Released: March 18, 2016
Label: Loma Vista
To listen to Post Pop Depression is to examine the players at work here, and revel at the meshing of worlds colliding, not that collaboration is difficult given the talent available. In this present time where true bred household name rock stars are a scarcity, the next best thing can be derived instead from those already solidified in our collective hearts. Josh Homme and Iggy Pop are generational talents that happen to be invading the newest uprising with fresh outlooks on life and their work. Tagging along are Homme’s fellow Queen of the Stone Age, Dean Fertita, as well as Arctic Monkeys drummer, Matt Helders. See, it ain’t your dad’s record collection, only those who create with heavily influential cues from his favorite artists growing up!
Amidst the wear and tear of an icon like Iggy Pop, the buildup to Post Pop Depression is perhaps too invasive of his fellow musical senseis. Pop has always been a showman, wildly predicating any stage antics and general debauchery we see out of the most charismatic rock gods in today’s society (or a blatant copycat of his demeanor and dress if you’re Anthony Kiedis). Much like his longtime friend, the recently deceased David Bowie, millennial releases have been far from horrible, but nonetheless, projects like the last Stooges album for example can’t help but invoke a capitalization on nostalgia of former glory. Knowing that as a listener, perhaps it’s all too clear, even in the eyes of Iggy Pop, that his drug-fueled escapades of a budding punk rock and post punk heaven are behind him. We see that both in his songwriting and lyrical content, as well as the themes of the record. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to decipher one Iggy Pop’s inner dialogue on Post Pop Depression. The name is obvious in revealing what’s at stake here, that is, a gentleman in his age and wisdom fully enveloped in his own fading ego. Better yet, the passing of David Bowie can only add to the bar set way up high on just how elegant and radiant a glowing superstar can burn out. Blackstar is now the instant staple of how to leave this earth with a rousing bang. Pop’s worn voice is reminiscent evidence of this fact; He’s not going to be David Bowie, but apparent peas and carrots collaboration with a more modern flare doesn’t have to churn out a dangerous experimental gamble.
Above all else, Iggy Pop is the one that gets to plaster his name on the Post Pop Depression project. Sure, the other three make a cameo on the artwork, but beyond that, we can assume that this is in fact, an Iggy Pop record. In spite of this, Josh Homme’s fingerprints are all over this thing sonically. Opening number “Break Into Your Heart” is punk godfather Iggy Pop showcasing his familiar, deep, crooning voice amidst the fragile wobbling in his vocal chords. In fact, most of the songs are not powerful in a traditional sense of bare bones scream-it-all-out passion like Iggy Pop has done in the past. No, he takes a much more lenient approach in making the sleek, enrapturing sound of his feeble singing a strong point. Combine these stylings with Josh Homme’s affinity for putting an alternative rock spin on Dean Fertita’s synths and Matt Helder’s appropriately standard drumming, and sure enough, the final product becomes what began as four musicians coming together for the first time into a band sounding tight and in-sync as if they’ve played with each other for years. That’s the magic touch; Josh Homme has proved time and time again that he can gel with everyone that he has sights on creating something with. Even more fitting, an icon like Iggy Pop brings the collective talent pool into the limelight.
There are more logistics to this narrative of one man phoning up the other between Iggy Pop and Josh Homme, but even so, Post Pop Depression had potential right from the get go, no matter what a collective musical world thinks of Iggy Pop in the last few years. Part of Post Pop Depression’s allure is the star power behind the record. Call it a supergroup, call it Pop’s bucket list springing into fruition, but the record is solid largely due to the efforts of each member’s contributions in their respective roles. Furthermore, Homme’s resume speaks for itself, having worked in the past with Them Crooked Vultures, Mark Lanegan, Brody Dalle, Kyuss, and The Eagles of Death Metal to name a few. Funny enough, you could truly call Queens of the Stone Age a supergroup these days, having had so many guests and lineup tweaks over the years. Driving highlights on record such as “Sunday” and “Vulture” channel Homme’s inclinations. There are building walls of sound, slowly adding in strings and synthesizer into the guitar, and given Iggy Pop and Josh Homme’s most inspired vocal performance on “Vulture”, both provide captivating falsetto, Pop up front, and Homme in the background with ghostly serenades. Pop even gets up to a scream on the track too, culminating into a sort of “ending bonus” flurry of instruments ala Rock Band. He’s an old dog, but even without pulling out some new tricks, he can still do a damn good job nailing the old ones with reckless abandon. Even on the closing track “Paraguay”, Pop manages to shock to the point of hurling obscenities, now with his own “get off my lawn” flavor that is seemingly inherited with old age. “I’m sick and it’s your fault, and I’m gonna go heal myself now!”, he yells as his gloominess careens into a hopeful oblivion. Maybe Post Pop Depression is his last record, as he has actually inferred in interviews, or maybe this is the beginning of a new Iggy Pop, reborn and demanding the respect that he rightly deserves.
Post Pop Depression was a thought in people’s minds leading up to the release, but not necessarily captivating or christened as a “must listen” given Iggy Pop’s recent outputs. However, the record is definitely solid, taking on more meaning than Pop’s usual post-relapse inhibitions. In fact, the backing talents of the other three band members serves more as an evolution of what Iggy has become in his age and wisdom. He can make as many records as he wants with The Stooges, or collaborate with Slash, Ke$ha, and whoever he so desires, but that Iggy of the olden CBGB days is dead and gone. Now, the phoenix exists in our present day world with sights set on new endeavors. In the same light, you’d be hard pressed to find him able to churn out the performances displayed on Post Pop Depression without the talented work of his band mates. Post Pop Depression is Iggy Pop’s distant calling to a former stature, when time simply exhausts some of the magic that glistened in its day and age. Even so, the new record is hugely important in cementing his legacy. Seeing his friend David Bowie die with such mystique and glamour, perhaps Post Pop Depression takes on additional legendary footnotes. The gang serving as Iggy Pop’s resurrection pedestal solidifies him as rock royalty (not that we needed any further proof), but also prevents the dreaded dumpster fire of a finale that many rock stars have concocted and are in progress of doing today. Hopefully, the importance of concluding storied careers with grace and elegance carries forward to generations of artists to come.