Iggy Pop
"Préliminaires"

(Astralwerks 2009)Iggy Pop - Préliminaires

When I was still in school, I was always (read: usually) a good student. When books were assigned, I always read the entire book. Meanwhile what I probably should have been doing is skipping off to Blockbuster. But if you are still in school, or you decide to go back, and you happen to see Michel Houellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island on the syllabus, don’t go looking for a rental of the movie. Instead, go to your local record shop and pick up Iggy Pop’s “Préliminaires.”

Inspired by the French author’s book, Pop goes jazz, boss nova and blues on “Préliminaires.” “King of the Dogs” comes strutting in like a showgirl in a prohibition era underground gin joint, vibrant and bawdy. At the other end of the spectrum from “Dogs,” and closer to the album’s overall tone, is “I Want To Go To The Beach,” a somber piano ballad. “Je Sais Que Tu Sais” is more an interlude than a song as a loose jam is overlaid with breathy French excerpts from Lucie Aimé although the song never really goes anywhere. But the raw acoustic guitar mixed with Pop’s vocals on “He’s Dead/She’s Alive” is honest, no frills blues.

So what’s the problem with “Préliminaires?” The problem is, when you pop an Iggy album into your stereo you expect loud, wild rock. “Préliminaires” doesn’t fit neatly into that box. But once you get over those easily explained by not entirely reasonable expectations, the album is quite charming. Pop puts everything in his own context and never sounds contrived or uncomfortable. But don’t expect to be able to write an essay on the book.

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buy it!