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The Idiot

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The Idiot
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Audio CD, July 11, 1992
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The Idiot + Lust For Life + Raw Power
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

David Bowie produced and co-wrote Pop's 1977 solo debut, surrounding Iggy's deep baritone with ominous echo, guitars and synths. This instant classic includes the original China Girl plus Nightclubbing; Sister Midnight; Funtime; Dum Dum Boys , and more!

After several years of hard living and the commercial disappointment of his previous band the Stooges (occasional rave reviews do not keep the lights on), Iggy Pop continued his collaboration with David Bowie for his first solo album. Bowie serves as producer and cowriter, and his artsy, stylized hand can be felt negotiating the sessions. Unlike the explosive firepower of the Stooges, The Idiot centers on a moody, sometimes funky vibe that reflects the decadent aura of Berlin, where this album was recorded--and where Pop and Bowie attempted to tame their excesses. "China Girl" has since gone on to become a standard in both of their repertoires. However, it's Pop's mix of eerie nonchalance and passionate screams that defines the song. Tracks such as "Nightclubbing" and "Dum Dum Boys" are surprisingly subdued for Pop considering the subject matter. This is essentially Pop taking baby steps back into the world-at-large after years of self-abuse. --Rob O'Connor

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Sister Midnight 4:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Nightclubbing 4:14$1.29  Buy MP3 
  3. Funtime 2:54$1.29  Buy MP3 
  4. Baby 3:24$1.29  Buy MP3 
  5. China Girl 5:07$1.29  Buy MP3 
  6. Dum Dum Boys 7:11$1.29  Buy MP3 
  7. Tiny Girls 2:59$1.29  Buy MP3 
  8. Mass Production 8:24$1.29  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 11, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin
  • ASIN: B000000WH7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,189 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By the18yroldmusiccritic on February 10, 2004
Format: Audio CD
That's right, this album is far better than "Lust For Life", Iggy's best known and best loved solo album that came right after this. In contrast to the Stooges albums and "Lust For Life", this album does not solely rely on overdriven guitars and loads of heady attitude (although the distorted and wah-inflected lead guitar on "Dum Dum Boys" here kicks and lounges with perfected sleaze) to make its point. In contrast, there are synthesizers (Synthesizers? Iggy?) and creepy, sinuous bass and drums, courtesy of David Bowie, who lent his band (Carlos Alomar, Tony Sales, Hunt Sales, and himself), his production, his keyboards, and his songwriting talent to Iggy, who was trying to come back to the music industry again clean. Bowie wrote much of the music on this album, but it is wholly Iggy's - the lyrics are masterful on this album, and the wasted Ig wrote every word and more than a little of the music. The eight tracks on the album go like this.
1 Sister Midnight - A distinctive, kicking drum line, clever bass and guitar, and synth bleeps characterize this one. Pop uses a gravelly and incredibly melodic bass-baritone throughout this song and much of the album. Bowie's wacky backing vocals are high and make this a great song.
2 Nightclubbing - The title is self-explanatory. Do you recognize the beginning drum beat? That's right, they are very similar to the beginning drums on Nine Inch Nails' infamous hit "Closer". But the track is much more musically sophisticated than that animalistic rant, centering on a down-toned decadent feeling especially suited to the lyrical content.
3 Funtime - This is a kind of uptempo punky song with echoing drums.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Carter on January 7, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Iggy Pop made his official debut as a solo artist with this record and has struggled to scale the heights of this brilliant album since. Drugged up & boozed up after The Stooges broke up, Iggy was in the midst of a downward spiral when Bowie dragged him off to Berlin, got him sobered up (somewhat) and helped him write a couple of rockin' albums (see Lust for Life). In 1977 when this was released, Iggy said in an interview "I'm not a punk anymore!"... when The Ramones, The Sex Pistols & The Clash were only beginning Iggy had already proved all he could to punk and was moving on. Bowie's influence is heavy here, providing brilliant and catchy music for Iggy to lay his lyrics on top of. Iggy has upwards of 15 solo albums (not counting live albums and compilations) and this is right at the top of the list of ones to own.
The pair's time spent enjoying the Berlin nightlife is covered here with 'Nightclubbing' & 'Funtime', both of which are regulars on Iggy's setlist thesedays. 'China Girl' was written about a girl Iggy was with at the time, and proved a huge hit for Bowie a few years later. Iggy's version is the definitive though, with his rougher vocals giving the song a different edge. 'Baby' touches on what can almost be considered glam-rock, and Iggy pays tribute to his former band on 'Dum Dum Boys', while yearning for them when he needed them ("Now I'm looking for/The dum dum boys/Where are you now/When I need your noise"). It's Iggy at his most personal and it's simply brilliant. Iggy set out to prove that he was more than his reputation, that he had musical talent and wasn't a burnt out case. He succeeded. This is not only great music, but it gives you a good understanding of Iggy's mindset at the time.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By McGuildicuff on August 25, 2010
Format: Audio CD
David Bowie may have instigated this jazzy, synth-driven monster of an album, but only Iggy Pop could have taken it home. Iggy, stoned but enthusiastic, belts out sinister songs of desire, decadence, and detachment that might have given Raymond Chandler pause, if only for their ability to convert the angst and false glamour of film noir into shimmering rock-and-roll abstraction. He yells, he croons, he snaps and purrs his volatile, sometimes haunting lyrics with conviction that was totally new to Stooges listeners in 1977. The songs are dynamite from the jaunty beginning to the devastating end. In between, the basis for Bowie's 1983 hit, "China Girl," forms the album's centerpiece, as a majestic, heartfelt ballad that still leaves room for bitterness and doubt.

Due to some self-serving actions on Bowie's part surrounding the album's release, and to the album's ominous, groundbreaking nature, it never really took off. But a generation of goths and new-wave heavyweights heard it. The results -- from Depeche Mode to Siouxsie and the Banshees to Nine Inch Nails' "Closer," which apparently samples the drum machine from "Nightclubbing" -- speak for themselves.

To say whether this eye-opening, genre-bending milestone is also "safe" to listen to is a tough call. If I were most people, I might warn against it because it's a bona-fide downer. But I'm not most people. I grew up fascinated by the striking visuals and dangerous human drama of those old detective pictures, and I count the slick but sickly cyber-noir Blade Runner among my favorites. The Idiot is sort of the musical equivalent of Blade Runner if it were shot on a Super 8 camera.
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