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Iggy Pop: Après

Reptile-punk overlord becomes lounge-lizard crooner on this self-released album.

With his voice hewn from granite and gravel, Iggy’s potential has always been broader than his punk-metal caveman reputation.

A semi-sequel to Preliminaires, his underrated 2009 album of Gallic chansons and jazzy standards, this classy collection of bilingual covers became a self-released and online project after it was rejected by the singer’s label EMI.

But whatever its commercial appeal, this is one of the punk Sinatra’s most musically lush and emotionally sophisticated works to date. Serge Gainsbourg, George Brassens, Cole Porter and even The Beatles receive his bass-baritone crooner treatment, alongside a raunchy New Orleans swagger through La Vie En Rose and a sublimely sad take on Yoko Ono’s I’m Going Away Smiling. There are a few corny moments, but Iggy’s mud-caked crocodile croak imbues them with sardonic, world-weary wisdom.

Whatever his short-sighted label may think, this fine album points to an autumnal career makeover in the grand tradition of Leonard Cohen or Johnny Cash.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.