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CD Reviews: Review of A Million In Prizes (The Iggy Pop Anthology) by Iggy Pop
Red Rocker Home / CD Reviews Home / Entertainment Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com   Iggy Pop: A Million In Prizes (The Iggy Pop Anthology) (Virgin/EMI 2005)

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Slammin’ backbeats to the midsection, punishing and relentless guitar riffs that fry the eardrums to a crisp, and lyrics that call for revolution of mind and soul even as they forever extol rock’s eternal truths. That’s how Iggy Pop’s homepage sells his wares, a career that breathed life into American heavy metal a decade before its time and instigated the Sex Pistols, Billy Idol, and Green Day to get in the ring. The Godfather of punk never tried to be everything to everyone, nor did he expect his writings of summertime, cars, women, and pain to win him any literary awards. What he did set out to do over 30 years ago was turn the conventional world of rock and roll on its ass and then light it on fire. Mission accomplished.

I am as guilty as anyone for only having caught up to Iggy Pop in 1990 with the great Brick By Brick record. Thank God for A Million In Prizes! This 38-track double disc compilation sprawls across his entire recorded life, from the Stooges debut in 1969 to the Bowie partnerships for his first solo record (The Idiot), right through to the recent reunion with the Stooges on 2003’s Skull Ring. Like any anthology, one can’t expect each and every piece of such a vast vocation to be represented, but for a 2-disc set, A Million In Prizes, at very least, provides the first-timer a hell of an opportunity at a crash course in Iggology. What’s more, it tides the hardcore fan over another year or two until Virgin Records finishes the complete multi-disc box set already in the works.

The distorted guitars and ragged rhythm section of The Stooges (see “1969” and “I Wanna Be Your Dog”) seem as essential today for bands like Jet and Kings of Leon as it did in molding the Ramones. No doubt Metallica studied early thrashers like “I Got a Right” when crafting their serrated metal sound in the mid-80s. “Kill City” (with James Williamson) even sounds like an old KISS remake. It’s not, of course, but such possibilities further exemplify the boundaries that Iggy Pop paid absolutely no mind to.

His solo years began mainstream enough, with the Bowie classic “China Girl,” a rollicking “Lust for Life,” and “The Passenger” (with its succulent “La la la la” sing along) actually garnering him radio airplay with AOR stations coast to coast. As weird as Pop was, performing the most unorthodox live shows, occasionally in the nude, his legacy as the kingpin of all things punk continued to build. Even as he was “selling out” with “Candy” (the shameless yet enticing Kate Pierson duet from Brick By Brick), the Ig was intentionally vomiting on stage (The Newport, 1991) and spilling Judas Priest-like anthems such as “Cold Metal”. While his creativity and ability to produce the great album seem to be waning (Skull Ring was fun, with its Sum 41 and Green Day collaborations, but hardly vital) as he nears 60, James Newell Osterberg can hold out A Million In Prizes as a crowning achievement in a punk rock term that bettered most competitors and offended many. And if you ever call him James, he’ll beat your sniveling ass! 

~Red Rocker 





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