Iggy Pop‘s comebacks over the past half-century number in the double digits by now. Starting with the Stooges‘ 1973 album, Raw Power, and running through his late-’70s Bowie period, radio hits in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and a successful ’00s Stooges reunion, Pop has bounced back a surprising amount of times for an artist who wasn’t expected to make it out of his 20s.
The 2016 album, Post Pop Depression, was Pop’s best in years but momentum was derailed by the 2019 follow-up, Free, which positioned the Godfather of Punk as a jazz singer. More than three years away from that curious misstep, it’s about time for another Iggy Pop comeback, which arrives in the form of his 19th solo album, Every Loser.
If it doesn’t equal the welcome-back triumphs of Raw Power, The Idiot or even Post Pop Depression, Every Loser does land on the stronger side of Pop’s 21st-century output. Produced by Andrew Watt, who helped spark Ozzy Osbourne‘s Patient Number 9 and Eddie Vedder‘s Earthling in 2022, Every Loser crackles with similar energy and features a lineup of familiar musicians – including Guns N’ Roses‘ Duff McKagan and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith – who are part of the producer’s growing stable.
Watt has become an in-demand rock producer after getting his start with Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, and rarely interferes with an artist’s core sound. He isn’t so much an architect as he is a studio chameleon, adapting ’80s metal for his Osbourne projects and a ’90s grunge luster for the Vedder outing, all coated in modern-day polish. For Pop, he applies ’70s punk via the ’00s revival to the riff-propelled “Frenzy,” “Strung Out Johnny” and “Modern Day Rip Off,” and New Age ambience to a pair of spoken-word interludes.
Clocking in at a lean 36 minutes, the 11-track Every Loser wastes little time with mood-building and subtlety, which suits the aggressively youthful Pop just fine. He uses his bag of vocal tricks (serious baritone, raspy howl, spite dripping from every other word) to fit the songs, applying weight or, most convincingly, an eternal punk’s bottomless insolence, still raging at age 75. He has some words about the younger generation in “Neo Punk” – “Emotionally I am a celebrity / I don’t have to sing, I’ve got publishing” – and throws out dozens of f-bombs in the establishment-baiting closing track “The Regency,” proving that power in Pop’s hands is still best delivered raw.
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