Album review

Iggy Pop : Skull Ring
Virgin Records

Iggy Pop : Skull RingIggy Pop's always been one quarter music and three quarters attitude - and that's always been more than half enough. At his best he's a big, untidy celebration of ageless energy - cranky, careless and cool.
    He's not quite at his best here. There's a bit too much self-conscious collaboration with the young Turks of power-pop and punk; from new queen of outrage Peaches to Green Day and Sum 41. At age 56, it ups his cred for a younger audience, but doesn't say too much for his confidence.
    That's not to say it's frivolous. "I gathered awful knowledge, you cannot get in college" he recalls on Dead Rock Star - and elsewhere on the album he's not afraid to tilt at corporate windmills or poke fun at the tired iconography of rock.

The best musical moments are the songs recorded with his old muckers The Stooges - remorseless, jackhammer riffing allied to that trademark sneer. There are a couple of fillers - the album dips at its midpoint with the cheeky power-pop of Little Know It All with Sum 41 and the petulant Whatever - while Blood On Your Cool dips into self-plagiarism, recalling Lust For Life's Neighbourhood Threat.
    Elsewhere he reminds us where Ziggy got his Iggy, sounding more like Bowie than Bowie himself on songs like Skull Ring and Inferiority Complex. He even ups the irony by dropping in a whistled verse a la Bryan Ferry. And Till Wrong Feels Right is an irritable country blues, scrubbed out on acoustic guitar with grim dungaree-clad disgust.

It's the weirdest stuff that stays with you, though. Midway through the neolithic stomp of Motor Inn he plunges into some insanely lecherous mouth music – an almost wordless scat that growls from the speakers like a bulldog possessed by demons.
    And no one can drawl "alright let's fuckin' motor!" quite like Mr Osterberg.

:: Clare O'Brien

Go to top of page
Latest articles

Alone in the dark: Buffy The Vampire Slayer bows out in style with the Season Seven DVD Collection.

Johnny Knoxville plays him in the movie Grand Theft Parsons, but counterculture speaks to the man himself: Phil Kaufman interviewed.