City Slang: “Pop O.D.” revisited

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Tribute albums can often be a ropey affair. All too often, they are packed with dour, inferior and tired, straight cover versions of songs that, no matter how you look at it, are far better in their original form. It has long been my opinion that the only way to go at a cover is to reinvent it completely. Deconstruct the song, and then reconstruct it in a new form. Otherwise, what’s the point? We already have the original version.

Of course, there are exceptions. No rule should be set in stone when it comes to music. Pop O.D.: The Songs of Iggy Pop, released by Static Records back in ‘98, succeeds because the majority of the songs on here subscribe to that “make the song your own” theory. The few faithful covers are so impassioned that they are instantly forgiven.

Every band and artist on the album is Metro Detroit-based, gifting the record contemporary authenticity that few cover records have from the very onset. The songs are a mixture of Stooges material and Iggy Pop solo stuff, and all are tackled with an air of loving respect rather than overblown reverence.

The Lovemasters are one of those who contribute a faithful cover, in this case “1969”. Bootsey X loves the Stooges and his band are disciples, so it works fine. More interesting, though, are the almost-unrecognizable covers. Jumbo’s cover of “Raw Power”, featuring Vinnie Dombroski and friends, sees the Sponge man screaming his lungs out like he’s exorcising demons. The Down Boyz rap “Down on the Street”, while The Impaler & Cindi St. Germain treat “Candy” like Gothic free form poetry.

Cybertrybe’s industrial take on the relatively unknown “Dogfood” is perhaps the best song on what was a very successful experiment. Hunt it down.

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