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Iggy Pop | The Bowie Years

You don't have to be an idiot to shell out for this inessential box set. But it helps.

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You can’t go wrong with Iggy Pop, right? Well, not usually. But much as it pains me to say it, the Ig’s new box set The Bowie Years leaves a little something to be desired. And not just because that vaguely demeaning title seems to make Pop the second banana of his own show. For those who haven’t guessed yet, the seven-disc set is anchored by Lust For Life and The Idiot, the two albums Pop and David Bowie co-wrote while living together in Berlin in the late ’70s. Along with the expected remastered versions of both albums, you get the live offering TV Eye, a disc of inessential alternate mixes and single edits (but no previously unreleased studio tracks) and audio from three nearly identical live performances from March 1977 (including full versions of the two shows that contributed tracks to TV Eye. Aside from those few dozen live numbers, the only real rarity in the entire box is a four-minute audio clip of Pop on some European TV show, talking about his working relationship with The Thin White Duke. Bottom line: You don’t need to be an idiot to shell out big bucks for this. But it helps. (On the plus side, both Lust and Idiot are also available separately in double-disc deluxe editions featuring a selection of live and studio extras from the box, so if you happen to need a new copy of either album, that seems a far more reasonable option.)

THE PRESS RELEASE: A seven-CD box set exploring Iggy Pop’s Berlin-era albums, The Bowie Years features remastered versions of The Idiot, Lust For Life, live album TV Eye and rare outtakes, alternate mixes and a 40 page book. The box set and albums provide a fascinating insight into the unique creative alchemy that defined the mythical Berlin-era of post punk, and set the wheels in motion for a sound that went on to dominate the world, shaping popular culture for decades to come. Pop’s Lust For Life and The Idiot remain two of the most influential albums ever made and still stand as towering behemoths in rock’s upper echelons, their sonic DNA and attitude continuing to influence and inspire new generations of artists to this day. Both albums run through the fabric of artists such as Joy Division, Queens Of The Stone Age, IDLES, Fontaines DC, R.E.M., Depeche Mode, N.I.N., Nick Cave, and an ever regenerating crop of new talent. Alongside these two albums, included in the box is a remastered version of the live album TV Eye recorded the 1977 tour in Cleveland, Chicago and Kansas City featuring Bowie on keyboards. There are also three discs of live recordings from March 1977 officially released for the first time — Live at The Rainbow Theatre, London, Live at The Agora, Cleveland and Live at Mantra Studio, Chicago. The set also contains a 40-page booklet with contributions from the musicians who played on the records and famous fans discussing the influence the albums have had on them.”