Iggy Pop - The Idiot (1977), 7/10

The Idiot provides a hedonistic, yet mature set of songs juxtaposed against the aggressive and noisy Stooges Iggy had just graduated from, exploring a newfound maturity from separation in response to tragic deaths from alcoholism and drug abuse surrounding the band. The title pays homage to Dostoevsky's novel of the same name and Iggy's pose mimics Heckel's Roquairol as does Bowie's Heroes. Yet you can still hear Iggy’s strength intact as a powerful vocalist, seething passion in every moment of the record. As opposed to the drug fueled masterpiece that was Fun House, Iggy was now exploring philosophical territory emerging from his survival of such a set of experiences. The first stretch of the album is ridiculously strong in its songwriting and sound, focusing on a very specific part of Iggy’s return to introspection and the accompanying depressive aesthetic that many of us can relate to. Of course, on that note, it’s hard not to mention Ian Curtis’ fandom of the album considering the obvious influence on Joy Divison’s music, even being last album he listened to. Its dark ethos is quite clear from the get-go and never quite lets up long enough to give you air, just like the night’s temptations and their stronghold on men like Iggy. It makes sense to call to Dostoevsky’s novel in a sense, but this Idiot is more nihilistic and perhaps realistic in his approach to the world’s dark places and those of the mind. Instead of taking on the thrills of the world head on as he did during his time with the Stooges, now we explore the nuances of dealing with the aftermath, the comedown. A lot can be, and has been, said about the production, especially of Bowie’s heavy influence on the record during a time of struggle himself, so I will just quickly point out that yes he adds a very necessary level of depth to the project and gives Iggy the platform he needs to explore these themes to their full potential. It would not be half the album it is without that influence and direction. That being said, it is clearly one coming from Iggy’s perspective, and it also wouldn’t work as a Bowie album, it needs Iggy’s background and charisma. The music itself is just as enticing as its themes, driving dance music and disco never sounded so wonderfully eerie, or just plain great for that matter. The appropriately almost literary approach to industrialization and capitalism just make it that much easier to dig into when surrounded by mental instability and lust. It can be simultaneously cold and aloof yet viscerally personal, but it is always effective in its pragmatic yet hopelessly grim ideals. Far and above Iggy’s greatest and most successful philosophical solo album.