Picks and Pans Review: Blah, Blah, Blah

UPDATED 12/01/1986 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 12/01/1986 at 01:00 AM EST

Iggy Pop

Pop, who was a progenitor of punk 18 years ago, has apparently decided not to stay on the fringes forever. With Blah, Blah, Blah he ends a four-year silence and serves up literally his most pop-conscious—as in commercial—album to date. In some ways Pop hasn't mellowed as much as his audience has matured. For years David Bowie has recorded Pop songs (China Girl, Tonight) and Billy Idol has adopted a Pop-style growl. So what once may have sounded radical now sounds more mainstream. Perhaps having decided that he wants some of the chart action for himself, Iggy fills Blah, Blah, Blah with accessible straight-ahead rockers, including a cover of a 1958 Buddy Holly tune, Real Wild Child (Wild One), and catchy numbers such as Cry for Love. Dance club deejays will cry for joy. Helping Iggy out in this venture are Bowie, who co-produced the album and co-wrote several of the songs, and former Sex Pistol Steve Jones, who also co-wrote. Despite the lively beat and frisky synthesizer effects, Pop's impossibly deep voice still sounds—to put it nicely—rather worn and torn, and his pitted face on the album cover looks a little the worse for wear too. His lyrics, which decry the insincerity of the high social set and express a longing for a more pastoral, pre-industrial world, imply that his punk party days may be over. Shades, a charming thank-you song written after receiving a cool pair of sunglasses as a gift, shows Pop more genuine and gentle than ever. "As I've grown," Pop (whose real name is James Osterberg) said recently, "I've discovered that, yes, other people are necessary; yes, the other guy does have something to say; yes, if I stick with this girl past the first fight, the relationship might grow to be something surprising." Some of Pop's old fans will say that this new reasonableness amounts to a sellout. Even without his biting edge, Pop still knows how to make an engaging, lively album. (A&M)

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