an earworm that won’t leave your skull any time soon.
The gut reaction to “Gardenia” is: wow, that sounds like a Bowie track. In fact it channels early 70s Bowie so much, that some rumours are sweeping the internet that Iggy has been possessed. Obviously this is nonsense, but there’s no denying how much this track owes to the Starman. In the 70s, though, both Bowie and Pop moved to Berlin to dispel themselves of their drug demons. They collaborated a lot in that period, with Bowie producing Iggy’s Lust For Life and The Idiot, the albums that most closely resemble “Gardenia”. The Thin White Duke has clearly left his mark on Iggy.
As you can probably tell, I’m already thrilled at the prospect of hearing Post Pop Depression. That is the joy of music, the way releases appear out of nowhere and fill you with excitement. Music is a gift, and in this case it comes in the form of a 68 year old punk-rocker.
Scroll down to see Iggy performing with his new group (He's wearing a shirt!)
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