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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.