My “long run” on Sunday didn’t happen largely thanks to a crappy winter rain storm so I played it safe, erred on the side of caution and and went to an All-U-Can-Eat soup buffet at the Canalside Inn & Kitchen in Port Colborne instead. Shit, do you blame me? I am, however, running outside this afternoon in an effort to get ‘ol Lightning – if you’ll excuse the pun – “up n’ running” properly again. My 6.5k worth of easy running and ABC drills today is set to the newest album by Iggy Pop, ‘Post Pop Depression‘.
Fate has a way of putting things into an interesting context. When it was announced that Iggy Pop would be collaborating with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, the music press buzzed with anticipation about the project. What would the proto-punk icon and the snarky hard rock smart guy come up with? The surprise answer is, in many respects, 2016’s ‘Post Pop Depression‘, an unwitting but loving tribute to Pop’s friend and collaborator David Bowie.
The album arrived two months after Bowie’s death, and was completed before his health problems became common knowledge. More than anything, though, this music evokes the sound and feel of Pop’s first two solo albums. 1977’s ‘The Idiot‘ and ‘Lust for Life‘ were cut with Bowie in Germany as Pop struggled to make sense of his life and career after the Stooges collapsed. With the reunited Stooges gone following the deaths of Ron and Scott Asheton, ‘Post Pop Depression‘ finds Pop returning to the work he made in 1977, in ways that count the most.
The album is smart and thoughtful, intelligent without being pretentious, and full of bold but introspective thinking. While Josh Homme is certainly no David Bowie, he’s a skilled musician who challenges Pop in a way many of his previous producers have not. The sound of ‘Post Pop Depression‘ occasionally gestures to Bowie’s work, with and without Pop, but Homme has given this music a personality of its own. Dark and richly textured, ‘Post Pop Depression’ puts Pop’s craggy but authoritative voice and intelligent tirades front and center. Homme and his rhythm section of Dean Fertita and Matt Helders have created strong, muscular backdrops for Pop’s lyrics that add to their power. They counter his thoughtful anger with sounds that are rich, cleanly designed, and a successful compliment for the star’s work. Pop himself has suggested that ‘Post Pop Depression‘ may be his last album, and if that’s true, it wraps up his career with a strong and atypical work. It tips its hat to Bowie, but also to the freedom and creative possibilities Pop discovered in their collaborative work. It confirms that Pop has never lost the ability to surprise and upend expectations. In the bitter rant that closes ‘Paraguay‘, the final track on the album, Pop declares he wants to run away and live as “your basic clod.” It’s an ironic thought, closing an album (and my run) that once again proves Pop never was and never will be an ordinary guy.
Truthfully, despite being a fan off Iggy’s past work, I didn’t have high expectations for this album so I’ve been putting it off. My bad definitely as it’s really really good. Sure it was bit Doomy n’ Gloomy for such a gorgeous day, but isn’t everything Iggy does a bit on the dark side?
The other bonus to today’s run besides the tunes was that I managed to run 3 x 1 kilometer intervals with no pain or extreme discomfort, so that pleases me immensely. Yes, of course, I was huffing and puffing for a good part of it and I have some work to do to get back to my pre-2017 run form but this is a good sign that the time off and focusing on recovery was the right thing to do.
Here’s to moving forward…albeit, slowly for the time being.