Lust For Life by Iggy Pop Review
Iggy Pop’s second solo album, Lust For Life, turned out to be his most successful release to date. Once again, a collaboration with David Bowie, Lust For Life was instantly more recognisable as an Iggy Pop album than The Idiot, with a more straightforward rock feel.
The title track opened the album and although a hit at the time, it is perhaps most famous today for featuring on the Trainspotting soundtrack. The iconic opening tom-tom drum tattoo has the sound of an amplified Motown song but was, in fact, inspired by Morse code. Dealing in familiar Iggy lyrical territory of drugs and general depravity, it is influenced by author William Burroughs and his character, Johnny Yen.
Sixteen has another memorable riff and was composed solely by Iggy Pop. Featuring a very direct lyric offering to “show you my explosion” the song was a live staple for many years to come and a somewhat spaced Iggy delivered a memorable live performance on the UK music show “The Tube” in 1983.
Some Weird Sin deals with Iggy’s struggle with addiction and his self-destructive desires. A show piece for the excellent rhythm section of Hunt and Tony Sales, the song has an almost confessional tone about Iggy’s frailties beneath the powerful, booming drum and bass.
The Passenger is the second true classic on Lust For Life. The song was inspired by a Jim Morrison poem and Iggy’s journeys on Berlin’s S-Bahn and features a memorable riff written by guitarist Ricky Gardiner. Originally released as a B-side, the song was a hit years later when it was re-released in 1998, reaching number 22 in the UK charts.
Tonight is Iggy’s serenade to a lover dying of heroin, as established in the opening spoken word introduction. David Bowie would re-record the song years later as a duet with Tina Turner. Shorn of it’s spoken introduction, Bowie creates a much more pop-oriented version of the song. The Lust For Life version is a much darker piece of work.
Success is a unashamedly lightweight call-and-response song presumably about Iggy’s new-found success. A good if somewhat throwaway song, it is a contrast to the weighty and rather morbid Turn Blue. This plodding epic again addresses the subject of heroin addiction and death but does so less effectively than Tonight. Originally written during an aborted recorded session a couple of years earlier, the song rambles in a stream of conciousness way and is a low-point of Lust For Life.
Neighborhood Threat rocks is a similar fashion to Some Weird Sin and seems to discuss the issue of drug addiction and its effect on society.
The final track is another minor classic that seems to have been somewhat ignored by Iggy over the years. Fall In Love With Me features an playful and insistent keyboard riff and some fine guitar interplay. The lyrics act as a counterpoint to the music and are quite dark in places with a note of desperation.
In Lust For Life Iggy and Bowie once again produced a classic. Iggy is at the top of his game lyrically and whatever substances he was or wasn’t taking were clearly working for him at this time. With its instantly recognisably iconic cover, Lust For Life is rightly regarded as a defining moment in rock n’ roll.
Rated Sound gives Lust For Life by Iggy Pop a rating of 9/10.
Lust For Life (1977) by Iggy Pop Track Listing
1. Lust For Life
3. Some Weird Sin
4. The Passenger
7. Turn Blue
8. Neighborhood Threat
9. Fall In Love With Me