Spun: Iggy Pop

The last song you’d expect to open a new Iggy Pop release is 1945 French jazz standard “Les Feuilles Mortes” (Autumn Leaves), sung in French no less. Preliminaires — which translates as Foreplay — is Iggy’s 15th solo recording and is an eclectic mix of jazz, blues and subtle electronics. Clearly this isn’t the Iggy we’re accustomed to, but this unexpected direction is a fresh approach for the oft-referred to “godfather of punk.” As he recently stated in a promo video, “At one point I just got sick of listening to idiot thugs with guitars banging out crappy music.”

Preliminaires was inspired by French author Michel Houellebecq’s 2005 novel La Possibilite d’une île (The Possibility Of An Island), which Iggy refers to as being about “death, sex, the end of the human race and some other pretty funny stuff.” Naturally, the lyrics are bleak and Iggy sings them convincingly in his deep and weathered tone.

“I Want To Go To The Beach” is a wistful ballad in which he confesses to “hating/the shit life throws my way/hating/waiting/to make my escape.” New Orleans jazz trumpets swirl on “King Of The Dogs,” while he sings from a canine’s point of view. The electro-dirge of “Je sais que tu sais” features guest vocalist Lucie Aime eerily whispering all of her lines in French. “Party Time” offers disco dance beats while “He’s Dead/She’s Alive” is an acoustic Cajun blues tune. “Nice To Be Dead” is the only guitar-driven rock track.

Despite the mix of various musical forms, Preliminaires works well as a whole and is a successful venture off of Iggy Pop’s roughly beaten path.

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