Every Loser review | Iggy Pop renews his godfather of punk status

The Godfather of Punk returns with his 19th solo album, Every Loser, and he isn’t taking shit from anyone, nor the modern world we live in. Iggy Pop’s fighting spirit is as strong as it’s ever been and he enlists some notable names to add fuel to the fire – but the album’s best work is its softest and, dare I say, most wistful tunes.

Iggy Pop


“I’m not some flimsy, stray-town straw boy / I’m a terror,” Iggy Pop growls on the second interlude of his latest album, Every Loser. As if we needed reminding. The venerable punk rock vet has become so synonymous with a no-fucks-given attitude that we barely think of him without his shirt off, swishing his long blonde locks in rousing fashion. I mean, the man practically invented (or at least popularised) stage diving in the ‘70s. 

Now in his 70s (75, to be exact), Pop is far from calling it a day. In fact, he recently struck a deal with Grammy award-winning producer Andrew Watt and his label, Gold Tooth Records, promising “music [that] will beat the shit out of you”. In some respects, Every Loser fulfills this, with moments of pure, raucous return to form for Pop. But the best moments are its mellower climes.

Lead single and opener ‘Frenzy’, for instance, is more a statement of intent and a general mood-setter than a tune that will live long in the memory. Not that Iggy cares, when, as he professes on the opening lines: “Got a dick and two balls, that’s more than you all / My mind will be sick if I suffer the pricks.”

Iggy Pop Every Loser

Some lazy rhymes on ‘Modern Day Ripoff’ (“bucket” and “fuck it”; “kickin’” and “chicken”) have a similar effect, reminding us not so much that Iggy’s songwriting is becoming weary in his 76th year but that actually very few can get away with saying them with as much panache; that it’s not what you say, but how you say it.

There are some more substantive moments, of course. ‘New Atlantis’ is a touching pop-rock ode to Miami where he lives (which he affectionately terms “a beautiful whore of a city”), lamenting the fact “she’s sinking into the sea” as a result of climate change.

It’s not a preachy message – that’s not the man’s style – but it’s honest and reflective: “Some say the world will end in fire / Some say ice / Me, I just see fewer birds, fish, butterflies.” The following murmur of “Plenty of concrete though” is a dig at town planning many of us have witnessed.

The pre-chorus of ‘All The Way Down’ (“The Gods in Heaven have oil / While the rest of us just boil”) is another welcome pop shot. Of course punk has always been rooted in anti-establishment, but it feels refreshing for an icon such as Iggy – a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement awardee – to use his considerable clout in calling out the bigwigs after all these years.

Iggy Pop

‘Morning Show’ is a beautiful tune and the best on the record. The refrain “I’ll fix my face and go, time to do the morning show, like a pro” — sung in a downbeat, near-speaking pace — suggests a vulnerability not readily associated with Iggy. It’s a slipping of the mask between the icon and the man, and yet he soldiers on, with a gravelly voice that has an unmistakably Johnny Cash-like husk (aided by the fact the track’s second word is “hurt”).

After its melancholic start, album closer ‘The Regency’ is a prowling, swaggering confession to Iggy’s time in the industry, renewing his vow to “Fuck the regency up”, just as he always has done and always will, so long as he lives. In some respects, it’s a message honouring a life of service to rock n’ roll – a fact made all the more poignant by the fact it includes the late, great Taylor Hawkins on drums.

Hawkins’ feature of course grabs the immediate eye and ear. Other big name additions include Travis Barker, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith, Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard, and Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan. It’s a heady assortment of rock royalty, none of which takes the shine off the main man Iggy Pop.

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