Iggy Pop and Josh Homme in a Post Pop Depression

Iggy Pop and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme have collaborated to create “Post Pop Depression,” an album that reflects on one’s past and wonders what the future holds. Last Thursday, on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, they announced the album’s March release and debuted their single “Gardenia.”

Iggy Pop and Josh Homme performing “Gardenia” on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Described as “sort of a cross between myself (Pop) and a military veteran,” Post Pop Depression is an Iggy Pop album produced by Homme. Pop approached Homme with the idea to collaborate in mid 2014 by text. Not wanting to “put it in a box,” Pop was vague in his message, saying

Josh Homme, left, and Iggy Pop at Mates Vineland in North Hollywood, Calif., earlier this month. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Weinberg, The New York Times

‘Hey, it would be great if we got together and maybe write something sometime — Iggy.’”

For Pop, this album was a test of his validity as an artist in an industry much changed since the beginning of his career. The test of appealing to an audience with a habit of judging a song by its first ten seconds challenged Pop to use all of his creativity to write dynamic, catchy music. For Homme, conversely, it was a welcome but unexpected opportunity to  collaborate with one of his icons and inspirations.

The only single to be released, “Gardenia,” is a fascinating mix of each artists’ particular style. The song contains that grunge feel of Pop’s work, with a funky, irregular beat. The result is an enthralling sound allows one to appreciate the layering of instruments and arrangements combined with Pop’s raw, lively bass and Homme’s harmonies. The song reminds us why Pop is known as the “godfather of punk” by keeping his classic style, then combining with spoken word to make the song rise and fall. Pop’s love of “Gardenia” is clear through his singing

Homme, a part-time member of Eagles of Death Metal, was supposed to be playing with the band at the Bataclan in Paris on the night of the Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015. It was only due to recording this album that he cancelled. Finishing the album has been therapeutic for Homme in the aftermath of the attacks.

Pop and Homme recorded the album at Homme’s home, Joshua Tree, in the desert, in order to keep it a secret. They began recording in January 2015, including very few people in the process. The chosen instrumentalists to feature on the album were Matt Helders, from Arctic Monkeys, on drums, and Dean Fertita, from Queens of the Stone Age and the Dead Weather, on guitars and keyboards. Before recording, Pop and Homme decided that the album would be a complete collaboration, with neither artist dominating the writing. Whole songs by either individual were banned, so they only brought in ideas and worked together from there.

Recording the album was a risk, as Pop and Homme self-funded the entire process. Before recording, Homme promised Pop,

“If we hate it, if we go, ‘This is terrible,’ I will take a shovel, and I will take the drives, and I will bury it in the dirt. It will say ‘Iggy and Josh,’ and someday, someone will build a house there, and they’ll go, ‘What the hell is this?’”

Fortunately, it seems unlikely that they will encounter this problem. The two plan to tour in March, when the album is released, but only briefly and at venues based on their atmosphere, instead of their location.

“There won’t be hardly any shows,” Homme said. “and you won’t be able to get a ticket. So almost everyone won’t see it. It will be like trying to catch smoke in your hands. And that makes it even better. It will be special, and it will be over in the blink of an eye.”

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