Beat 'Em Up

The battle plan behind Iggy Pop's latest couldn't be simpler or more obvious even if it was one of those one-sentence plot descriptions Hollywood agents use to sell movie concepts: After releasing Avenue B, Iggy's impersonation of one of those darkly dignified but largely inconsequential recent Lou Reed albums, the punk godfather bounces back with his loudest, most adolescent and downright unwholesome album since the Stooges imploded nearly thirty years ago. These qualities suit not only the man but the times: On "Mask," an unrelentingly nasty and stupid riff scrapes at your skull as Iggy sings about the unreality of daily life and then screams, "Where is the love?!" During the course of seventy-plus minutes, Beat 'Em Up overstates its point, as the tracks live up to their titles — "The Jerk," "Ugliness," "It's All Sh*t." In a world without whining neo-metal bands, this record would be a godsend. Instead, it's merely a master's reclaiming of what some money-hungry chumps have devalued.

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