Iggy Pop is one of those names that in the history of rock music count among the legends. The singular wild boy became famous at the end of the sixties for his reckless live performances with his former group The Stooges, widely considered the pioneers of the punk genre.
Lust for Life is the second solo record of the singer, though it mirrors a considerably different segment of the life of the godfather of punk, specifically a period that sees Iggy trying to pull together the scattered pieces of his existence dominated by tidal waves of alcohol and narcotics of all kinds. Hence, he moved at the end of the Seventies to Berlin with his all-time favorite musical comrade, David Bowie, which is also the producer of the album and composer of many of its tracks.
Two natural talents
Combining Iggy’s over-the-top straightforward rock ‘n’ roll energy with Bowie’s natural talent for songwriting and his great work of production, the result is a well-balanced rock project, polished and with a propensity for pop melodies rather than for the extreme violence conveyed by Pop’s previous works.
Over the years, the opener Lust for Life became an ever-increasing success and a real rock ‘n’ roll anthem, mostly thanks to its initial drum-pattern and piano riff (a semi-rip-off from The Doors’ Touch Me). Furthermore, Pop introduced in the lyrics a direct reference to a character from William S. Burroughs’ experimental novel The Ticket That Exploded:
Here comes Johnny-Yen again
With the liquor and drugs and the flesh machine
The Passenger: piece of angst and wonder in Iggy’s life
Sixteen and Some Weird Sin are two danceable pop-rock tunes that stand out for the typical dirty and coarse vocal delivery of the singer. While The Passenger is another song that with time rose up as an immortal classic thanks to its unforgettable four chords structure and hooky refrain. Besides, the song is the most emotionally powerful tune on the record and the one that manages the most to express the mixture of angst and wonder that Iggy was living at the time, torn between the vital necessity of a more sober life and the boredom and difficulty of the rehab period.
The B- side doesn’t stand in comparison to the first one, with songs that exceed in production and a little flat in terms of dynamics. The only exception is Neighborhood Threat, a psychedelic-twisted ballad that bears the sound of previous Stooges’ records.
Critics at the time found nothing interesting in this new direction that the Michigan artist was taking, but time always tells right.
You can find the album Lust For Life on Spotify.