Iggy Pop, The Idiot

Michaelangelo Matos

By Michaelangelo Matos

on 05.18.11 in Reviews

The Idiot

Iggy Pop
The sound of two brilliant, exhausted men trying to find their feet again

Released back in March 1977, The Idiot is the sound of two brilliant, exhausted men trying to find their feet again. Sound, not just the final product &#8212 the lurching rhythms on this album were far from the seething charge of the Stooges' 1973 Raw Power, which had been Iggy Pop's prior album, also produced by David Bowie. By the time they went to Paris, Munich and, crucially, Berlin to record, though, they were ready for a change: Bowie was leaving L.A.'s cocaine culture behind, Iggy was getting off smack, and together they mocked their party-lifestyle plight. "Nightclubbing" leeringly refers to "bright-white clubbing," with Iggy smirking, "We learn dances, brand new dances/ Like the Nuclear Bomb." "Funtime" is even more deadpan: "We're gonna get stoned and run around," Iggy drawls, the pause right before "run around" as casually funny as Dylan during his Basement Tapes era, even as the music mimics the Velvet Underground's "White Light/White Heat" done up as an even flatter stomp. (It's not the album's only Lou Reed-besotted moment: "Tiny Girls" sounds like something accidentally left off of Transformer, which, not coincidentally, was also produced by Bowie.) As much of a piece with Bowie's own Low and "Heroes" as with the Stooges' work, The Idiot's hypnotic dirges and heavily treated guitars and synths set the tone for Pop's own future work as much as the faster Lust for Life would only a few months later.