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Iggy Pop - Every Loser (Album Review)

Monday, 16 January 2023 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Vincent Guignet

Whether you have found yourself listening to Iggy Pop’s BBC Radio 6 show, or hacking through his back catalogue searching vainly for punk treasure akin to his biggest hits, it’s useful to think of the Michigander as a performance artist, rather than a rock musician.

And that’s one of the reasons there is something slightly rote about ‘Every Loser’, his 19th studio album. The record, created with pop producer du jour Andrew Watt, calls on rock grandees for its sonic integrity in the form of, among others, Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, Chad Smith of the Chili Peppers and Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam.

It acts like a bit of a retrospective of the 75 year old’s career and packages new songs as accessible pop-rock, seemingly trying to broaden the appeal of a singer who has reached his eighth decade forging a pop career on his own terms.

As such, what you have is an album that works very well on strangely shallow terms. All the tracks tick over nicely and the arrangements are far more accessible than a lot of Pop’s sludgy, more influential work.

But the main interest comes from the lyrics and performance of Pop himself, particularly on Strung Out Johnny (“God made me a junkie / Satan told me so”) and New Atlantis, with its description of Miami as “a beautiful whore of a city”.

Beyond that, it just doesn’t really click. As mentioned, Pop is as much a punk circus performer as songwriter; as much iconoclast as icon. To accuse him of selling out here is to have not really been paying attention to his career in the first place. Similar commercially-focused undertakings were completed decades apart with David Bowie on ‘Lust for Life’ (1977) and Josh Homme on ‘Post-Pop Depression’ (2016), and both of these landed with more success. 

‘Every Loser’ is a bad album because it exposes Pop outside of his comfort zone. It sounds like it was recorded in a luxury studio by a bunch of professional, rich old dudes. In this context, the anti-establishment growls of Iggy Pop do not land with much chutzpah. It feels like music for people who aren't really into music.

Iggy Pop Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat July 01 2023 - LONDON Crystal Palace Park

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