Before we get to the nitty-gritty of what makes it so, let’s get straight to the point: this is a great Iggy Pop album, probably the best he could have made at this particular moment in time.
Teaming up with producer du jour Andrew Watt (who’s previously done the business for Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Ozzy Osbourne, and is in the process of completing the next Pearl Jam and Morrissey records) was a genius move. Watt (an ex-member of California Breed alongside Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham, and a current member of Eddie Vedder’s touring band Earthlings), who doubles on guitar and keyboards, indubitably knows his rock and clearly had a vision for Every Loser.
When engaged for the project, he initially asked Iggy: “Are you ready to be yourself?And, with the point taken, the 75-year old alt.rock icon delivers a quintessential Iggy performance, which Watt seamlessly contemporises with a 21st-century rock production featuring A-list luminaries Duff McKagan, Chad Smith, Travis Barker, Stone Gossard, Dave Navarro, Josh Klinghoffer and the late Taylor Hawkins.
Frenzy is the perfect opener, an out-of-the-traps lead single that trades any hit potential for sheer, untrammelled Iggy-ness. ‘I’m in a frenzy, you fucking prick,’ our man reveals in vintage shirtless style, before happily concluding: ‘I’ve got a dick and two balls.’
Elsewhere, Strung Out Johnny, a survivor’s anti-smack revelation that sees the classic Iggy baritone (that David Bowie initially encouraged him to highlight on The Idiot) deployed affectingly, Neo Punk witheringly lampoons the modern-day phenomenon of mainstream-seducing punk celebs (while, ironically, featuring prime example Travis Barker on breakneck traps), and Morning Show offers a dark, FM-friendly flip to Harry Chapin’s W.O.L.D.
Iggy’s on blistering, razor-sharp form throughout and, perhaps more than ever, totally himself. Previous solo career highs have seen him clearly indebted to Bowie or Josh Homme, but Watt’s production is only complementary. Flawless, and never casting shade across Iggy’s central performance. Every Iggy attribute features, yet subtle production discipline deftly sidesteps caricature.
Post-Post Punk Depression even Iggy grew tired of Iggy. 2019’s sober, contemplative Free toyed with jazz, poetry, ambience, but Every Loser captures an Iggy Pop never more ready to be himself and never better equipped to deliver a stone-cold classic.