Iggy Pop - Skull Ring (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Iggy Pop

Skull Ring (2003)


Iggy Pop used to be the one guy I always thought was the definition of "punk rock" - before the Ramones, Iggy had the Stooges. Before GG Allin cut himself up on stage, Iggy had already stopped doing that, realizing just how fucking stupid it was. When there was the watered-down "punk explosion" in the mid-nineties, Iggy went the opposite direction entirely, ending up on the highly punk rock Adventures of Pete and Pete. Basically, the guy's been around for ages [and somehow still isn't dead], he's seen and done it all and then some. So how does he plan out his comeback?

Like a punk rock Santana, it seems.

If you don't know yet, collaborations between Iggy and others abound on this album. 6 songs feature Iggy's normal touring band, the Trolls, providing the backbeat. While none of these songs are amazing, they help the album come around and get focused after the many side-tracking collaborations.

But the real fun [or pain] starts when the "stars" contribute to the disc. Iggy and the Stooges reunite for 4 songs here, and they have no bite whatsoever. The songs are sloppy, too lo-fi for their own good, and just sound like bad seventies hard rock [complete with wanky guitar noises].

Modern punks Green Day [and their bastard children Sum 41] each work with Iggy on the disc. "Private Hell" is classic Green Day, Nimrod era [sounding eeriely akin to "Hitchin' A Ride"]. Green Day's second contribution, "Supermarket," totally rips. Iggy's vocals work really well with Mike Dirnt's solid bassline and Billie Joe's killer hook. Sum 41's "Little Know It All" is the single, and as much as critics like to hate on Sum 41 for whatever reason, I have no problems admitting that I enjoy this song - as a Sum 41 song, that is. It just seems downright silly to have Iggy singing lead to skatepunk as simple as this. Even he sounds bored.

Amazingly, Pop's best work on the disc is "Rock Show," a collaboration with electroclasher Peaches. As they bellow in tandem "Rock show / you came to fear it / you came to sear it / you came to do it all," one must notice the fire present in Iggy's voice, a fire that has been missing for the majority of the album. The last time I heard this guy sing this angrily was when he caterwauled "Manuscript REPLLLLLLICAAAA!" for At The Drive-In three years ago.

There isn't much bite here; there barely is any bark. Iggy tries to upgrade his image via others' coattails, and it just doesn't work on here. It's too artsy to be pop, and it's too pop to be taken seriously. Better luck next time, Iggy.

Little Electric Chair [w/the Stooges] Windows Media Real Audio
Little Know It All [w/Sum 41] Windows Media Real Audio