City Slang: “Brick by Brick” revisited

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With the exception of Blah Blah Blah, the ‘80s weren’t particularly kind to our Iggy, not musically and certainly not commercially. The magnificence of the Stooges’ body of work, plus Kill City, The Idiot and Lust For Life had been replaced with the likes of Soldier, Zombie Birdhouse and Instinct. By the time the ‘90s came a-knocking, Iggy was crying out for a rebirth, and one would promptly arrive in the shape of the soundtrack to Trainspotting. Even before that, though, Iggy was getting back on track in an artistic sense.

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Fans rarely talk about 1990’s Brick by Brick in “classic” terms, and that’s because it isn’t. What it is is a fun record, and that makes a nice change from some of those that preceded it. The first good sign is that fellow hometown boy Don Was took production duties. Also, the comic book-style cover art by Subpop Fanzine artist Charles Burns is spectacular.

But it’s the fact that the songs shine that thankfully had people in the biz murmuring about Iggy Pop again. He had help from a few friends (Slash and Duff from Guns N’ Roses and Katie Pierson from the B-52’s pop up all over the record), but Ig wrote the songs and some of them are magnificent.

The opening “Home” is classic Iggy, “Main Street Eyes”, containing the line “phony rock ’n’ roll is a crime”, is a statement of intent and “Candy”, with Pierson, is sublime.

Now the Stooges are back together, Pop seems to wants to be a little more “chill” as a solo artist. Still, it wouldn’t be an unwelcome event if he ever chose to pull these songs out again.


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