Iggy Pop's career is dotted with miscalculations and flat-out mistakes, and after releasing two of his strongest solo efforts in a row -- Brick by Brick and American Caesar -- it might have been tempting fate to expect Pop to pull off a hat trick. He didn't, and Naughty Little Doggie isn't much to write home about. If you were to compare Naughty Little Doggie to any of Pop's previous albums, it most closely resembles Instinct, his ill-conceived neo-metal project, and in all fairness Naughty Little Doggie is clearly the better album. As he did on American Caesar, Pop cut these sessions with his touring band (dubbed "the F*ckups" in the liner notes), and they sound solid and enthusiastic throughout, especially guitarist Eric Schermerhorn (aka Eric Mesmerize) and drummer Larry Mullins (aka Larry Contrary). Pop's voice is in great shape, and he seems to be having a lot of fun, especially on the dirty-old man's celebration of "Pussy Walk" and the nervy "Knucklehead." But Iggy Pop the Songwriter wasn't in the midst of one of his especially inspired periods when he was assembling Naughty Little Doggie, and while the music is mostly solid, bare-knuckled hard rock, the lyrics aren't all that special, and it doesn't take long for Pop and the band to run through all the tricks they have on hand. One notable exception, however, is the last track, "Look Away," a low-key remembrance of fellow rock & roll reprobate Johnny Thunders which wouldn't have been out of place on Brick by Brick or American Caesar. Naughty Little Doggie is a solid, respectable, and professional hard rock album, and Iggy Pop could do a lot worse. But then again, he could also do a lot better.
Naughty Little Doggie Review
by Mark Deming