Iggy Pop, Free, review, rockers and other animals

Review by Shayne McGowan
Iggy Pop - “Free”

Post Pop Depression was an amazing album - hard to believe that it’s been almost three years since its release already.  The collaboration with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Arctic Monkeys Matt Helder also felt final, like it was the perfect farewell to Iggy Pop after a long and successful career.  Yet here we are in 2019, and Iggy has just released his 25th studio album (including those with The Stooges).

Opening track, Free, is a jazzy and atmospheric, near trance inducing opener that sees Iggy proclaiming, in his weathered and mournful spoken word voice, that he wants to be free.  Interesting opener - a definite departure. 

Loves Missing is soulful, and as Iggy croons about love and dark futures, before unleashing a vocal that is reminiscent of his departed close friend, David Bowie.  The surprise release of this record did put me in mind of Bowie’s own last album, Blackstar.  The similarities are hard to ignore.

Sonali is a haunting piece. The timing is all off, but I get the impression that it is exactly as it should be.  James Bond is musically simplistic, and sort of retro.  Iggy continues crooning his way through the album - this is not the energetic punk rock frontman of The Stooges.  This is a weathered and seasoned artist.

Dirty Sanchez opens with a trumpet blast, and as the brass section continues on, this reminds me of spaghetti western soundtracks.  Then it takes a turn in a completely different direction.  The crooning is gone, and that raw and easily identifiable voice of Pop cuts through.  He’s singing, but in an almost spoken word fashion, as he waxes philosophical about pornography, among other things.  It’s unique to say the least.

For Glow in the Dark, ominous vocals complete with echo effects are the order of the day.  Couple that with the electro musical background, and this is a very bizarre addition.   The earlier croon makes a return for the dreamy, Page, while We Are The People sees Iggy reading a Lou Reed poem over a jazzy landscape. 

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night follows the same theme - spoken word poetry over a jazz inspired musical background.  This time Iggy reads the classic Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. 

Closing out Free, is yet another spoken word passage, The Dawn.  Iggy reads verse over a cinematic panorama of music.  All of these spoken word readings are interesting enough, and none feel out of place within the context of the album as a whole.  Perhaps, rather than having these last three go back to back to back though, I would have spread them out.

Free is an interesting album - but not at all what I was expecting. 

6/10