By Madeline Bocaro
I was just living my life one day, accepting everything as it was. Then a package arrived containing the new Iggy Pop CD. The cover is vulgar and tasteless, the song titles detestable, and I knew this was going to be a real treat! After hours of non-stop listening (and a slight headache), it has become indisputable that the world is a very sick place, and although Iggy is one sick puppy, he underscores the shortcomings of the universe quite blatantly and eloquently – and he still rocks!
This one is fierce, hard and bottom-heavy. The lyrics are head-on and it’s a shame that some are buried in the glorious noise, as each word of wisdom from the Ig is a jewel of profundity no matter how crude, cruel or sarcastic.
It’s the antithesis of his last album, Avenue B on which we found an aged 50+ Iggy bitching, crooning and moaning about mid-life loneliness with an acoustic guitar. He claims that Avenue B was a brutally honest album. Maybe so, but Beat ‘Em Up is the real, ageless Iggy – primal, manic and yelping a tirade of insults at everyone and everything that deserves to die. We all thought Instinct was his heavy metal album, but this is the real deal. There is no lack of belly-laughs either!
From the thrashing opening track `Mask’ (“You’re wearing a mask, you look better that way”) to the closing rant `V.I.P.’ Iggy virtually regurgitates upon everything that’s wrong with people, the music industry, and life in general. He hurls in every direction and no one is innocent.
On `Howl’ Iggy is top dog, exercising his canine cacophony. It sounds like the Stooges jamming with Metallica. `The Jerk’ echoes the sentiments of Blondie’s “Rip Her To Shreds” (“Aw man, you’re killin’me!”).
`Go For The Throat’, a squalid (perhaps autobiographical) profile of an outlaw is a bit scary in the same way Eminem’s `Kim’ freaked me out before I knew that it’s supposed to be ironic and funny. I still don’t get that other guy, but when Iggy repeats “Go for the throat, I’m f*ked up – I’m so f*cked up” you’ll wonder where your children are.
`Ugliness’ is absolutely beautiful, starting with a wild manic outcry and a speedy riff out of the Stooges’ `I Got A Right’, declaring that porno sucks, music sucks, and delivering this astute corporate commentary, “They’ve got bald heads and toupees and they’re in total f*ing control!” There’s also a choice assessment of America’s Top 40; “Everybody has a gun to express feelings that should be expressed by a REAL musician”.
In `Drink New Blood’ Iggy has a self admitted “Infantile violent outburst!!!” `V.I.P’ is a hilarious diatribe on beautiful people delivered in his trademark snide narrative, and an improvised ‘hidden’ bonus track really rocks.
At last I have something new to listen to over and over for months, perhaps years until the next great album is made.