[HOT TRACK]Iggy's Music Is More Than Pop

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[HOT TRACK]Iggy's Music Is More Than Pop

"No thanks to anyone," is what Iggy Pop writes in the liner notes of his album. It is a cheeky parody of the interminable "thank-you" lists, often written in unreadable type that clutter most singers' albums these days. The title of the album is similarly edgy, the rather aggressive "Beat Em Up," along with indecent album cover art.

This vulgar energy in everything Iggy Pop does has been his signature style over the several decades of his musical career. Although Pop has never met with tremendous commercial success and repeatedly dealt with serious drug problems, this godfather of American punk rock, now in his mid-50s, is still alive and kicking.

Born James Newell Osterberg in Michigan in 1947, Pop started out as a drummer in the band The Iguanas, where he picked up the nickname Iggy (short for "Iguana"). Later inspired by The Doors, he formed a band called Psychedelic Stooges, then shortened down to just the "Stooges." Now serving as vocalist, guitarist and showy frontman, he changed his name first to Iggy Stooge, then Iggy Pop. From then on, Pop became famous for his raw power and gaudy live performances. On stage, Pop would do grotesque things, such as carve a flower pattern on his bare chest with broken pieces of glass. Of course, people rarely do these things when sober, and Pop's repeated drug use eventually brought an end to the band.

Then David Bowie appeared. A great fan of Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Bowie befriended Pop and helped him make his first solo albums. Due to Bowie's collaboration, Pop found new musical life, releasing songs such as "The Idiot," "China Girl" and "Lust for Life" (later made famous in the hit film "Trainspotting"). Although Pop could not completely overcome his drug use, and even once admitted himself to a psychiatric hospital, he managed to maintain his musical success until the early 1990s, releasing albums like "Blah Blah Blah" and "Brick by Brick." But his 1999 album "Avenue B" was rather disappointing to his hard-core fans because Iggy Pop produced a much mellower sound. Now on "Beat Em Up," however, Pop is back with a more aggressive style. The songs on the self-produced, 15-track album range from pure punk to modern alternative.

Although not for everyone, Pop's most recent CD is certainly a powerful, fun piece of music, a return to the louder, more aggressive original Iggy Pop.



by Chun Su-jin

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