The Jazzy Side of Iggy Pop on “Préliminaires”

Iggy_Prelim_WTwallp1I will be the first to admit, I am not a big punk fan.  I enjoy listening to it once in a while, but it isn’t a musical style I actively look for.  That said, every true rock fan has at least heard of Iggy Pop, often considered “the Godfather of Punk.”  I truly believe that artists, real artists, step outside of their typical box and push themselves without regard to anyone.

So when I received a press release back in March notifying me of Iggy’s new album, Préliminaires, I was incredibly surprised and intrigued to read the following:

Produced by Hal Cragin, Préliminaires, which means “foreplay” in French, is score music inspired by Michel Houellebecq’s 2005 novel The Possibility of an Island.

The genesis of Préliminaires began with a few songs written for a film documentary about Houellebecq’s life and his attempt to direct a film of his own book.  Eventually, Préliminaires took on a life of its own.

Iggy sings the standard “Les Feuilles Mortes (Autumn Leaves),” originally covered by the likes of Yves Montand and Edith Piaf, while the New Orleans-influenced “King of the Dogs”—with a jazz arrangement featuring trumpet, trombone and clarinet—tells the story of a dog named Fox who explains “how cool it is to be a dog, and how much it beats human life.” There’s also a version of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s bossa nova standard “How Insensitive (Insensatez).” (Source: Press Release via Email)

I have waited to hear some tracks from the new album before blogging about it, and I finally did.  Prior to hearing anything, I wasn’t sure if I would be surprised or confused or both.  It was challenging to imagine Iggy Pop singing Autumn Leaves, especially with jazzified orchestration.  I would have expected something a little more rowdy, loud and electric sounding than what I heard.   After watching a live performance of Autumn Leaves, I was happily surprised by Iggy’s cabaretish sounding vocal work.  I was left curious to hear the rest of the album.  Here is the video:

Recently, Iggy Pop also had an interview on NPR, which is available for listening, where he talked about Préliminaires.

The album was released on June 2nd and is available on Amazon should choose to purchase it.  Normally, I wouldn’t actively seek something from Iggy, but if he stepped out of his typical musical box, so can I.

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