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Iggy Pop
Avenue B

The one aspect of Iggy Pop’s career that has been ignored—his voice—is in full force on Avenue B. That’s not necessarily a good thing. The godfather of punk was always more potent as a performer than as a singer, and this half-hearted collection of hazy memoirs—Iggy’s most introspective CD—sadly makes for an uneasy listen. It’s obviously not a reflection on his adventurous life—just the current state of his songwriting abilities. The energetic Iggy lacks the literary bent of Lou Reed and the dandyism of David Bowie. “Shakin’ All Over” has the taste of the familiar Stooges wah-wah guitar, but the session players simply don’t rock. The organs and conga drums on “Ya Yo Habla Español” sound like a poorly contrived punk-rock Santana. In “Corruption,” he screams, “Order in the court/decision to abort.” Both the music and the lyrics, including three short spoken-word pieces, are far from eloquent. Yet Iggy has never been consistent and predictable. Remember, it’s 1999, so don’t expect to hear 1969.

Originally published in the Orlando Weekly on September 9, 1999.