Tuesday, November 20, 2012

THF: Iggy Pop Covers Edith Piaf, I Implode With Joy.

When it comes to covers, it's hard to deny that novelty sometimes trumps quality—that often, the best part about a re-rendered track is the sheer fact of "Oh man, this one artist I like is covering this other artist I like...!" (See: my full-on conniption upon learning that Bowie covered Bruce Springsteen's "Growin' Up.")

However, there are certain cases in which this giddy disbelief changes tone to a more genuinely incredulous "... No fucking way. Wait. No. Really?" Enter Iggy Pop, with his brand new album, Après, on which he covers the likes of Serge Gainsbourg, Cole Porter, The Beatles, & yes, Ms. Piaf.

Now, Iggy Pop is deeply & profoundly brilliant, this we know—but he isn't exactly, well, a chanteur. He's more of a rake-this-broken-bottle-across-my-chest-&-stagedive-shirtless-at-age-63-eur.

But maybe for that very reason, there's something kind of lovely breaking through the ridiculousness of this endeavor: his crater-deep voice, vibrato through which you could drive a Mack truck, a French accent straight out of Monty Python—& still, the song is all the more endearing for it. It's like when your grandfather has one glass too many & does karaoke at some family function—except infinitely more fabulous, because in this scenario, your grandfather is Iggy fucking Pop.

In short: This is what I will dance to at my wedding, guys. Iggy Pop, godfather of Punk, singing (if we can call it that) "La vie en rose." Or, at least, it's a reminder that, even in times of terrible strife, so much is so good—is rosy, in bits, if we let it be.

(Also, can we talk for a second about that jacket? Just real quick? Just maybe to mention that, when added to the haircut & the turtleneck, it makes him look like he should be sharing a cosmo with Carrie Bradshaw? Just, like, throw that out into the ether?)

UPDATE: OH MY DEAR GIDDY GOD. In tracking down YouTube links for this post, I stumbled upon Iggy, at it again, doing a live rendition of one of my favorite songs of all time (which I've been revisiting especially recently, as posted about here), "Ne me quitte pas" by Jacques Brel. 

Note that he can't quite keep in time with the piano, that the woman who takes up the second verse proceeds to show him up & then some—& still, I think this might be one of my favorite versions. Because when he asks you, haltingly, not to leave him, you can see in his worn leather scrap of a face that he means it. He means every drastically mispronounced word. What an absurd & wonderful world this is.

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