Lust for Life (Iggy Pop album)
The album achieved critical acclaim and became Pop's most commercially successful album to date; it also remains his only gold-certified release in the United Kingdom.
The Lust for Life sessions took place soon after the completion of a concert tour in support of The Idiot, the tour ending on April 16, 1977.
Pop has stated, "David and I had determined that we would record that album very quickly, which we wrote, recorded, and mixed in eight days, and because we had done it so quickly, we had a lot of money left over from the advance, which we split."
The singer slept little during its making, commenting "See, Bowie's a hell of a fast guy ...
I realized I had to be quicker than him, otherwise whose album was it gonna be?"
Pop prepared only fragments of lyrics before singing, and essentially improvised at the microphone.
This spontaneous lyrical method inspired Bowie to improvise his own words on his next project, "Heroes".
With Bowie on keyboards and backing vocals, the team included three-quarters of the future Tin Machine line-up; the Sales brothers' "gale-force" contribution to this album led Bowie to invite them to join his new band twelve years later ("Check out Lust for Life," he told guitarist Reeves Gabrels, "I've found the rhythm section!").
The sleeve photo was taken by Andy Kent, who also shot the cover for The Idiot.
Music and themes
Lust for Life is generally considered to be more of an Iggy Pop record than the Bowie-dominated The Idiot, being less experimental and having more of a rock and roll flavor.
However, some of its themes were similarly dark, as in "The Passenger", cited by NME editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray as one of Pop's "most haunting" tracks, and "Tonight" and "Turn Blue", both of which dealt with heroin abuse.
At various points in the song, the melody is doubled by the entire band; in Carlos Alomar's words, "You can't play a counter-rhythm to that, you just had to follow".
The loudest cymbals known to man, that riff!
I wanted to sound like that, still do."
The lyrics have also been interpreted as "Iggy's knowing commentary on Bowie's cultural vampirism".
The music, a "laid-back ... springy groove", was composed by guitarist Ricky Gardiner.
It was released as the B-side of the album's first single "Success".
At just under seven minutes, "Turn Blue", the longest song on the album, was a sprawling confessional that dated back to an abortive recording session by Bowie and Pop in May 1975, when the latter was in the depths of his drug addiction.
Originally titled "Moving On", it was composed by Bowie, Pop, Walter Lacey, and Warren Peace.
It was the only set of lyrics that did not appear on the original vinyl record sleeve.
The album's remaining tracks included "Sixteen", the only piece written entirely by Iggy Pop, "Some Weird Sin", a hard rock number featuring a "lost-boy lyric", the "neo-punk" "Neighborhood Threat", and "Fall in Love with Me", which grew from an impromptu jam by the band to which Pop composed lyrics apparently evoking his then-girlfriend Esther Friedmann.
"Success", backed with "The Passenger", was released on 30 September 1977 as a single from the album.
2020 deluxe edition
On April 10, 2020, Pop released an alternate mix of "China Girl" from The Idiot in promotion of the forthcoming release of The Bowie Years, a seven-disc deluxe box set featuring expanded remastered versions of The Idiot and Lust for Life.
The box set, released on May 29, includes remastered versions of both albums along with outtakes, alternate mixes and a 40-page book.
The two original albums were also re-released individually, each paired with an additional album of live material to create separate stand-alone two-disc deluxe editions.
|Christgau's Record Guide||A−|
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|
|Spin Alternative Record Guide||6/10|
In a contemporary review, Rolling Stone critic Billy Altman considered that "purely on its own terms, Lust for Life is a successful album", but complained that Pop's "new stance is so utterly unchallenging and cautious."
By contrast, Robert Christgau of The Village Voice refuted the critical opinion that Pop's "creative power has dissipated", finding The Idiot and Lust for Life to be more consistent than Pop's albums with the Stooges.
He later noted that of the two, he preferred Lust for Life "because it's faster and more assertive—which means, among other things, that the nihilistic satire is counteracted by the forward motion of the music itself."
Initially the album sold well in the United States but the death of Elvis Presley caused RCA to quickly reissue Presley's catalogue and any promotional focus for Pop's album was lost.
It eventually performed well in the US, although it only reached number 120 on the Billboard charts at the time of its release.
Covers and live versions
"Lust for Life" and "Sixteen" appeared the following year on the live set TV Eye.
Pop praised it, commmenting: "She threw a little note in when she sings it that I wish I had thought of, it's kind of improved it [...] The horn thing is good."
"The Passenger" has also been performed by Nick Cave, R.E.M. , Bauhaus, The Lunachicks, Michael Hutchence (on the Batman Forever soundtrack), amongst others (Brazilian band Capital Inicial has recorded a version in Portuguese which is called "O Passageiro").
"Lust for Life" has been played by artists including Yo La Tengo, The Damned, The Smithereens, Tom Jones and The Pretenders, and David Bowie live, and is used as bumper music on The Jim Rome Show; it is also used as the theme music for the ongoing advertising campaign for Royal Caribbean International.
Its distinctive riff is commonly cited as inspiring Australian band Jet for their song "Are You Gonna Be My Girl", while the drum riff was sampled by Welsh band Manic Street Preachers for the outro of their song "You Love Us" and by Scottish band Travis for the intro to their single "Selfish Jean".
All lyrics are written by Iggy Pop except "Turn Blue" by Pop and Walter Lacey; music composers are listed below.
- Iggy Pop – vocals
- David Bowie – keyboards, piano, organ, backing vocals
- Carlos Alomar – rhythm guitar, lead guitar on "Lust for Life" & "Turn Blue", backing vocals
- Ricky Gardiner – lead guitar, backing vocals, drums on "Fall in Love with Me"
- Warren Peace – keyboards and backing vocals on "Turn Blue"
- Tony Sales – bass, backing vocals, guitar on "Fall in Love with Me"
- Hunt Sales – drums, backing vocals, bass on "Fall in Love with Me"
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lust for Life (Iggy Pop album).