I'm one of those people who grew up thinking David Bowie was a genius from beyond the realm of human evolution, but the older I get the more I tend to believe that Iggy Pop is the true wizard within the Big Three of Glam. Though he's never going to be accused of having the greatest range in the world, that voice is simply one of a kind and can cut through the air like thunder. There's just something in the way Iggy sings that has such incredible depths and balls to it.
And that's why today we celebrate the times he's lent that incredible set of pipes to other artists.
Kesha, "Dirty Love" I think in the end Kesha is going to turn out to be more than we ever thought she would have. 2012's Warrior was her love letter to the sort of harder glam that was Pop's unique niche once he went solo. Pop paid her back by appearing on "Dirty Love," which dances the line between fuck song and Cole Porter dance number.
Rock and Rule Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, "Pain & Suffering" If you haven't seen Rock and Rule you need to rectify that immediately because it's arguably one of the greatest Western adult animated films ever made. Cheap Trick, Lou Reed and Debbie Harry all contributed heavily to the film, but Iggy's only got about a minute of sing-time with this demon-summoning shot. It's not too late to make a sequel, Nelvana!
Teddybears, "Punkrocker" Straight out of Sweden comes Teddybears and their track "Punkrocker." Aside from the obvious fact that Iggy is considered one of the godfathers of punk, it's also an interesting ode to the styles he's dabbled in later in life without ever losing what made him who was in the first place. That's one of the reasons he has stayed so viable: he can change and stay the same simultaneously.
The Nymphs, "Supersonic" Remember the Nymphs? Just another female-fronted powerhouse act from the early '90s that's disappeared with other heavy acts like Artificial Joy Club into the half-remembered haze in my generation's minds. Iggy joined them for a track on their self-titled debut album, and then they promptly broke up. Whitey and Alex Kirst would both play with Iggy as part of his own set of musicians.
White Zombie, "Black Sunshine" Iggy is one of the world's great spoken-word artists when he bothers to do so. He's traveled that road occasionally, but never enough for my tastes. Here he is narrating White Zombie's grindhouse-car-flick tune, and he also features in the music video above.
Ida, "Oh My God" Iggy has in part become this generation's Tony Bennett. He drops in whenever and wherever an up-and-coming artist asks and lends a little of his mojo to that artist's career. If you're really lucky, he'll even stick around for your silly music video.
What I love most about "Oh My God" is how wonderfully sincere Iggy is. That "C'mon, kid!" near the end is the sort of thing that makes you just love the man to death.
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Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse, "Pain" "Pain" is essentially an Iggy Pop song, which makes since because of the nature of the many guest singers' involvement in Dark Night of the Soul. Still, you can tell part of the composition also comes straight from the tortured mind of Sparklehorse leader Mark Linkous. He would kill himself before ever completing another album.
The Lillies, "Why?" The reason I like Why?" so much is mostly because of its bridge. Set in between the pretty standard "Wild Child" approach Iggy suddenly busts out with the weird French jazz stuff he did on Preliminaries that kicked so much ass. Also throwing out this awesome non sequitur, "Tell me why last time you grabbed me in your arms you didn't have no arms."
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Edgar Allan Poe, "The Tell-Tale Heart" It's a couple of weeks past Halloween, but there's never a bad time to bust out Closed on Account of Rabies and listen to it by a single candle's pale light. It was a double album produces by Hal Willner back in 1997, and it features some of the most awesome voices in the world reading poems and tales from the one and only Poe. The true stand-outs are Marianne Faithful pulling off "Alone" and of course Christopher Walken doing "The Raven," but Iggy misses no tricks in one of Poe's most famous tales of murder and madness.
Death In Vegas, "Aisha And finally, my absolute favorite guest appearance from Iggy in any medium was his narration on "Aisha' from 199's The Contino Sessions. It's a dark, brutal reading over that one-of-a-kind rock that Death in Vegas does, and Iggy illuminates the mind of a brutal killer trapped inside the mind of a man desperately trying to control. It's fuck music for maniacs, and every second is perfect. Keep bringing them in Iggy!