Beat 'Em Up

Iggy Pop

Virgin, 2001

REVIEW BY: Brian Birnbaum


Iggy Pop is somewhat of an unsung hero. People give credit to the Ramones/Sex Pistols for founding punk rock and Soundgarden/Nirvana for founding grunge, but really the man who founded both was Ig. Ya dig?

The problem is, Iggy has gone metallic on Beat 'Em Up and is out of his element. The punk rock of his solo work and the garage rock of the Stooges is gone on every number except the opening “Mask,” a three-chord tune that recalls the best of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Fun House. It's enough to give you hope.

But you can drop that hope like a bad habit, because the rest of the disc is a bunch of crappy power-chord numbers by a band called the Trolls. How can such good musicians get together and make such bad music? Because Iggy is obviously trying to capture the old days, and his nostalgia is blinding him like a ham sandwich in front of a hobo (that is to say, it ruins pretty much everything here.)

Think of the worst metaphor that you have ever heard. Now read the lyrics to Iggy’s song, “Football:” “I'm a football baby / Rollin' round the field / I've been passed and fumbled / Till I don't know what I feel / Everybody's the same / They're all footballs too / Setting up the big play / And trying to score.” If it took him more than five minutes to write this song, I’m officially going to release a statement to his close friends and family informing them that our dear friend Iggy is about two or three chromosomes shy of being mentally ill.

Even when the music gets good, Iggy's vocals -i if you want to call them that -- ruin the song. Look at “Howl,” which could have been a decent instrumental but is ruined by Iggy's... you guessed it, howling throughout the entire fucking song. At least he has something to say on “V.I.P.,” though the music doesn't follow suit.

I’ll admit “The Jerk” is the other bright spot, though on this disc it's more like the mediocre spot in the middle of a landfull, a spot without the stench of crap. But I’m not going to talk about it because I’m already in a bad mood from the first half of the album. When I overpaid by three dollars for this album, I expected some punk rock, some of the old Stooges glory, or at least an entertaining time. There is none of that here.

Shame on you, Iggy Pop. Get your drug money elsewhere if you're going to keep polluting the stores and music fans' CD collections with this kind of stuff.

Rating: D-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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