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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 May 2016
Given Iggy’s recent 'return to form’ with Post Pop Depression I was inspired to revisit this 1993 album and was left mightily impressed. If anything, the mood of American Caesar is rather more positive (if variable) than on PPD, a truly eclectic collection of songs featuring tales of urban alienation, 'punky’ nihilism and drug use interspersed with themes of social progression, romance and the exuberance of life. Of course, this doesn’t stop the man’s reputation preceding him, the album being emblazoned with the hilarious cover note: Parental Warning: This Is An Iggy Pop Record.

Early on, we get two album highlights: Wild America, with its pulsating guitar riff and a degree of ‘rant’ not dissimilar to (though a little milder than) that on Post Pop Depression’s superb closer, Paraguay. This is followed by Mixin’ The Colours, an encouragement of multi-culturalism, featuring a great blues feel and ace harmonica delivered courtesy of Malcolm Burn, band member and album producer. The nihilistic leanings of Hate, Sickness (with its 'slowed-down’ Ramones-like power chords), Plastic And Concrete (one of the most exuberant songs here) and Perforation Problems (Iggy angrily reflecting on past addiction) are offset by the dreamy pop romanticism (does Iggy really do this?) of Jealousy, Beside You and It’s Our Love – this latter song really does appear to be shot through with genuine heart-felt emotion (though I can’t help detecting an element of tongue-in-cheek). At the more positive (perhaps commercial) end of the musical spectrum here we get the acoustically-driven Highway Song and Girls of NY, plus the rockin’ Boogie Boy and a stunning version of Louie Louie, with lyrics modified to present Iggy’s early 90s take on global politics. There’s even time for irony, with the ballad Social Life and Iggy’s 'proclamation’ on (the overlong) Caesar.

I was very much torn between a 4 and 5 star rating but, despite some inconsistency in the song quality here, the album’s innate energy, eclecticism and (frequent) moments of inspiration lead me to a top rating and the view that American Caesar is almost certainly one of Iggy’s finest post-Berlin period solo recordings.
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on 3 June 2016
An epic Iggy fest. I decided to buy the vinyl version of this and was very impressed with the quality of the recording and more importantly the quality of the music. I have been so engrossed in this record recently that I also needed to get the cd version with auto rip so I can carry it around with me. American Casar marks, for me, a transition from Iggy's 80s work and what was to come in the 2000s with the Stooges reunion, the work with the Trolls etc. Here are 17 or (XVII) great body punching, sometimes heart stopping tracks that range over Stooges style high intensity rock out riffs from the early 70s, through to intense and personal ballads that look forward to the recent masterpiece Post Pop Depression. This record is an Iggy 'diorama' but as alive today as when it was recorded. It should be much better known
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on 15 December 2016
fast and good
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on 29 May 2015
Wild, raw and pure anarchy. Anger and all that is associated with it will be found in American Caesar. I always have to dance and sing along to it. Most of the time I wear high heels while listening to Iggy, he is so highly charged with that special energy. Surreal!
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on 29 July 2013
Not that I mean that in a condescending way but I never knew he had it in him, a friend lent me this and it blew me away! Its by no means a work of genius of genre defying its just very very good. An excellent rock n roll record: great songs well played. What more can you want? The quality over 75 minutes is staggering.
The last time I listened it actually occured that this is nearly a concept album with a lot of the songs refelcting emotions or needs:
The need to be a rebel on "Wild America"
Jelousy on er, "Jelousy"
Hate on er, "Hate"
Love on "It's Our Love" (OK it didnt take a cryptographer to work out the themes!) and "Beside You"
The urge to be free on "Highway Song!
The darkness inside "Sickness"
The temptation to give yourself over to the darkness "Perforation Problems"
Not finding a place for yourself "Social Life"
Those times when we get a bit pretentious and full of ourselves "American Caesar".
OK no idea what "Pleastic & Conceret" is about!
Damn-it-all Iggy Pop is distilling the human experience!
Its hard to pick a stand out, it just veers from one excellent song to another, maybe "Beside You" is the most suprising in that I just think "Iggy Pop wrote this?!"
The self indulgent title track aside and the forgettable last track and intro song aside this is just a parade of storming songs. Iggy is in fine voice too: rebellous and arrogant at times but bruised and hurt at other times. His band is on fire and the production is crisp too.
It even has a studio version of his "Louie Louie".
An excellent album, if like me you quite liked his work but doubted he could pull off a masterful solo album (without Bowie of course) then get this!
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on 19 September 2003
It kind of amazes me that this album is ten years old now, it still sounds so fresh and convincing!
And unlike anything that's followed it, it only has one duff track on it - Caesar - which is like Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music condensed down to 7 minutes (so even there he must get bonus points for not giving us a whole album of it!!).
On the ample plus side, this album combines some of the best parts of Iggy into one album. We have tracks that could have come from Brick By Brick (Mixin' The Colours, Beside You), tracks that could've come from his 'Berlin' period (Perforation Problems, Jealousy, Girls Of N.Y.), and tracks that can compare to classic Stooges for their primevalness (Wild America, Boogie Boy, and a masterful remake of Louie Louie).
In fact, this album contains so much 'classic' Iggy it could almost past for a 'Best Of' album.
So, please excuse the cliche, but do yourself a favour and buy this album for the best album Iggy's done in the last decade.
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on 15 February 2010
I don't know what it is but I find this album curiously disapointing. For a start it is just too long. Iggy offers us a 17-track double-album of material here but not all of it is up to scratch. 'Character' for example is only 1 minute of guitar plucking with some inaudible vocals and makes for a pointless opener. At the other end of the spectrum 3 of the tracks clock in at 6 or 7 minutes and are just too long. Furthermore, a lot of the rockers are really just standard fare, like 'Wild America', ' Mixin' the Colours', 'Girls of N.Y.' and others. However, there is some good songwriting to be found. 'It's our Love' is a promising ballad but is is spoiled by an echo-heavy production which makes him sound like he is singing in a supermarket garage. So too with 'Highway Song' which takes strong material and manages to make it sound indistinct and muddy. It is only when we get to 'Beside You' that we finally get a well produced single deserving of airplay.

The second half is a lot better than the first. 'Sickness' is a classic Iggy caterwaul. 'Boogie Boy' could have been a Stooges track and 'Perforation Problems' is, for me, the best song of the decade from Iggy with an absolutely killer melody and chorus. 'Louie, Louie' is also a success and Iggy so utterly so owns this cover version - even rewriting the lyrics extensively - that you are amazed he didn't write it himself. In many ways this song has been the theme tune to Iggy's whole life. The title track 'Caesar' is really just improvised lyrics over a guitar loop which is amusing for 5 minutes but is skipped a lot thereafter and another throwaway track finishes things off.

I think the real problem with this record is the production and Malcolm Burn doesn't really succeed in achieving any sort of consistent sound for such a long set. The overuse of echo is also just unpleasant and one can't help but feel that Don Was or even David Bowie would have done a more tasteful job. There is plenty worthwhile scavenging around for but it just could have been so much better. Clearly after 'Brick by Brick', Iggy felt the heat was off him and he could afford to be a bit more experimental but the annoying thing is that there is a killer 10 track album in the middle of all of this experimentation, and Iggy doesn't have so many of them under his belt that he can afford to throw one away.
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on 23 November 2004
this is one of the few albums that introduced iggy's music to me actually, apart from lust for life. it's long, statistically, it indicates that it's satisfying, you always want more, right? iggy's albums share one interesting feature, which is the very appealing final track! ha, regardless the previous tracks on the album, you can always have a beautiful ending. this album sounds like Bowie's outside, in many ways. iggy seemed to put out a rock drama just like bowie used to do.
all the songs are entangled with a heuristic yet clearly-defined theme,ends with a autobiographical monologue with beautiful beautiful guitar background.
just for the amount of effort iggy put in, for the last track, get it. believe me, it's very satisfying.
definitely iggy's second best album immediately after brick by brick.
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