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Rock - Released August 29, 1977 | Virgin Catalog (V81)

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released November 8, 2005 | Rhino - Elektra

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
While the Stooges had a few obvious points of influence -- the swagger of the early Rolling Stones, the horny pound of the Troggs, the fuzztone sneer of a thousand teenage garage bands, and the Velvet Underground's experimental eagerness to leap into the void -- they didn't really sound like anyone else around when their first album hit the streets in 1969. It's hard to say if Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton, Dave Alexander, and the man then known as Iggy Stooge were capable of making anything more sophisticated than this, but if they were, they weren't letting on, and the best moments of this record document the blithering inarticulate fury of the post-adolescent id. Ron Asheton's guitar runs (fortified with bracing use of fuzztone and wah-wah) are so brutal and concise they achieve a naïve genius, while Scott Asheton's proto-Bo Diddley drums and Dave Alexander's solid bass stomp these tunes into submission with a force that inspires awe. And Iggy's vividly blank vocals fill the "so what?" shrug of a thousand teenagers with a wealth of palpable arrogance and wondrous confusion. One of the problems with being a trailblazing pioneer is making yourself understood to others, and while John Cale seemed sympathetic to what the band was doing, he didn't appear to quite get it, and as a result he made a physically powerful band sound a bit sluggish on tape. But "1969," "I Wanna Be Your Dog," "Real Cool Time," "No Fun," and other classic rippers are on board, and one listen reveals why they became clarion calls in the punk rock revolution. Part of the fun of The Stooges is, then as now, the band managed the difficult feat of sounding ahead of their time and entirely out of their time, all at once. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 18, 1977 | Virgin Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released August 29, 1977 | Virgin Catalog (V81)

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released March 18, 1977 | Virgin Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released January 1, 1969 | Rhino - Elektra

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Ann Arbor, a stone’s throw from Detroit: this is where The Stooges adventure begins. Such an industrial city could only give birth to this kind of aggressive rock, like a factory machine. The summer of 1969 bears witness to the band’s first musical seismic shift, an eponymous soundtrack to the Modern Times and the unrest which was bound to entail. Armed with wah-wah pedals and distorted, ramshackle fuzz effects, Ron Asheton’s guitars cut through the smoke, Scott Asheton and Dave Alexander’s pounding prehistoric rhythms are merciless and the 22-year-old singer’s lyrics (James Osterberg, aka Iggy Pop) are a call to arms for rebellion. The Vietnamese conflict is stalling, the American youth is disenfranchised, and Iggy and his Stooges wallow in this brilliantly nihilist manifesto, a sort of shamanic style of garage rock carried by anthems I Wanna Be Your Dog, 1969 and No Fun. This first offering from the band was produced by John Cale, having left The Velvet Underground the previous year. There are some daring experimental elements on the album, like the ten-minute-long We Will Fall, featuring Cale’s very own intoxicated violin. And to think that the Stooges’ next album would be even more apocalyptic… This magnificent Deluxe Edition celebrating half a century of The Stooges is made up of the original studio album, now available in Hi-Res 24-Bit quality, as well as a number of alternative takes (including seven never released digitally) as well as John Cale’s first mix of the album, rejected at the time by the label, Elektra. It was actually published for the first time in 2010 but at a speed slower than anticipated. On this 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, everything is in place to celebrate this rock masterpiece’s milestone birthday in the best conditions possible. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released May 29, 2020 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

After the breakup of the Stooges and his admittance to a psychiatric hospital, Iggy Pop was blessed with a guardian angel like no other – David Bowie. The Thin White Duke took Iggy with him to Berlin as he embarked on what would become his Berlin trilogy (Low, Heroes and Lodger). It was during this European escapade which included a sojourn in the Château d’Hérouville 50 miles from Paris, that the Iguana produced two of his greatest solo albums, The Idiot and Lust for Life. As the title indicates, this 7CD box set, The Bowie Years, documents the golden age of Iggy’s solo career. In addition, to the two remastered masterpieces above, it includes a CD of alternative mixes, edited singles and an interview with the singer on recording The Idiot. This musical treasure trove also contains Iggy’s effort to reach the same standard as the Stooges in a wild live performance recorded on March 7th, 1977 at the Rainbow Theatre in London, featuring Bowie on keyboards. In addition, the box set includes the famous T.V. Eye Live, a compilation of excerpts from concerts held in Cleveland, Chicago and Kansas City in March 1977. With Bowie on keyboards, Iggy Pop performs his latest hits at the time, Funtime, Sixteen, Lust for Life and Nightclubbing. Finally, the box set concludes with more live material from a concert at the Agora in Cleveland, as well as recordings from the Mantra Studio in Chicago. The Idiot and Lust For Life are, of course, the two centrepieces of this 7CD rock extravaganza. In the cold decadence and schizophrenic madness of a city still separated in two by the Berlin wall, the two men were inspired by the latest sounds from Kraftwerk, Neu!, Can and all of the bands from the Krautrock scene. Together, Ziggy and Iggy wrote and directed this disturbing masterpiece named The Idiot, (a reference to Dostoyevsky’s eponymous novel), which is full of cheap synths (like on the trance-inducing Nightclubbing), ominous bass lines and minimalist, abrasive and tortured guitars. Iggy even sounds like a drugged-up Sinatra on the track Tiny Girls. Possessing an urban edge, this angular and sinister masterpiece was a superb comeback for Iggy and sounded closer to Bowie’s music than anything the Stooges had produced. Following its release in March 1977, the album greatly influenced many new-wave bands for years to come. Just five months after The Idiot was released, Iggy Pop returned with his second masterpiece Lust For Life, released in August 1977. This second instalment of their collaboration is another treat for the ears but is, in a sense, slightly more uncontroversial and eclectic than the first with more classic rock and less experimentation. Concocted with Bowie once again in the Hansa studios in Berlin, this second solo album by Iggy combines mad rock ‘n’ roll (the song Lust for Life which was given a new lease of life in 1996 when British filmmaker Danny Boyle used it as the opening track on his film Trainspotting), with pop (Tonight) and crooning ballads (Turn Blue). The king Iguana of punk becomes a full-on entertainer in this album and proves that he, too, can croon. Bowie plays the keyboards while brothers Tony and Hunt Sales handle the rhythm and Ricky Gardiner and Carlos Alomar add guitar solos here, there and everywhere. The music he released after The Idiot and Lust For Life didn’t have the same oomph, but it didn’t matter – after the three Stooges albums and these two solo ones, Iggy Pop had already made his way into the rock music history books. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Virgin Records

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If you're willing to count his work in such early regional bands as the Prime Movers and the Iguanas, Iggy Pop has been playing rock & roll for over 40 years as this compilation hits the stores -- meaning there are guys in big-league rock bands who've spent years trying to be Iggy but weren't even alive when the guy first started plugging into the Real O Mind. That, dear readers, is influence, and while the man has had more than his share of creative ups and downs over those four decades, one spin of A Million in Prizes: The Anthology tells you why Iggy has always mattered, and still does -- he has never lost the ability to plug into the primal madness and furious belief that separates great rock & roll from ordinary stuff, and he can call up that near-demonic passion on a regular basis. While this isn't the first career-inclusive Iggy compilation, A Million in Prizes is comprised of two full-loaded CDs, which gives it a scale and scope that bests its closest competition, 1996's solid Nude & Rude: The Best of Iggy Pop, and it also gives full props to his work with the Stooges, featuring 11 songs from that band's various incarnations (though whose idea was it to only include one track from the epochal Fun House? For shame!). As for the solo stuff, this set follows the bizarre roller-coaster ride from the gloomy self-reappraisal of his albums with David Bowie through his desperate efforts to find his own solo voice in the 1980s to his reemergence in the new millennium as an artist who can merge mind and muscle with equal force. While not every album is represented on A Million in Prizes, this offers an accurate and compelling look at the Iggy time line, and the mastering is strong, clear, and loud (especially on the earlier material, which has long merited aural refurbishing). The liner essays from Danny Fields and Lenny Kaye are excellent, and Iggy sums himself pretty well when he tells Fields, "I get up in the morning, I look in the mirror, and I think, 'Hey, you're a pretty interesting guy.'" That may well be rock's greatest understatement, and while A Million in Prizes is hardly the final and definitive statement on Iggy Pop's life and music, as an introduction and career overview it's damn near unbeatable -- at least until Iggy finally gets the box set treatment he so richly deserves. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 6, 2019 | Loma Vista Recordings

Has James Osterberg, a.k.a. Iggy Pop, really found his freedom? More than anything, has he not been restricted by his rock’n’roll wardrobe, his reputation as the Godfather of Punk and his status as a living legend? At the age of 72 Iggy starts his 18th studio album with one simple statement: “I wanna be free.” In 2016 his album Post Pop Depression, produced by Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age, revealed Iggy Pop’s dark and mysterious side, in contrast to his usual image as a tai chi-addicted rockstar… With this short record (only 33 minutes long), Iggy is even more introverted, contemplative and most of all intimate. It’s an atypical record which was produced in close collaboration with the guitarist Sarah Lipstate and the jazz trumpeter Leron Thomas, who has created a hushed, moody atmosphere for him. “This is an album in which other artists speak for me, but I lend my voice. By the end of the tours following Post Pop Depression, I felt sure that I had rid myself of the problem of chronic insecurity that had dogged my life and career for too long. But I also felt drained. And I felt like I wanted to put on shades, turn my back, and walk away. I wanted to be free. I know that’s an illusion, and that freedom is only something you feel, but I have lived my life thus far in the belief that that feeling is all that is worth pursuing; all that you need – not happiness or love necessarily, but the feeling of being free. So this album just kind of happened to me, and I let it happen.” Between art rock, steamy jazz and spoken word (he recites Lou Reed’s poem ‘We Are the People’ and Dylan Thomas’ ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’), Iggy lets his melancholic crooner’s voice explore all kinds of sentiments. In fact, Free sometimes sounds a lot like The Idiot, his synth-drenched masterpiece from 1977 produced with David Bowie in Berlin... Forty years later, Iggy Pop has chosen to liberate himself by confounding his friends and enemies alike, signing one of his most obscure and personal records to date. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Virgin Records

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If you're willing to count his work in such early regional bands as the Prime Movers and the Iguanas, Iggy Pop has been playing rock & roll for over 40 years as this compilation hits the stores -- meaning there are guys in big-league rock bands who've spent years trying to be Iggy but weren't even alive when the guy first started plugging into the Real O Mind. That, dear readers, is influence, and while the man has had more than his share of creative ups and downs over those four decades, one spin of A Million in Prizes: The Anthology tells you why Iggy has always mattered, and still does -- he has never lost the ability to plug into the primal madness and furious belief that separates great rock & roll from ordinary stuff, and he can call up that near-demonic passion on a regular basis. While this isn't the first career-inclusive Iggy compilation, A Million in Prizes is comprised of two full-loaded CDs, which gives it a scale and scope that bests its closest competition, 1996's solid Nude & Rude: The Best of Iggy Pop, and it also gives full props to his work with the Stooges, featuring 11 songs from that band's various incarnations (though whose idea was it to only include one track from the epochal Fun House? For shame!). As for the solo stuff, this set follows the bizarre roller-coaster ride from the gloomy self-reappraisal of his albums with David Bowie through his desperate efforts to find his own solo voice in the 1980s to his reemergence in the new millennium as an artist who can merge mind and muscle with equal force. While not every album is represented on A Million in Prizes, this offers an accurate and compelling look at the Iggy time line, and the mastering is strong, clear, and loud (especially on the earlier material, which has long merited aural refurbishing). The liner essays from Danny Fields and Lenny Kaye are excellent, and Iggy sums himself pretty well when he tells Fields, "I get up in the morning, I look in the mirror, and I think, 'Hey, you're a pretty interesting guy.'" That may well be rock's greatest understatement, and while A Million in Prizes is hardly the final and definitive statement on Iggy Pop's life and music, as an introduction and career overview it's damn near unbeatable -- at least until Iggy finally gets the box set treatment he so richly deserves. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 28, 2019 | Caroline International

On the three albums he recorded for Arista Records in the late '70s and early '80s, Iggy Pop often seemed to be going out of his way to sound like a commercially viable rock musician, or at very least someone who was not quite as strange as his public reputation led people to believe. In 1982, after Iggy's contract with Arista lapsed, he was offered the opportunity to work with Blondie mastermind Chris Stein, who not only produced Zombie Birdhouse, but originally released the album on his own short-lived Animal Records imprint, and Iggy seemed to approach the album as his opportunity to let loose with every musical and lyrical impulse that wouldn't have passed muster on the label that gave us Barry Manilow and Whitney Houston. After the perverse attempt at a dance-pop album that was Party, Zombie Birdhouse certainly seemed like the right idea; Rob DuPrey, who handled the keyboards, guitars, and programming and wrote most of the music, came up with a set of interesting pop tunes, skeletal but full of ideas and sharp angles, often suggesting a less pretentious and more emotionally direct corollary to the arty approach of the David Bowie-produced The Idiot. But sadly, Iggy himself didn't rise especially well to the occasion here; his lyrics are often a bizarre mélange of free-association without any clear focus, and one senses that Stein was a bit too awed by working with his hero to have the nerve to tell him when his vocals were wandering off-pitch (or out of tune altogether). Zombie Birdhouse was in many ways a noble experiment, and it's never less than interesting, but it also rarely works the way it's supposed to; ultimately, this album's a failure, but it's certainly one of the most interesting and ambitious failures of Iggy's career, which ought to count for something. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | e-label (name to be changed)

The timing of Iggy Pop's album Preliminaires is probably a product of coincidence and fate rather than careful planning, but it's hard to ignore the fact that just a few months after the unexpected death of Ron Asheton put the Stooges into limbo (at least for a while), Iggy has released an album that almost entirely avoids the issue of rock & roll. In a publicity piece for Preliminaires, Iggy wrote "I just got sick of listening to idiot thugs with guitars," and the man whose music helped inspire so many of those thugs keeps a wary distance from electric guitars on most on this album. Advance reports suggested that Preliminaires would be a jazz album, but that's not accurate, even though one of the best songs on the set, "King of the Dogs," features Iggy borrowing a melody from Louis Armstrong while backed by a traditional New Orleans jazz band. Instead, most of the music on Preliminaires recalls European pop -- music influenced by music influenced by jazz -- and the lion's share of the arrangements resemble some fusion of Serge Gainsbourg and late-period Leonard Cohen, fitted with a distinctly American accent on songs like "Spanish Coast," "I Want to Go to the Beach," and a cover of "How Insensitive." For those put off by such things, "Nice to Be Dead" is dominated by distorted electric guitars and "She's a Business" (like the nearly identical "Je Sais Que Tu Sais") booms with martial drumming, (both recall Iggy's moody solo debut The Idiot), while "He's Dead/ She's Alive" is backed by Pop's powerful acoustic blues guitar. Like 1999's Avenue B, Preliminaires is an introspective set, with Iggy crooning in a low murmur as he contemplates the failings of the world around him; he cites Michel Houellebecq's novel The Possibility of an Island as an influence (Houellebecq's words provided the lyrics for one stand-out track, "A Machine for Loving"), and the album is bookended by tunes which Iggy sings in French. Where Avenue B was a pretentious mess, Preliminaires is flawed but significantly more successful; though "Party Time" is mildly embarrassing in its depiction of decadence among the idle rich, the other songs are intelligent and often compelling meditations on a world where love and compassion are in short supply, and if "King of the Dogs" isn't exactly a new sentiment coming from Iggy, it's cock-of-the-walk air fits him like a glove (as does the trad jazz arrangement). Iggy's a better shouter than a crooner, but time has burnished his instrument with the character to fit these lyrics, and the best moments on this disc are truly inspired. Iggy Pop would be ill advised to give up on rock & roll, but Preliminaires shows he can do other things and do them well, and it speaks of a welcome maturity missing from many of his efforts outside the realm of fast and loud. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin

Being iconic doesn't always go hand in hand with a strong discography. While many fans consider all three proper (Iggy and the) Stooges records essential listening, Iggy Pop, the original proto-punk, has a far spottier solo catalog. This would make a well-curated highlights collection all the more necessary, but Essential falls short by focusing mostly on Lust for Life and The Idiot-era Iggy. The remainder is a random spattering of later-period work with little regard to theme or flow. The collection is made slightly more coherent with the inclusion of minor alt-radio hits "Candy" and "Home" from 1990's Brick by Brick, but the track list doesn't reflect a chronology or even a sense of sustained mood. While this jagged presentation isn't completely void of Iggy's essence, the failure to include anything from fan-favorite albums like New Values or Zombie Birdhouse is puzzling. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1993 | Virgin Records

Boasting a big-name producer and appearances from a handful of actual mainstream rock stars, Brick by Brick was a remarkably successful attempt (critically, if not commercially) to create an "event album" around Iggy Pop, so the follow-up came as a surprise -- American Caesar was cut fast and loose in a New Orleans studio, with Malcolm Burn (hardly known for his work in hard rock) in the producer's chair and Pop's road band backing him up. But the real surprise was that American Caesar ranks with Pop's very best solo work. Dark, loud, and atmospheric, it's a far riskier album than Brick by Brick, lyrically following that disc's themes of America teetering on the edge of internal collapse with the same degree of hard-won maturity, but adding a wacked-out passion and force that recall the heady days of Raw Power. While Pop's group doesn't play with the subtlety of the studio cats on Brick by Brick (I'll leave it to others to debate if they won't or they can't), they also sound tight and forceful, like a real band with plenty of muscle and some miles under their belts. Eric Schermerhorn's guitar meshes with Pop's vocals as well as anyone he's worked with since Ron Asheton, and Malcolm Burn's production is clear and detailed but adds subtle textures that season the formula just right. The hard rockers are full-bodied ("Wild America," "Plastic and Concrete"), the calmer tunes still bristle with tension and menace ("Mixing the Colors," "Jealousy"), the few moments of calm sound sincere and richly earned ("Highway Song," "It's Our Love"), the manic rewritten remake of "Louie Louie" actually tops the version on Metallic K.O., and the title cut is a bizarre bit of spoken-word performance art that's as strange as the entirety of Zombie Birdhouse, and a rousing success where that album was a brave failure. In a note printed on the CD itself, Pop says of American Caesar, "I tried to make this album as good as I could, with no imitations of other people and no formula sh*t." And Pop succeeded beyond anyone's expectations; American Caesar is an overlooked masterpiece. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1990 | Virgin Records

While Don Was is best known for his work with mutant funkateers Was (Not Was), he was also a Motor City boy with fond memories of the Stooges' glory days, and when he was hired to produce an album for Iggy Pop, Was said, "The guy is incredibly intelligent, writes great lyrics, is a great singer, and I just wanted to get that across." And he did: Brick by Brick refined Iggy's gifts without watering them down, adding a polish that focused his talents rather than blurring them. Working with a mixture of L.A. session heavyweights (Waddy Wachtel, David Lindley) and rock stars paying their respects (Slash and Duff McKagan from Guns n' Roses, Kate Pierson from the B-52's), Brick by Brick leans to tough, guitar-based hard rock, leavened with a few more pop-oriented tunes that still speak of a hard-nosed lyrical approach. But the triumph here is Iggy's; he's rarely sung better on record, finding a middle ground between precision and abandon that honors both and surrenders to neither, and as a lyricist he reached a new level of maturity that proved he could expand his boundaries without loosing touch with his roots. On Brick by Brick, Iggy's dominant theme is the cultural and moral decay of modern America, and finding the strength to rise above it and reach a place in the world. That might sound a bit grand for Iggy, but as a man who sent himself to Hell and back (and learned a few things in the process), he expresses his ideas with plenty of piss, vinegar, and hard-bitten wit. Smart, tough, and impressive on all counts, Brick by Brick was Iggy Pop's strongest work since Lust for Life, and marked a new high point in his career as a songwriter. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1996 | Virgin Records

Nude & Rude: The Best of Iggy Pop is an excellent 17-track overview of Pop's career, from the Stooges into the '90s. With the exception of The Idiot, Lust for Life, and Brick by Brick, Iggy's solo career has been decidedly uneven and many of his albums have been flat-out dull. Nude & Rude does a terrific job of selecting the best moments from these records, as well as many of the best Stooges tracks, thereby providing a nearly flawless introduction to Iggy's music. With "I Wanna Be Your Dog," "No Fun," "Search and Destroy," "Gimme Danger," "I'm Sick of You," and "Kill City" representing the Stooges, a few of the band's essential items are missing, but all the essential solo tracks are here, including "Funtime," "Nightclubbing," "China Girl," "Lust for Life," "Real Wild Child," "Cold Metal," "Candy," and "Home." © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1986 | A&M

In 1983, Iggy Pop's career was in shambles, but an unexpected windfall arrived thanks to Iggy's frequent benefactor David Bowie. Bowie recorded "China Girl," a song Bowie and Pop co-wrote, for his album Let's Dance, earning Iggy some large (and much-needed) royalty checks. Wisely realizing he was running out of second chances, Iggy decided to make the most of his good fortune; he steered clear of drugs, learned to cook his own meals, started putting money in the bank, and used his savings to bankroll a new album. David Bowie offered to help, and together they came up with Blah Blah Blah, the most calculatedly commercial album of Iggy's career. Like The Idiot, Blah Blah Blah was heavily influenced by Bowie's input; however, while The Idiot was made by a man creating intelligent and ambitious art rock, Blah Blah Blah is the work of a popmeister looking for hits and not afraid to sound cheesy about it. In the liner notes, a member of Duran Duran is thanked for the loan of a drum machine, and that speaks volumes about the production; Blah Blah Blah is slick in a very '80s way, dominated by preprogrammed percussion and swirling keyboards. And in the four years since Zombie Birdhouse, Iggy hadn't come up with much in the way of material; the only truly memorable tracks are "Real Wild Child (Wild One)," a neat bit of electro-processed rockabilly (previously a hit for Australian rocker Johnny O'Keefe), and the moody "Cry for Love," co-written by former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones. Both of these songs were minor hits, so Blah Blah Blah succeeded on its obviously commercial terms, but that doesn't change the fact it's one of Iggy's least interesting albums, and has dated worse than almost anything he's ever recorded. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 26, 1991 | Buddha Records

From the time the Stooges first broke onto the music scene in 1967, Iggy Pop was rock's most remarkable one-man freak show, but by the mid-'70s, after the Stooges' messy collapse, Iggy found himself in need of a stable career. The rise of punk rock finally created a context in which Iggy's crash-and-burn theatrics seemed like inspired performance rather than some sort of cry for help, and in 1979, with everyone who was anyone name-checking Iggy as punk's Founding Father, he scored a deal with Arista Records, and New Values became his first recording since the new rock gained a foothold. These days, New Values sounds like Iggy Pop's new wave album; while former Stooges associates James Williamson and Scott Thurston worked on the album, the arrangements were dotted with synthesizer patches and electronic percussion accents that have not stood the test of time well at all, and the mix speaks of a more polite approach than the raw, raging rock of Iggy's best work. But the growth as a songwriter that David Bowie encouraged in Iggy on The Idiot and Lust for Life is very much in evidence here; "Tell Me a Story," "Billy Is a Runaway," and "How Do Ya Fix a Broken Part" are tough, unblinking meditations on Iggy's war with the persona he created for himself, and "I'm Bored" and "Five Foot One" proved rock's first great minimalist still had some worthy metaphors up his sleeve. If New Values wasn't a great Iggy Pop album, it was a very good one, and proved that he had a future without David Bowie's guidance, something that didn't seem so certain at the time. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Virgin Records

Even though Brick by Brick successfully presented a mature Iggy Pop, he evidently felt that he needed to find a different way to grow old after the grungy detours of American Caesar and Naughty Little Doggie. So, he reteamed with producer Don Was, brought soul-jazz hipsters Medeski, Martin & Wood along for a couple of tracks, and crafted the subdued, semi-autobiographical Avenue B. "Craft" is an appropriate word -- the music is often used as background for spoken word pieces, and the entire album strives to be a sophisticated, revealing peek into Iggy's psyche, as if it's him confessing to you in a saloon in the middle of the night. Problem is, it just doesn't work. It's stilted, embarrassing, and awkward, never once finding the right note, no matter if Iggy is crooning or reciting his silly lyrics. He doesn't seem entirely comfortable with the experiment, either. The only time he comes to life is on a good, straight-ahead cover of Johnny Kidd & the Pirates' "Shakin' All Over." True, it's a selection that dates him somewhat, but he sounds more relaxed, mature, and dignified here than he does on the rest of Avenue B, leaving no doubt what direction he should pursue for the next album. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 20, 1988 | A&M

"Cold Metal," the first song on Instinct, opens with a solid blast of hard rock guitar, and after the overly slick pop of Blah Blah Blah and the arty miscalculations of Zombie Birdhouse, many Iggy Pop fans breathed a sigh of relief at the thought that Iggy was ready to sing some hard and fast rock & roll again. But as Steve Jones' turgid neo-metal guitar riffs begin to sink in (it's hard to believe these leads are being played by the guy who founded the Sex Pistols), it soon becomes obvious that while Iggy is trying to rock out on Instinct, his band is not doing an especially good job of it, sounding only marginally more enthusiastic than a typical second-tier arena rock outfit. And while Bill Laswell might have seemed like an inspired choice as producer after helming solid and idiosyncratic rock albums for Motörhead and Public Image Ltd., he doesn't draw much of interest from the musicians, and his sound has the dull, pre-fab sheen of any number of standard-issue hard rock albums. And though Iggy's in strong voice here, he appears to still be working his way through the formulaic lyrical mind set of Blah Blah Blah -- Iggy doesn't seem to have much to say, and few interesting ways of saying it. While the first and last cuts on Instinct are enjoyable, most of what's in between is surprisingly faceless hard rock; it's a competent, well-crafted album, but the most dangerous man in rock & roll ought to be able to come up with a bit more than that. © Mark Deming /TiVo

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Iggy Pop in the magazine