Iggy Pop albums come in two basic varieties: Them that rock and them that don’t. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not choosing sides there. Sure, I love the ones that rock. Well, most of them. Honestly, a couple of them aren’t that great. On the other hand, some of the ones that don’t rock are pretty damn awesome. So OK, maybe it’s not as cut-and-dried as I made it sound at first. But the basic point stands: Sometimes Iggy rocks. Sometimes he doesn’t. And lately he hasn’t. No big surprise there; after all, he’s 75 goddamn years old. He quit stage diving a while back. He lives in Florida, for fuck’s sake.
But Every Loser? This rocks. Correction: This FUCKING rocks. Harder and faster and louder and ruder and cruder than he has in years. Decades, really. It definitely rocks harder than his 2016 Josh Homme collaboration Post Pop Depression, good as that was. Probably the last time he raged like this was Skull Ring back in 2003. On that one, if you recall, Iggy was joined by VIPs like Green Day, Sum 41 and Peaches, along with his solo band and the surviving Stooges. Similarly, Every Loser features a laundry list of big wigs — Taylor Hawkins, Travis Barker, Chad Smith, Stone Gossard, Duff McKagan, Josh Klinghoffer, Dave Navarro and Eric Avery. I’m not sure if that’s a coincidence or if it says something about Iggy. Maybe he’s only as good as the company he keeps.
Despite all those hot hands, the real ace in the hole here is guitarist and producer Andrew Watt, who co-wrote most of these tracks. And even though his CV includes names like Justin and Britney and Elton, I gotta admit he knows how to kick of the jams. At least four of these 11 songs are wicked-good slam-bam thank-you-ma’am riff-fests laced with driving beats and grinding basslines. Frenzy kicks open the saloon doors and swaggers up to the bar as Iggy talks shit to everyone within earshot: “Got a dick and two balls, that’s more than you all / My mind’ll be sick if you I suffer the pricks … So give me a try before I fucking die / My mind is on fire when I oughta retire.” Now we’re fucking talking.
And Iggy’s just getting wound up. Modern Day Rip Off slips and slides like an old Stooges track, complete with pumping piano, as Iggy gives the stink-eye to out life and times: “I got shit in my bucket / I wish I could say ‘Fuck it’ … I ran out of blow / A long time ago / I can’t smoke a J / All my ducks fly away.”
Neo Punk is a double-time hardcore slammer with Pop laffing at posers and corporate shills: “I don’t have to sing, I got publishing / I’m a neo-punk / I can puke and drool in your swimming pool.” The arena-sized All The Way Down captures Iggy at his pugilistic, nihilistic best: “I don’t wanna hear no phony shit / I’ve gotta win and that’s the end of it / I’m taking aim at a big asshole / And I might just get all the way down.”
Even the tracks that don’t bash you over the head quite as hard still deliver a decent musical, lyrical or emotional punch. The fuzzy Strung Out Johnny is a cautionary tale of junk (and maybe Johnny Thunders). The darkly fluid New Atlantis is a love letter to Iggy’s adopted hometown of Miami. The rootsy slow-burner Morning Show peeks behind the mask of celebrity. The keyboard-glistening Comments finds Iggy selling out to Hollywood and loving it. The News For Andy and My Animus are oddball spoken-word interludes that cleanse the palate without overstaying their welcome. And the surging The Regency is not an ode to a luxury hotel, but Iggy’s parting shot at elitists and fat cats: “Fuck the regency up!” And of fucking shit up isn’t what Iggy Pop is here for, I’m a monkey’s banana peeler.
So there you have it: 11 tracks, 37 minutes. A handful of rockers that give no fucks, plus another handful of above-average album tracks. Not a loser in the bunch. And even if it doesn’t make you wanna throw away your copy of Funhouse or Raw Power, it just might make you rip off your shirt, smear peanut butter on your chest and roll around on the floor. Let there be rock.
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Every Loser is Iggy Pop’s 19th solo album and his first to be released via a partnership between Atlantic Records and Gold Tooth Records, the new label founded by the album’s Grammy-winning, multi-platinum executive producer Andrew Watt.
“I’m the guy with no shirt who rocks; Andrew and Gold Tooth get that, and we made a record together the old-fashioned way,” Iggy said in a recent statement. “The players are guys I’ve known since they were kids and the music will beat the shit out of you.”
As indicated by the pinned db meters of the first single Frenzy, Every Loser harkens back to Iggy’s primordial roots while maintaining an undeniably modern lyrical point viewpoint and sonic palette. Every Loser is an exemplary album of primal rock ’n’ roll — a master class in the art of lashing out with unequalled intensity and unflappable wit. The result: 11 songs by the man who refused to go gently into that good night on his previous album, 2019’s somber and contemplative Free, and is once again charging fearlessly at life itself
“Iggy Pop is a fucking icon, a true original,” says Watt. “The guy invented the stage dive. I still can’t believe he let me make a record with him. I am honored. It doesn’t get cooler. This album was created to be played as loud as your stereo will go. Turn it up and hold on.”
Widely acknowledged as one of the most influential artists and dynamic live performers of all time, Pop is a singer, songwriter, musician, author, record producer, DJ, and actor whose epic body of work has earned him both worldwide critical acclaim and fanatic cult success. Beginning in 1967 with his era-defining group The Stooges, Pop merged primal rock, blues, and free jazz into something altogether dangerous and new, paving the way for punk, post-punk, hard rock, and grunge. His landmark solo career — which kicked off with 1977’s David Bowie-produced The Idiot and Lust For Life — has seen Pop traverse a stunning span of musical genres, inspiring generation after generation of rock ‘n rollers with his iconoclastic songcraft, uncompromising performance style, and one-of-a-kind charisma. Perhaps the greatest living embodiment of rock ’n’ roll, Pop has never slowed down, pushing the art form forward for more than half a century, including his most recent full-length recording, 2019’s contemplative, critically acclaimed Free.
Watt’s diverse array of credits includes work with Justin Bieber, Post Malone, Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa, Ozzy Osbourne and more. In 2021 he was honored with the Grammy for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, and recently produced Osbourne’s Billboard Chart-topping album Patient Number 9, as well as the single Hold Me Closer, the hit collaboration between Britney Spears and Elton John. At the top of 2022, Watt produced Eddie Vedder’s critically acclaimed solo release Earthling, and in February, he landed two genre-bending hits on the Hot 100 with The Kid Laroi’s Thousand Miles and Ed Sheeran and Lil Baby’s 2step. Beyond his producing and songwriting, Watt had the honor of joining Vedder on tour as part of his all-star side project The Earthlings.”