by Edward Nawotka
PARIS: Throughout much of the summer of 1995, legendary punk musician Iggy Pop and I frequented the same coffee shop in Dublin, Ireland. He’d show up at odd times — sometimes in the afternoon, sometimes for Sunday brunch, usually with a beautiful companion and, if not, with a book. It was an incongruous sight to see world-worn Pop sitting there sipping a cappuccino and reading.
Still, he still he had his brushes with literati — it was his song “Lust for Life” — that anchored the soundtrack to the film adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s “Trainspotting.” (And has, sadly, been co-opted for commercials for Carnival Cruises.)
Now comes the news that Pop has just released a new album called “Preliminaires,” which was itself originally composed to accompany a documentary about efforts to turn French literary provocateur Michel Houellebecq’s novel “The Possibility of an Island” into a film.
It’s not quite clear to me how the songs reflect Houellebecq’s hyper-sexual, radically perverse (and many say, racist) worldview. The tone throughout is rather mellow and a number of the songs are performed in a jazz style that makes them sound an awful lot like ones by Leonard Cohen.
Pop even delivers “Les Feuilles Mortes,” a song originally written by the surrealist poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert, en français.
Is it poetry or merely pretentious? I think he should have stuck with the punk. It certainly would have been a more appropriate match for Houellebecq’s nihilism.
VISIT: The album’s Web site for more videos and news.
LISTEN: To Pop discussing the record.
READ: An interview with Pop.