Iggy Pop’s latest album, ‘Every Loser’ takes its name from the track ‘Comments’ where the Godfather of Punk rattles out, “Every loser needs a bit of joy”. The song weighs in on online the machismo of online trolls and how good Pop assumes they feel when they get to call him a “wimp” in the comments. It’s one of the many moments in ‘Every Loser’ that see the 75-year-old musician looking at the modern world through a wise and cheeky punk filter. See, Jim Osterberg has seen and lived it all, and he’s ready to talk about it so long as you’re willing to hear it in the loudest, most riotous way possible.
The Stooges frontman kicks off his 19th solo offering with the lyrics “Got a dick and two balls, that’s more than you all”, a line that acclaimed executive producer Andrew Watt (who is releasing ‘Every Loser’ on his Gold Tooth Records) lovingly calls “aggressive” and “unapologetic”. The first line of the song cannot make you not hysterically laugh,” Watt says. “I mean, it is Iggy as it gets.”
Watt’s not wrong in that description. The album’s 11 tracks are a high-velocity joyride full of delightful doses of wit and grit. Well past the time most punks have traded in their stage personas for slowed-down reflections of days long gone, the inventor of the stage dive pulls us into the now with the same primal rock energy he kicked his career off with in the ‘60s with no swan song in sight. We’ve not even heard Iggy like this in quite some time, following a decade of spoken-word jazz and Homme-supplied mystery.
The album’s players are a star-studded line-up of rock legends: Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers, bassist Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, Blink 182’s Travis Barker, guitarist Stone Gossard, former Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, and Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro and Eric Avery, and late Foo Fighter’s drummer Taylor Hawkins, all make up the house band. But no one steals the scene from Iggy, who spends ‘Every Loser’ transmuting every version of his sound and experience into moments that push you to laugh and shout before sitting you down for a reflective moment.
In the slow and stirring ‘Morning Show’ Pop leans into the rattle of his register as he sings about fixing his face before a public appearance. In ‘Strung Out Johnny’, he enlists his vibrato to affirm, “God made me a junkie / but Satan told me so”. In the fun and blistering ‘Neo Punk’, he points to how much has changed in the so-called punk scene between the broke and penniless livelihood Pop shared with his fellow Stooges and the celebrity and luxury punk stars get to enjoy today.
‘Every Loser’ ends with ‘The Regency’, a track that starts out as a ballad before transforming into an all-out riot. It features Hawkins drumming in a way Pop describes as “percolating” and “bubbling” before the song falls back neatly into a doo-wop pace, closing out the album. It’s a perfect end for an album that, even when it’s lyrically sincere, self-deprecating, or acutely aware, manages to stay larger than life. ‘Every Loser’ is a present-day primal punk resurrection from the only musician qualified to make one.
- Release date: January 6
- Record label: Atlantic Records/Gold Tooth Records