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2009 album from the Alt-Rock/Punk legend. Iggy Pop takes on the language of romance and puts a decidedly French twist on Prliminaires. Produced by longtime collaborator Hal Cragin, Prliminaires highlights another facet of the Iggy Pop persona, focusing more on Jazz arrangements and the distinctive, rich baritone heard on classics like 'Nightclubbing' and his duet with French legend Franoise Hardy on the song 'I'll Be Seeing You'. The album themes and texts have been inspired by Iggy's reading of controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq and his book The Possibility Of An Island. On the record, Iggy even sings one song in French, a cover of Jazz standard 'Les Feuilles Mortes (Autumn Leaves)', a song widely associated with French legends Yves Montand and Edith Piaf. There are also more raucous moments like the Swamp Rock stylings of 'Nice To Be Dead'.
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Top Customer Reviews
First off, for the record, I don't understand why critics universally put down Avenue B as a failure. I'm an Iggy fanatic, and even though Ave B is his least Iggy-like album, I personally loved it. He hooked with Medinski, Martin & Wood, and a bunch of other real musicians, and showed his senstive side. He didn't mention his [...] getting stuck deep inside anything even once. Everyone hated it, but I thought it was the best thing he's done since the 70s.
That is until Préliminaires came along. This album may even surpass the great Avenue B. But I have to listen a few more times to be certain.
Iggy employs some diverse ingedients on this album.
"King of the Dogs" is backed by some suprisingly authentic dixieland jazz. Satchmo shares a writing credit.
Iggy also tries his hand at bossanova and applies his trademark croon to Antonio Carlos Jobim's timeless chestnut "How Insensitive."
And just like Ave B had a searing cover of "Shaking All Over" for the rockers, Préliminaires includes "It's Nice To Be Dead" as it's sole asskicker.
I love the blues number "He's Dead She's Alive." The production is as rustic as some dusty old Blind Lemon Jefferson recording from the Mississippi delta. The acoustic guitar is so shrill and so raw--like my speakers somehow transformed into a shanty of rusty corregated iron. I don't know how that would actually sound, but imagine it would be real creaky.
The rest of the cuts are a bouillabaisse of French pop chanson old and new. Aromatic notes of Edith Piaf mingle with musty Air with an icy broth recalling both The Idiot and 80s Leonard Cohen. Mwah! C'est magnifique! It's a superb dish!
If there can be anything negative to say about this record, it would be about it's short length. It's only 36 minutes and two songs are performed twice in two different arrangments. But like they say, it ain't the size of your oar but the motion in the ocean. I think albums these days are too long anyway. In the vinyl era, albums were only 35-40 minutes and that was perfect. Besides, gourmet French cusine is always served in neat small portions with no filler. Brief is good. I don't need no forty hour Sandinista.
In conclusion, Préliminaires is Iggy's classiest, most mature record to date. He should explore this side of his music further. A man in his 60s can continue to be a howling shirtless wildman for only so long. This is the sound of Iggy finally growing old gracefully. Et ça sonne bien.
Around this time I heard about a different side of Iggy. While in Berlin, he liked to go to piano bars and croon tunes like The Shadow of Your Smile. I love his rich baritone voice on his punk rock classics like I Wanna Be Your Dog and No Fun, but I have often wondered what he would sound like as a Frank Sinatra era crooner. This album kind of gives you a taste of that, but not so much Sinatra era, but post modern crooning. Also Dixieland bluesiness, as in King of The Dogs, Raw Blues in some other tunes, and Euro crooning, like he sings Autumn Leaves, originally in French, in French, and he does the sophisticated bossa nova tune How Insensitive. There is some spoken word stuff that comes off like a cool poem about how dogs love people no matter how ugly and unworthy they are of that love.
This album is a mature, sophisticated, jazzy sounding album. Not what you'd expect from Iggy, but it exceeded the expectations I had since I heard that he loved to croon. Sometimes, like when he is singing in French, it reminds me a lot of Serge Gainsbourg. The Dixieland even works for me. Iggy does some raw blues that reminds me of stuff that Tom Waits would do, like the distorted raw blues of Hang On St Christopher where Tom sings through a bull horn, to make it sound even more raw and distorted. Iggy kind of embodies the character, like Tom Waits. It isn't him singing, but it is the character he has created who is singing.
The Bottom Line is this is a startling new direction for Iggy, and I applaud him for not only taking chances, but making it work. I guess if you have writhed on a stage filled with broken glass while smeared from head to toe in peanut butter, the only way to rebel is to do what is least expected: Namely, turn out a superb album of sophisticated crooning, with the clarinet emerging as your favorite obbligato, and instead of strings, an ambient, modernistic guitar souffle of feedback, loops, and sustain, sounding both bleak and beautiful. We finally get a chance to hear what James Newell Osterberg Jr. sounds like.
The Stooges by Iggy & The Stooges
Funhouse by Iggy & The Stooges
Raw Power by Iggy & The Stooges
Lust for Life by Iggy Pop
The Idiot by Iggy Pop
New Values by Iggy Pop
Miles in Berlin by Miles Davis
Jazz Samba Encore by Stan Getz, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Luiz Bonfá, with Maria Toledo on vocals
Frank's Wild Years by Tom Waits
Histoire de Melody Nelson by Serge Gainsbourg
I cannot praise this CD too highly. The lyrics are witty, incisive, and utterly without pretense. The music is exceptionally well written and recorded. (Iggy's blues guitar playing is exemplary.) His singing on this is reminiscent of Blah Blah Blah, which I thought was the most under-rated CD ever. I've read comparisons with Sinatra, and I think that's more about interpretation than technique.Both possessed/possess a great baritone. Yes, Iggy does indeed have technique.
The world-weary gravity of his voice propels a variety of genres here, though they all do fall within the realm of caberet jazz and the blues, which are more closely related than one might think. When you think of Iggy, you don't normally think "pretty," but these are often pretty compositions, albeit in dark tones rather than our usual commercial pastels.
I've given this CD to my punk rock friends, and they all love it, even though it is totally out of their genre. Ultimately, it's about the sincerity and quality of the work. If you like music in any manner, this is a CD for you. As with all great art, it transcends.
Oh yeah. There are dogs involved. So go buy Procol Harum's The Well's On Fire for another great dog song.
I don't know. I just love songs with dogs involved. Ar ooooo! Every dog must have its day.
Iggy has his here. Good work, dog.
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