In 1983, Iggy Pop's career was in shambles, but an unexpected windfall arrived thanks to Iggy's frequent benefactor David Bowie. Bowie recorded "China Girl," a song Bowie and Pop co-wrote, for his album Let's Dance, earning Iggy some large (and much-needed) royalty checks. Wisely realizing he was running out of second chances, Iggy decided to make the most of his good fortune; he steered clear of drugs, learned to cook his own meals, started putting money in the bank, and used his savings to bankroll a new album. David Bowie offered to help, and together they came up with Blah Blah Blah, the most calculatedly commercial album of Iggy's career. Like The Idiot, Blah Blah Blah was heavily influenced by Bowie's input; however, while The Idiot was made by a man creating intelligent and ambitious art rock, Blah Blah Blah is the work of a popmeister looking for hits and not afraid to sound cheesy about it. In the liner notes, a member of Duran Duran is thanked for the loan of a drum machine, and that speaks volumes about the production; Blah Blah Blah is slick in a very '80s way, dominated by preprogrammed percussion and swirling keyboards. And in the four years since Zombie Birdhouse, Iggy hadn't come up with much in the way of material; the only truly memorable tracks are "Real Wild Child (Wild One)," a neat bit of electro-processed rockabilly (previously a hit for Australian rocker Johnny O'Keefe), and the moody "Cry for Love," co-written by former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones. Both of these songs were minor hits, so Blah Blah Blah succeeded on its obviously commercial terms, but that doesn't change the fact it's one of Iggy's least interesting albums, and has dated worse than almost anything he's ever recorded.
by Mark Deming