The first two words that Iggy Pop sings on the new Stooges album The Weirdness
are “Good God!”
Which seems strangely appropriate, as I remember thinking when James Brown died that the mantle of hardest working man in show business
now falls to Iggy.
It would be impossible for any album to live up to the expectations created by this one – as if they were somehow going to pull another Fun House
out of their hat. What you’ve got is a pretty decent Iggy album with one or two classics that make it worth the ride.
And it opens promisingly enough: squealy rock riffing that proclaims the return of the prodigal scum. Iggy launches into a tale of cruising with the top down – it only takes 4 lines, in fact, before one of his most legendary attributes is mentioned by name – and the chorus almost makes you laugh out loud:
“Ya can’t tell me this is not a suave thing TA DO!!”
For a moment, it’s everything you want.
And there are great moments in many of the other songs as well, even if it all doesn’t seem to come together as much of a whole. And I’d certainly rather spend 40 minutes listening to Iggy complain about the state of things than just about anyone.
There are two real diamonds here, though: the title track, which features the crooning Iggy, and Passing Cloud.
These probably just reflect my own taste and other listeners will have their own favorites. But in a world where it’s impossible to tell the real thing from the manufactured, and 80’s bands are reuniting so they can charge $50 for nosebleed seats, it’s nice to have The Stooges back to put the cutlery out of place.
So we blew a little cash over the weekend on CD’s. The other notable one I wanted to mention is old news, but I’ve only just caught up to it.
Last year, a double-disc set of Robert Fripp’s Exposure
album was released. I’d been looking for it since I heard about it, as a “deluxe edition” of just about anything can induce me to buy it.
I was eager to get it, though, as I hadn’t heard it in years (haven’t had a turntable for ages), and the extras would just be icing on the cake.
Well, the first disc is, as you might imagine, the original 1979 LP with its guest vocals from Daryl Hall, Terre Roche, Peter Hammill, etc., that made it such an interesting crazy quilt.
But what the second disc gives you is something much more interesting, especially if you’re familiar with the original. For when Exposure
was originally recorded, Daryl Hall originally performed all of the vocal duties. It was his manager at the time, Tommy Mottola, who decided that the record wouldn’t do much for Hall’s commercial appeal. In fact, Fripp points out in the notes that Hall’s first solo album, the Fripp-produced Sacred Songs,
had its release held up for three years (!) for fear of what it would do to his career.
And so he was allowed to pick two songs on which he could retain Hall’s vocal work. The others then had to be rerecorded with other vocalists with the end result being, Fripp hints, a better, perhaps broader album.
The second disc restores all of Daryl Hall's original vocals and it's fascinating to hear how songs like the elegiac “Mary,” which we’ve only ever heard sung by Terre Roche, and the frightening “Disengage” might have sounded had things gone as originally planned.
Back pages, sure, but what pages.
The other reason to buy it is purely for Fripp’s liner notes. Well aware of how the elusive guitarist feels about the music industry in general, I was not disappointed by the following:In 1977 I had no intention of returning to the music industry, having experienced at close hand the stupidity, vanity, jealousy and greed that accompany success and its attendant income flow; amongst artists, management, record companies and even innocent members of the audience.
Longer, wider, deeper experience suggests that I underestimated the dishonesty of artist management, record company cynicism and deceit, the capacity for self-deception among artists, and the sheer dopiness of those who nominally support the work of their favoured artists.
He then ends this particular paragraph by concluding:This is not the bad news.