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The Idiot

53 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 11, 1992
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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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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 11, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin
  • ASIN: B000000WH7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,561 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 66 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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20 of 24 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Morton on February 5, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Iggy Pop-The Idiot ****

It's in there I can feel it! Aside from Studio B, The Idiot is Iggy Pop's most adventerious album, and I think It had to be. It was his first solo record, and first since the demise of one of the true great American bands, The Stooges. The album was produced by fellow trail-blazer and also major fan, the one and only David Bowie. Now many Iggy fans loath Bowie, while many Bowie fans loath Pop. I love both, stick them along side Lou Reed and to me you might as well have the holy trinity of alternative music, and originality. So yeah this really did have to be a different album for Iggy. He couldn't make Raw Power again, he couldn't be Iggy Stooge anymore, he had to find himself again. Always known for his eclectic taste in music ranging from John Coltrane to The Velvet Underground, from The Kinks to Muddy Waters Iggy was a true fan and loved it all and over the coarse of his career would incorporate it all into his music.

I feel two ways about this album. The first is that this is essentialy a David Bowie album released vicariously through the body of Iggy Pop, sounds crazy but listen. It was produced by him, he cowrote every song on the album with Iggy, and would later go on to cover the albums best song, 'China Girl.' The over all sound of the album is very simular to that of David Bowies albums of the time, Station To Station, Low, Heros, The Lodger, and even Scary Monsters later on. The guitar work, which by the way is amazing, is done by Carlos Amor who would play on Bowie's later records. The general feel of the album is Bowie. Not that it is bad because Bowie is by far one of my favorite artists of all time, he owns just about every other artist and style of music for that matter.

Then there is the part of me. This album was hard.
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