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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sucking sugar, plain and sweet
I feel I've contained my ire regarding the knee-jerk view of this album long enough. Almost from the moment it was released, supposed Iggy fans (pretenders all, I say) have been slagging this album off for being 'commercial'. What does 'commercial mean in this context? It means having a sheeny 80s hi-def production and a focus on melody above distorted guitars...
Published 6 months ago by Stephen E. Andrews

versus
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 80 Bowie type pop
I loved this in the 80s and have rebought it recently.

The best song is Shades and even this is only ok.

Overblown and overstated songs about nothing in particular.

Sorry Iggy, you are still a hero

Mike
Published 17 months ago by michael barnes


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sucking sugar, plain and sweet, 21 Jan 2014
By 
Stephen E. Andrews "Writer" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blah-Blah-Blah (Audio CD)
I feel I've contained my ire regarding the knee-jerk view of this album long enough. Almost from the moment it was released, supposed Iggy fans (pretenders all, I say) have been slagging this album off for being 'commercial'. What does 'commercial mean in this context? It means having a sheeny 80s hi-def production and a focus on melody above distorted guitars.

Wrong. The most 'commercial' thing Iggy could do is release another poor Stooges re-tread. His latter-day fanbase has been raised to think of him as merely 'A Godfather of Punk' and nothing else. Well, kids, Iggy was a Godfather of Punk Rock - and Punk Rock was about originality, not the formula it became, the formula called 'punk'. Punk Rock was more than just 3 minute, amateurishly played songs about politics. No, that was punk and boy was it boring, a slavish imitation of Punk Rock.

Consider the context for 'Blah Blah Blah'. Iggy has made the three Stooges albums, the massively underrated 'Kill City' ( although credited to Pop and Williamson, it's really a fourth Stooges album). There's no lack of melody on 'Kill City', nor are songs like 'Gimmie Danger' and 'Dirt' lacking in moments of yearning emotion expressed through melody either. Then the Bowie diptych of 'the Idiot' (genius) and the uneven but great 'Lust For Life'. The albums that follow are up and down, with moments of brilliance and lots of turkeys. For every 'Don't Look Down' and 'Houston is Hot Tonight', there are two stinkers.

Then Bowie covers 'China Girl' and Iggy gets lots of royalties. Good news! Tired of being a 'screw up' in record company eyes, Iggy records 'Blah Blah Blah', most of it written with Bowie, who co-produces the album with his sideman David Richards and Turkish multi-instrumentalist Erdal Kizilcay. Bowie is in his least creative period, but compared to most artists of his vintage in the late eighties, there are still moments. Think about it - we despair over Bowie from 83-90ish because the work is disappointing compared to the 70s. But look at out other 70s idols at this point - Alice Cooper, Lou Reed...both producing stuff far less significant than their high points too.

Back to 'Blah'. Well, the other reviewers here who decry the record as 'pop' or say 'Only one song is good -'Shades'' or utter such statements as 'songs about nothing in particular' - simply have cloth ears. Try listening to the record! If you can recognise 'Shades' as a great song, then an appreciation of at least 'Fire Girl', 'Isolation', 'Cry For Love' and 'Little Miss Emperor' is inevitable if you play them a few times...and then, there's the fabulous, impassioned lyrics, every bit as big and bold and meaningful as the huge melodies and soundscapes themselves.

So to me, the decriers of this album are (in Iggy's words) 'Status seekers- I never cared/once I found out they never dared/ to seize the world and shake it upside down/ and every stinking bum should wear a crown' ('Cry For Love'). Iggy challenges the consensual, status-quo version of him that shallow 'fans' have in mind. There has ALWAYS been more to Iggy than simple off-the-chain Wildman - he's an artist of light and shade, not just darkness. In this album, Iggy's lyrical eloquence and majestic baritone voice are to the fore, showing him as a singer of classical quality - after all, Morrison was a balladeer too and no-one influence Iggy more.

I'll admit the album gets off to a slow start with its most throwaway track, big hit single and cover version 'Real Wild Child', followed by 'Baby, It Can't Fall', arguably the weakest original on the record (still a good song though). But with 'Shades', things rack up, the album never backing down from its plangent, massive, anthemic songs that see Iggy railing against injustice, expressing passionately his desire and loneliness and stating without obfuscation his opinion that authentic living is the only way to live. One caveat; the title track owes a certain something to 'Lust For Life' with its morse-code riffing and as good as it is, it's the most disappointing track, punctuating two batches of killer tracks.

Much of the album sees Iggy desperate for, or in, love (nothing new here, we experienced this in tracks from the Stooges like 'I Need Somebody', on this album they're expressed differently, that's all). 'Cry For Love' is a mighty assault of integrity, a refusal to back down:

'bad TV that insults me freely...(....) ...in searching for a meaningful embrace/sometimes me self-respect took second place' (man, in relationships, we've all been there) and 'soldiers kill for love and nobody admits it'

..and naysayers, listen to this one 'Cry for love/'cause imitations boring,'. Well said, Iggy. This is a co-write with Sex Pistol Steve Jones, a man who admits to having a 'lonely soul' (see the documentary on the Pistols last UK show in Huddersfield 1977). Jones also wrote 'Winners & losers' with Pop, a big rocking Bond-theme (sans cheesiness) song ..."black motorcycles/the will to survive/winners and losers/which one am I?". Great stuff.

Then there's the flip side of 'Winners & Losers', the hopeful, outdoorsy optimism of 'Hideaway', with its breezy realism, acknowledging pain, but revealing hope in its magnificent middle eight: 'I can hear children's voices/ringing in the yard/when I hear children's voices/my feelings aren't so hard'. Suffice to say, Iggy's own voice here is lush and glorious. Manly stuff, kids.

However, it's the lovelorn ballads that really kick. Much as I dig 'Cry For Love', the yearning sensual pulse that is 'Fire Girl' pleads and cajoles, then the tragic and heartbroken 'Isolation' just puts your soul to death with its honesty. As a picture of build-them-up-then-knick them-down lead-on/betrayal game played by some would be lovers, this is something ('Needed you/you were only using/needing you just/wore me down'. Sad, but true...

'Shades' is well known and - of course - utterly brilliant, but its b side 'Little Miss Emperor' (included on the CD as a bonus - it wasn't on the vinyl LP originally), a synthesizer-driven paen to a proud, stubborn girl Iggy is in love with, is pure bourbon on ice. Fabulous.

Throughout the album, there are soaring vocals backing Iggy's own huge voice - I've always thought that Bowie's voice is prevalent here, although he's not credited. Sounds like David to me and I'm sure it is him. Best thing DB did in the latter half of the 80s, that's for sure.

So, leave your 'punk' preconceptions aside and LISTEN to the songs and that impeccable voice. Iggy followed this album with the melodically, lyrically and existentially similar 'Instinct', this time with Jones replacing Bowie. Since then, his best albums have been his most atypical ones - 'avenue B', 'apres', 'prelinaires', all of which break the mould of expectation.

Quite simply, you're NOT an Iggy fan if you dislike 'Blah Blah Blah'. It's every bit as important as 'Fun House', 'Kill City', 'the Idiot' and 'Instinct'. All you have to do is listen to the lyrics and marvel at the singing... bliss!!!

Stephen E Andrews, author, '100 Must Read Books For Men', '100 Must Read Science Fiction Novels'
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best David Bowie album never made?!, 3 July 2002
This review is from: Blah-Blah-Blah (Audio CD)
This is the third album David Bowie and Iggy Pop co-wrote and co-produced. It's quite unlike The Idiot and Lust For Life, however, so will probably be most appreciated by Bowie fans.
This album was recorded at the same time as Bowie's own NEVER LET ME DOWN. Said album was one of his weakest efforts and he was rapidly losing credibility, so it's odd that he was quite happy to give away some of the best tunes he'd written in ages to his old mate Iggy. BLAH BLAH BLAH is the best Bowie album never made - just listen to the sublime ballad "Shades". The production is very understated for the period (unlike the very cluttered NEVER LET ME DOWN), and Bowie made several attempts to recreate this album's musical formula of rocky guitar mixed with programmed drumbeats and samplers - also used on his underrated 1986 single When The Wind Blows and the 1988 version of Look Back In Anger - not quite cracking it until EARTHLING in 1997! A lost gem!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deluxe Edition, 28 Jun 2011
By 
Victor Preston "gvb" (birmingham, west mids United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Blah-Blah-Blah (Audio CD)
I have always loved this CD and with the Bowie input I see it as the final part of a trilogy with The Idiot and Lust For Life.
This should be reissued as a Deluxe Edition with all of the 12" remixes on the second disc.
The front cover with a tasteful Black and White photo of Iggy and David to attract a lot of people who want a 'new' Bowie CD.
This would be a top ten album for sure!
Blah Blah Blah
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Commercial but cool, 26 Oct 2009
This review is from: Blah-Blah-Blah (Audio CD)
Beauty is in the Ipod of the beholder. This album divides opinion because its polished production is an anathema to the hardcore Iggy fans while its pop sensibilities are envied by Bowie fans. Here they got to see their hero hand over this slice of chart-friendly perfection whilst himself releasing the much more mediocre "Never Let Me Down" the following year. Those who criticise this album do so by claiming that it is a shameless piece of commercialism designed to make Iggy money, or that it is somehow shallow or too calculated. Even Iggy himself sometimes distances himself from this album in some interviews.

In my view however one must remember the context. In 1986 all artists were striving to make mega albums where almost every song was a single and glossy videos ensured that everyone could retire on the proceeds. So, in that regard, it is no worse than what Fine Young Cannibals or Dire Straits were doing. Moreover, as a piece of art pop it is very, very good.

Real Wild Child kicks things off and whilst seemingly a competent but throwaway cover it became Iggy's biggest hit of his career up to that point. Baby It Can't Fall is a catchy synth pop song where Bowie's backing vocals can be heard clearly. Shades is the second excellent single of the album full of ear splitting synth percussion and soaring guitar riffs. Fire Girl, my favourite track, is much more subtle however: whilst synths wash over you the slightest of sentiments yields a surprising power as he sings "Fire Girl, say you will...". The third and best single of the album, Isolation, then follows which, had Bowie released it himself, would surely have topped the charts. After what I think is one of the most flawless first halfs of any album of the eighties, it is hardly surprising that Iggy doesn't quite keep it up. That said, many hardcore Iggy fans claim to prefer the rockier second act. Cry for Love (which was also a single) is a bit overwrought for me but the title track, Blah, Blah, Blah is a wonderful piece of fun which appears to be a topical take on the politics of the day. Hideaway is another cracker worthy of single release but the album finishes rather tamely for me with Winners and Losers overstaying its 6 minute welcome and Little Miss Emperor betraying its B-side origins (it has here been restored to the CD). Overall though that's 7 of the 10 tracks being among the best of Pop's career: an enviable strike rate.

This album showcases Bowie's skill as a producer with an ear for a hit. In particular his brilliance in arranging and performing backing vocals (as he did with Lou Reed's Transformer album) are very evident. The only worry is that it sounds perhaps almost too much like a Bowie album when he is supposed to be taking a back seat. But that said there is nothing in the Bowie back catalogue which sounds quite like this. As co-producer he creates a sound similar to Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer". This album makes me think of summer days and nights in LA, driving convertibles and wearing shades like something out of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. If you are a fan of intelligent 80's power pop then it's a must buy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 8 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Blah-Blah-Blah (Audio CD)
I love this cd and a great price too
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4.0 out of 5 stars BLAH BLAH BLAH, 27 Mar 2014
By 
HAYLING BOOK & MUSIC VENUE (HBMV) "Hayling Is... (26 Rails Lane Hayling Island) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Blah-Blah-Blah (Audio CD)
This is an album that has divided opinion.

It is one of his most commercial (if not THE most commercial) recordings Iggy has ever made but it is also one of his coolest.

The songs benefit from Bowie's input and Hugh Padgham's production ensures that the tracks appear crisp, tight and glossy.

'Real Wild Child' was the big hit from 'Blah Blah Blah', but there is a lot besides to recommend this album. I still enjoy it after all these years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars BLAH BLAH BLAH, 27 Mar 2014
By 
HAYLING BOOK & MUSIC VENUE (HBMV) "Hayling Is... (26 Rails Lane Hayling Island) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: blah blah blah LP (Vinyl)
This is an album that has divided opinion.

It is one of his most commercial (if not THE most commercial) recordings Iggy has ever made but it is also one of his coolest.

The songs benefit from Bowie's input and Hugh Padgham's production ensures that the tracks appear crisp, tight and glossy.

'Real Wild Child' was the big hit from 'Blah Blah Blah', but there is a lot besides to recommend this album. I still enjoy it after all these years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars BLAH BLAH BLAH, 27 Mar 2014
By 
HAYLING BOOK & MUSIC VENUE (HBMV) "Hayling Is... (26 Rails Lane Hayling Island) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Blah Blah Blah (Audio CD)
This is an album that has divided opinion.

It is one of his most commercial (if not THE most commercial) recordings Iggy has ever made but it is also one of his coolest.

The songs benefit from Bowie's input and Hugh Padgham's production ensures that the tracks appear crisp, tight and glossy.

'Real Wild Child' was the big hit from 'Blah Blah Blah', but there is a lot besides to recommend this album. I still enjoy it after all these years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars BLAH BLAH BLAH, 27 Mar 2014
By 
HAYLING BOOK & MUSIC VENUE (HBMV) "Hayling Is... (26 Rails Lane Hayling Island) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Blah-Blah-Blah [VINYL] (Vinyl)
This is an album that has divided opinion.

It is one of his most commercial (if not THE most commercial) recordings Iggy has ever made but it is also one of his coolest.

The songs benefit from Bowie's input and Hugh Padgham's production ensures that the tracks appear crisp, tight and glossy.

'Real Wild Child' was the big hit from 'Blah Blah Blah', but there is a lot besides to recommend this album. I still enjoy it after all these years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars BLAH BLAH BLAH, 27 Mar 2014
By 
HAYLING BOOK & MUSIC VENUE (HBMV) "Hayling Is... (26 Rails Lane Hayling Island) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Blah-Blah-Blah (Audio CD)
This is an album that has divided opinion.

It is one of his most commercial (if not THE most commercial) recordings Iggy has ever made but it is also one of his coolest.

The songs benefit from Bowie's input and Hugh Padgham's production ensures that the tracks appear crisp, tight and glossy.

'Real Wild Child' was the big hit from 'Blah Blah Blah', but there is a lot besides to recommend this album. I still enjoy it after all these years.
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