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Iggy Funks Krautrock-Style,
This review is from: The Idiot (Audio CD)
Iggy Pop's 1977 album The Idiot was his solo album debut and was one of two Iggy album releases from that year on which he collaborated with David Bowie (the other being Lust For Life). Recorded in Germany and France, The Idiot's perhaps most obvious stylistic influences are those of so-called Krautrock (and, more specifically, the band Kraftwerk) and funk, both of which were heavy influences for Bowie, with whom Iggy wrote all of the songs on the album.
The Krautrock influence is most notable in terms of the pace of most of the songs, which is mid-tempo with only minimal variation. The first three songs on the album Sister Midnight, Nightclubbing and Funtime are great exponents of this style, thereby having something of a mesmerising effect on the listener. In fact, it's not until the fourth song Baby, with its catchy chorus, that this cycle is broken (and, for me, this comes as something of a welcome release). China Girl continues the more conventional songwriting approach, and Iggy's version, with its raw sound and typically idiosyncratic vocal scores over Bowie's later, more polished version.
The album reverts to Krautrock (and, maybe, industrial rock) style for the album's two extended songs, Dum Dum Boys and the closing Mass Production. Dum Dum Boys is my personal favourite of all the songs here, with Carlos Alomar's guitar to the fore, and the return of that mesmerising beat, as Iggy (I hope with his tongue firmly in his cheek) satirises his past bandmates from The Stooges ('People said we were negative, we'd take but we would never give, but we'd sing da-da-da da-da-da dum dum day'). Mass Production probably overstays its welcome at over eight minutes, but does have its moments of brilliance buried in its industrial soundscape. Sandwiched in between these two songs is Tiny Girls, a little gem of a song, a near-ballad, very atypical of the album with a Bowie saxophone introduction and a great vocal turn from Iggy.
I have to admit I do prefer Lust For Life (and indeed Raw Power-era Iggy) to The Idiot - for me, Lust For Life has a superior (and more diverse) set of songs. Nevertheless, this album certainly has enough going for it to warrant a place in the album collection.