(2 out of 5)
Oh my. What on earth is this? In his own words, Iggy Pop “just got sick of listening to idiot thugs with guitars,” so he — like so many other old men before him – decided to instruct a younger generation on the true definition of art. PRÉLIMINAIRES is his instructional manual, an electro-tinged, semi-ambient, quasi-jazzy song suite based on a 2005 novel by French author Michel Houellebecq. Let’s pause here to review: the bare-chested dervish of all that is holy in primal, visceral punk rock has made 1) a concept album, based on 2) a book originally written in 3) French, and that album is 4) jazzy, 5) drenched in electronics, and 6) pretty boring. No, it’s not Iggy Pop’s finest moment. This is a moment that is half jumping the shark and half “get off my lawn,” as it should have become clear to one and all that Iggy Pop is not too terribly concerned with his legacy at this point (see: his readiness to sign on to do commercials for whoever will sign the check). Sadder still, despite his lofty intentions, Iggy is thoroughly ill-equipped as a vocalist to handle the swinging/sleazy material he’s set out for himself here (channeling Tom Waits should only be done by Tom Waits), and his skills as an arranger and conceptualist are rudimentary at best. Like the nouveau-riche dirtbag that Iggy is, PRÉLIMINAIRES isn’t stylized or stylish enough to impress the snobs, nor interesting or vital enough to please the proles.