"Why am I afraid, why am I afraid," Iggy pleads amid the torn maelstrom of sound that is "Hate," easily one of his most distinctive compositions. These songs -- powerfully written and sincerely performed -- are the best Iggy has put to tape since his time with The Stooges. The brilliant Malcom Burn, whose other projects with such acts as Emmylou Harris would suggest that he is the last person expected to work with Iggy Pop, astonishes with the deft hand he displays throughout this masterpiece. Song by song, Burn and Iggy construct a sonic document that echoes not only one man's personal hell, but the true torments of the common man. Like Dylan's equally riveting "Time Out of Mind," "American Caesar" so skillfully walks the line between the private and the public that its harrowing disclosures eliminate that boundary in favor of a lyrical and musical accessibility. More surprisingly, this is done without any compromise of authenticity. From its burst of manic divinity in "Highway Song" and "Boogie Boy" to those softer audible ghosts, "Jealousy" and "F-in' Alone," "American Caesar" solidifies Iggy Pop as one of the most original voices ever to emerge from the American rock scene. While some tracks are more interesting than others, not a single one of them fails to capture the listener's attention. Only the unnecessary cover of "Louie Louie" fails to contribute anything of further value to the album's incredibly varied grab-bag of emotions, moods and confessions. Simply put, Iggy never approached this kind of vulnerability before or after "American Caesar," and the album belongs on every all-time best rock albums list. While I understand that we all come from different musical backgrounds and aesthetical tastes, I have to say that, in this case, rock fans who fail to comprehend this album's flawlessness and power are either not listening or need to check themselves for a pulse.