Proto-punk icon Iggy Pop turned 65 on Saturday, showing no signs of slowing down just one day later with a new record announcement. Well, musically he is delving into a calmer pace, at least, with a set heavy on French covers and crooner favorites titled Aprés due in May. The Stooges frontman described the impetus behind this follow-up to the similarly-themed (music that “doesn’t try to beat me on the head”) 2009 album Préliminaires:
All popular music forms of today get their strength from the beat. Rap, hip-hop, metal, pop, and rock producers will tell you that the beats they use imitate the human heartbeat and that is where the power lies. The feeling of listening to any of these forms is always some variation on excitement, but before the birth of the blues there was another form of popular song, in which the timing comes from the human breath and the feelings are much more about emotion. These older ways of expression were known variously as bel canto, chanson, plainsong or just folk music. I’ve always loved this other feeling, one that is intimate, sometimes a little sad, and does not try to beat me on the head… Many of these songs are in French, probably because it is French culture which has most stubbornly resisted the mortal attacks of the Anglo-American music machine.
Meanwhile, Pop’s outspoken punk brother in arms Henry Rollins celebrated Iggy reaching non-retirement age over the weekend by paying tribute to his body of work thus far with a 2-hour trip through highlights from the Pop catalog in chronological order. While most of these cuts are cemented in our rock DNA already, many of us have never revisited them in order — a valuable way of keeping up with the origins of this incredibly influential and primal material. Not to mention Rollins’ ever-intense interludes really make the musical shot in the arm complete. Stream the full KCRW broadcast alongside the Aprés tracklist below: