Reflections Of An Aging Punk-Rocker

Iggy turns 50 and gets philosophical on our asses.

So I'm listening to Iggy Pop's new one, Avenue B, and I'm thinking,

"Is this really as awful as it seems?" I mean, the thing starts out with

a recitation cleverly titled "No Shit" (RealAudio

excerpt), in which the former world's forgotten boy, having

recently hit the big Five-O, informs us that "Strangely, I became more

bookish," that "I wanted to find a balance between joy and dignity on my

way out," and that, "Above all, I didn't want to take any more shit, not

from anybody." OK, Ig, I'll bite. I'll be the passenger; I'll ride.

Where're we goin'? Well, those books come in handy right away, as on the

opening song, "Nazi Girlfriend" (RealAudio

excerpt), wherein Iggy sings, "I want to fuck her on the floor/

Among my books of ancient lore." Good joke conning us into believing even

for a minute that Iggy might go all literate on us in his old age; after

all, he was already comin' around the 40 bend when he penned the touching

ditty, "Pussy Power." And besides, "Nazi Girlfriend" does include one

memorable poetic rumination: "Her French is perfect/ So's her butt."

Of course, after a few more tracks, the question of taking sh-- or giving

it does become a factor. "If I haven't got a hassle/ I'll create my own,"

Iggy notes in the title track, wherein he also confesses that "My

girlfriend's warm [not the Nazi one, obviously] and loves me/ She's

knockin' but she can't get in." And, unfortunately for us, this attraction/

repulsion theme dominates the album, mainly in the form of girls at least

half his age ("She Called Me Daddy") that Iggy doesn't mind gettin'

physical with ("I Felt the Luxury") but would rather not open up to

("Afraid to Get Close") for fear of becoming an object of psychological

scrutiny. I mean, if he gets his joy and dignity balance jollies from

going on and on about screwing German girls (the aforementioned

little Miss SS), Spanish girls ("Miss Argentina"), French girls ("Long

Distance"), etc., well, good for the old Ig id. All I know is it'd be

just a tad more interesting if there were anything even remotely resembling

an insight lurking anywhere in sight — or sound.

Speaking of which, the musical vibe here is mostly of the lounge variety

(several tracks feature the icebox noodlings of Medeski, Martin and Wood,

although if you wanted to get technical, pace-wise we're talking snail

rather than lizard), and there's little to break the Ig-crooner monotony

besides a pointless cover of the early '60s classic "Shakin' All Over"

and the album's lone authentic rocker, "Corruption," which sounds as

though maybe it was written a while ago, perhaps for Brick by Brick

(1990), source of the aforementioned "P-Power" and (it sez here) the

last great album in the Iggy oeuvre (of which there are, yes, quite a

few).

In any event, if you want to have some actual fun with this album, skip

straight to the next-to-last cut, "Motorcycles" (RealAudio

excerpt), and — trust me here — this song is so melodically

lame that if you just start humming any melody whatsoever to

fit the spare chords, you'll find that Iggy's singing the same thing

you've just made up off the top of your head. Did I say seriously awful?

I take it back. Gloriously awful!