Paraguay – Iggy Pop

Post Pop Depression was my album of the year a couple of trips round the sun ago. It flawed me that this man. This Man! Who had done so much for Rock and Roll already. Who had become an avatar of himself, of punk, of musical heritage and of Iggy-ness.

This Man who was on my radio every weekend as a honey voiced host of musical archaeology in the Saturday Kitchen slot. It flipped my wig that he could make his career best album at this stage of the game. I’m not detracting from The Idiot or Lust For Life when I say that. I’m not pretending Fun House and Metallic KO aren’t foundation stones upon which entire genres are now built.

What I am saying is it did not need to be this good. And yet it is so good it’s a creative high point. You can’t dismiss the anger of a 70 year old man the same way you can a callow youth. You can’t pretend it’s just testosterone and youthful posturing. It’s not a pose. At this stage it can be nothing but wisdom. Those idealistic youngsters were right. It’s since then things have gone (or stayed) wrong.

The identifiable choral QOTSA intro puts Josh Homme’s contribution front and centre before the music starts. 

Then some beautifully crisp and slinky blues rock assembles behind the Demon Barber Shop harmonies. Josh may have taken some of the limelight from Ig around the PR for this record but just like when partnering with Bowie in Berlin you need a ‘straight man’ to make Iggy work properly in context.

If you are using the front man from Queens Of The Stone Age or Zavid as your ‘white balance’ you’ve got to be coming from some dark place to begin with.

Iggy laments like a semi reanimated ‘Bishop’ from Aliens played by Warren Zevon in the verses

“I’m goin’ where sore losers go, to hide my face and spend my dough, though it’s a dream, it’s not a lie and I won’t stop to say goodbye Paraguay”

Our man in South America turned exile. He’s been undercover so long he couldn’t find his way back if we let him. Maybe there’s a dash of Colonel Kurtz in there too. Imagining himself so deep up river he’s found a new way of doing things.

When Iggy enters into that spoken word rant at the outro he’s bringing in another element he’s become famous for. Erudite and articulate monologues are as big a part of Iggy Pop now as taking his shirt off and doing THAT dance.

“There’s nothing awesome here! Not a damn thing. There’s nothing “wow!” Just a bunch of people, scared, everybody’s fuckin’ scared. Fear eating all the souls at once. I’m tired of it”

What’s he talking about? I’m pretty sure it us. Our phones and our selfies and our ‘on line personas’ in leiu of real activity and action.

“And I dreamed about gettin’ away to a new life where there’s not so much fucking knowledge. I don’t want any of this “information”. I don’t want “you”. No, not anymore. I’ve had enough of “you”. Yeah I’m talking to “you”. I wanna go to Paraguay live in a compound under the trees with servants and bodyguards who love me free of criticism”

If he’s up for going full on Brando in Apocalypse Now! I guess I’m voluteering to be his Dennis Hopper.

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