Skull Ring

Iggy Pop

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Skull Ring Review

by Mark Deming

One of the key rules of rock & roll is there are some artists you can never count out -- no matter how many lame records they may make, no matter how misguided their career direction might seem, they always hold the promise that they'll jump back in the loop and deliver the goods again. Iggy Pop delivered a solid one-two punch (for the first time in a while) with Brick by Brick and American Caesar in 1990 and 1993, but after ten years and three major duds in a row (the uninspired Naughty Little Doggie and the strikingly faulty Avenue B and Beat 'Em Up), you just had to wonder if maybe the World's Forgotten Boy had finally lost the magic touch for good. Of course, Iggy's career had always offered plenty of opportunities for such thinking, and just as he had in the past, Iggy came back to shut down the disbelievers with a solid slice of prime rock & roll called Skull Ring. The big news is that, on four cuts, Skull Ring marks Pop's first studio collaboration with the Stooges since Raw Power in 1973, and thankfully Ron Asheton's gloriously primal guitar riffs sound as brilliant as ever, and mix with Iggy's bestial wail like gin and tonic; if "Little Electric Chair" and "Skull Ring" don't quite pick up where Fun House left off, they make it clear the monster that is the Stooges can still shake the Earth when they have a notion. If the rest of Skull Ring doesn't quite reach the same level of solar plexus impact as the Stooges cuts, Iggy flies high enough on the rock juice that this set blasts like an M-80 from start to finish; Iggy's road band, the Trolls, redeem themselves after their cringe-worthy debut on Beat 'Em Up, electro-punk diva Peaches proves she's just libidinous enough to keep up with Iggy (and they goad one another into truly glorious rudeness), Green Day back the godfather of punk with spunk, enthusiasm, and lots of energy, and even Sum 41 give as good as they get (which is a lot more than you might expect from them). Skull Ring doesn't always capture Iggy at his best as a lyricist, but here what he says isn't half as important as how he says it, and he hasn't sounded this right -- and had music this potent backing him up -- in a decade, and the result is a big, sweaty, high-octane rock & roll session from a guy who practically defined the form. Like I said, you can't ever count Iggy out, and Skull Ring demonstrates why.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Iggy Pop feat: The Stooges 04:40 SpotifyAmazon
2 Iggy Pop 03:18 SpotifyAmazon
3 Iggy Pop feat: The Stooges 03:51 SpotifyAmazon
4 Iggy Pop 04:09 SpotifyAmazon
5 Iggy Pop feat: The Stooges 02:41 SpotifyAmazon
6 Iggy Pop feat: Green Day 02:50 SpotifyAmazon
7 Iggy Pop feat: Sum 41 03:33 SpotifyAmazon
8 Iggy Pop 03:16 SpotifyAmazon
9 Iggy Pop feat: The Stooges 04:39 SpotifyAmazon
10 Iggy Pop feat: Peaches 02:08 SpotifyAmazon
11 Iggy Pop 04:53 SpotifyAmazon
12 Iggy Pop feat: Peaches 04:11
13 Iggy Pop 04:13 SpotifyAmazon
14 Iggy Pop feat: Green Day 03:01 SpotifyAmazon
15 Iggy Pop 03:13 SpotifyAmazon
16 Iggy Pop 07:02
blue highlight denotes track pick