Iggy Pop

The A&M Recordings

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This three-CD package rounds up two of the most misunderstood (yet, at the same time, successful) albums in Iggy Pop's catalog, the late-'80s duo Blah Blah Blah and Instinct, that marked his return from the lay-off that consumed the first half of the decade. They are joined by a third album, the promotional Live at the Channel, recorded in 1988 and capturing a typically fiery live set recorded in Boston. Of the two studio packages, Blah Blah Blah is probably the hardest for old fans to get their heads around, as the initial promise of the single "Real Wild Child" gives way to a clutch of songs that say more for where co-conspirator David Bowie was heading, than for anything Iggy had in mind. Indeed, the series of collaborations with former Sex Pistol Steve Jones that preceded Bowie's arrival might be considered more telling -- the pair reunited for Instinct, and turned in a disc that carves a straight line through the divisions between punk, metal, and hardcore, to create an album that is still almost painfully loud. Both albums are appended here with bonus tracks, four apiece, drawn from the 12" singles that accompanied each album. The extended versions really don't add much beyond minutes to the standard LP takes, but this is their first-ever appearance on CD, so that has to count for something. But the live show makes up for any disappointments that the rest of the collection might be packing, a seething set that mixes old with new, and defies you to spot the difference. The opening "Instinct" was from his latest album, the closing "I Wanna Be Your Dog" came from his first, 20 years earlier. But both are unmistakably Iggy.

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