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Album review: Iggy Pop’s latest delivers a shot of needed rock

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Iggy Pop
Chris Pizzello/AP
Annie Zaleski

Four stars

Iggy Pop Post Pop Depression

After David Bowie’s January death, the world needs Iggy Pop more than ever to carry the torch for boundary-pushing rock ’n’ roll. Thankfully, on 17th solo record Post Pop Depression, the former James Osterberg, Jr. found perfect creative foils in Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Dean Fertita, and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders. Together, the players craft an atmospheric, moody set beholden to no particular era or sound.

Songs touch on cranky, bluesy pub bluster; grooving, proto rock ’n’ roll; fiery, grimy psych-garage; and even Bowie’s greyscale swing. Post Pop Depression’s standout is the languid “Break Into Your Heart,” an antique-sounding earworm with cigarette ash-colored instrumental textures and an insidiously catchy chorus. Close behind is the post-punk-leaning “Sunday,” which pairs circular, Television-like guitar licks and pattering percussion with truth bombs (“This house is as slick as a senator’s statement”), before ending with a lush, orchestrated waltz.

Post Pop Depression is even more notable for its stark vulnerability. “I’m nothing but my name,” Pop says at the end of “American Valhalla,” his voice low and resigned. And by the time he ends “Paraguay” with a spoken-word invective about Internet bottom feeders, he’s made it clear that neither age nor time has dulled his trademark teeth-baring honesty.

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