Review: “Préliminaires,” Iggy Pop

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Well, it’s certainly been an interesting half year so far, eh?  The centerpiece of a Springsteen album is a crappy cowboy epic, U2 fails to shake the world with their music, Dylan puts out a great album without playing the harmonica and the great American artistes du jour are … Green Day.   And now we have the curious case of Mr. James Osterberg, a.k.a. Iggy Pop, and his new album Préliminaires – strange days, indeed.

If you think Iggy’s gone all French jazz on us, you’re just half right.  Préliminaires does kick off with the jazzy “Les Feuilles Mortes (Autumn Leaves),” with Iggy crooning in French, sounding like the wasted younger brother of Charles Aznavour or Yves Montand.  Iggy has said this album was inspired by the book The Possibility Of An Island by French author Michel Houellebecq.  The hero of the book is apparently a dog named Fox and Iggy celebrates his character with the jaunty “King Of The Dogs,” done up in Louis Armstrong-style jazz. 

From the guy who once growled “I Wanna Be Your Dog” these selections might be a little disorienting but don’t worry: “Nice To Be Dead” has that familiar rock thud and Iggy menace.  It’s cool the way Iggy tries on these incongruent styles, like a shirt he’s going to wear for only five seconds.  “He’s Dead/She’s Alive” is pure acoustic American blues and “Spanish Coast” has Iggy crooning much like his old mentor David Bowie.  “She’s A Business” rocks like Iggy from the ’80s but its European counterpart “Je Sais Que Tu Sais” is more charming – it’s much sexier when a girl (in this case singer Lucie Amie) is talking in French. 

Préliminaires is a strange but immensely enjoyable album, mainly because it’s exactly what you would expect from the Godfather of Punk – the unexpected. 

MP3: “King Of The Dogs”

Iggy Pop official website

BONUS: In 2000, Iggy performed a duet with legendary French singer Francoise Hardy on the classic “I’ll Be Seeing You.”  Why not?

MP3: “I’ll Be Seeing You” by Francoise Hardy and Iggy Pop

One Response to “Review: “Préliminaires,” Iggy Pop”

  1. I recently reviewed this album for The Aquarian. I don’t think it’s great by any means, but it does have some subtle rewards. Long time fans may be disappointed if they’re looking for a rock album. As I said in my review, it’s a long way from “I Wanna Be Your Dog” to “King of the Dogs.”

    In the liner notes, Iggy says that he’s tired of being an entertainer, and I think it shows at some points on this album.

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