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Rock - Released June 2, 2017 | 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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Rock - Released November 8, 2005 | Rhino - Elektra

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

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
In 1976, the Stooges had been gone for two years, and Iggy Pop had developed a notorious reputation as one of rock & roll's most spectacular waste cases. After a self-imposed stay in a mental hospital, a significantly more functional Iggy was desperate to prove he could hold down a career in music, and he was given another chance by his longtime ally, David Bowie. Bowie co-wrote a batch of new songs with Iggy, put together a band, and produced The Idiot, which took Iggy in a new direction decidedly different from the guitar-fueled proto-punk of the Stooges. Musically, The Idiot is of a piece with the impressionistic music of Bowie's "Berlin Period" (such as Heroes and Low), with it's fragmented guitar figures, ominous basslines, and discordant, high-relief keyboard parts. Iggy's new music was cerebral and inward-looking, where his early work had been a glorious call to the id, and Iggy was in more subdued form than with the Stooges, with his voice sinking into a world-weary baritone that was a decided contrast to the harsh, defiant cry heard on "Search and Destroy." Iggy was exploring new territory as a lyricist, and his songs on The Idiot are self-referential and poetic in a way that his work had rarely been in the past; for the most part the results are impressive, especially "Dum Dum Boys," a paean to the glory days of his former band, and "Nightclubbing," a call to the joys of decadence. The Idiot introduced the world to a very different Iggy Pop, and if the results surprised anyone expecting a replay of the assault of Raw Power, it also made it clear that Iggy was older, wiser, and still had plenty to say; it's a flawed but powerful and emotionally absorbing work. ~ Mark Deming
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Pop - Released June 15, 2005 | Rhino - Elektra

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released August 5, 1969 | Rhino - Elektra

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released August 15, 2005 | Rhino - Elektra

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography

Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Virgin Records

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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
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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
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Pop - Released January 1, 1986 | A&M Records

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
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Rock - Released January 1, 1996 | Virgin Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Virgin Records

Where did this come from? 1993's electrocharged American Caesar proved the Ig was no spent force. But 1996's Naughty Little Doggie and other post-Soldier LPs the last 19 years yielded merely OK rock 'n' roll, short of his original outrageous inspiration. Time for a radical departure? Apparently so. Three decades into such an illustrious, infamous, distinguished career, Mr. Ostenberg takes his biggest leave from the Iggy Stooge outrageous rocker persona, even bigger than his Berlin Bowie days. At 52, the ex-STOOGES singer wants to play battlescarred sage, with an unexpected, stripped-down style that's equal parts Leonard Cohen, Scott Walker, '90s Lou Reed, and Tom Waits. Avenue B is thus his first becalmed, nakedly introspective LP. There's little hint of hard rock, outside of a boisterous take on JOHNNY KIDD & THE PIRATES oft-covered 1959 classic "Shakin' All Over," and a wonderfully cranky, nearly-psychedelic shocker called "Corruption." Otherwise, troubadour Iggy intones scared spoken word over chilling, soundtracky synths, and lightly croons songs of discontented, post-divorce sequestration betwixt acoustics and bongos. Hmmm! Big fans might lament the loss of raw power, but to hear what's eatin' the Ig after 30 years of carefree mayhem is rather illuminating. Avenue B is the aural alarm of a man who's advancing in age, and hates it without a regular mate. Though it works best with him just speaking apprehensively-the shell-shocked narrator in a world going to hell as always-Avenue B is holds together through a variety of quiet mood backgrounds and the Ig's directness. Clearly, it is the words he wants you to hear this time, this stirring of a soul who has finally faced the fact of his own mortality, if wonderfully so much later than the rest of us more regular mortals. His first album, in 1969, opened "Last year I was 21/Didn't have a lot of fun." His 16th LP, in 1999, begins "It was in the winter of my fiftieth year when it hit me/I was really alone and there wasn't a lot of time left." Prepare for an alienating nerve-wracker. ~ Jack Rabid
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Rock - Released January 1, 1993 | Virgin Records

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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
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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

Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Virgin Records

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Rock - Released June 2, 2017 | Virgin Catalog (V81)

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Rock - Released June 20, 1988 | A&M Records

"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
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Rock - Released January 1, 1996 | Virgin Records

Iggy Pop's career is dotted with miscalculations and flat-out mistakes, and after releasing two of his strongest solo efforts in a row -- Brick by Brick and American Caesar -- it might have been tempting fate to expect Pop to pull off a hat trick. He didn't, and Naughty Little Doggie isn't much to write home about. If you were to compare Naughty Little Doggie to any of Pop's previous albums, it most closely resembles Instinct, his ill-conceived neo-metal project, and in all fairness Naughty Little Doggie is clearly the better album. As he did on American Caesar, Pop cut these sessions with his touring band (dubbed "the F*ckups" in the liner notes), and they sound solid and enthusiastic throughout, especially guitarist Eric Schermerhorn (aka Eric Mesmerize) and drummer Larry Mullins (aka Larry Contrary). Pop's voice is in great shape, and he seems to be having a lot of fun, especially on the dirty-old man's celebration of "Pussy Walk" and the nervy "Knucklehead." But Iggy Pop the Songwriter wasn't in the midst of one of his especially inspired periods when he was assembling Naughty Little Doggie, and while the music is mostly solid, bare-knuckled hard rock, the lyrics aren't all that special, and it doesn't take long for Pop and the band to run through all the tricks they have on hand. One notable exception, however, is the last track, "Look Away," a low-key remembrance of fellow rock & roll reprobate Johnny Thunders which wouldn't have been out of place on Brick by Brick or American Caesar. Naughty Little Doggie is a solid, respectable, and professional hard rock album, and Iggy Pop could do a lot worse. But then again, he could also do a lot better. ~ Mark Deming

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Iggy Pop in the magazine