Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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Sound Check


Iggy PopIggy Pop
“Post Pop Depression”
Loma Vista/Concorde

Iggy Pop says this is his last album. Historically a man of his word — more or less — there is little reason to doubt him. As a swan song, “Post Pop Depression” does not hit all the buttons that some fans may like. This is a decidedly un-Stooges album. But Pop still manages to make the album feel like something vital and vibrant, making it clear that he came into the endeavor with something final to say and not just looking for a check as he walks out the door. “American Valhalla,” with its deadpan closing line of “I’ve nothing but my name” is potentially the best track on the album, but the Smiths-infused “Gardenia,” and the raucous throwback “Sunday” keep things moving just as well. It is a lean album, coming in at nine tracks, and the lack of wasted space means there is nothing unnecessarily bogging down what might be our final dance with one of the greatest voices in the ugly, weird world of punk rock greatness. CV

Gwen StefaniGwen Stefani
“This is What the Truth Feels Like”

The biggest boon for Gwen Stefani’s career was the moment she realized she did not need No Doubt to be a star. Make no mistake, that band’s first album remains one of the more solid releases from the mid-’90s, but as Stefani began to step away from the band dynamic and let herself expand into a fuller pop sound, she has produced her best overall work. And when it is all said and done, “This is What the Truth Feels Like” might stand as Stefani’s most complete work ever. Lead single “Used to Love You” has been getting radio play since it was first released in October, but it is the fourth track (and second single) “Make Me Love You” that is the album’s real strong point. However, from opener “Misery” through the last notes of “Rare,” what the album presents listeners with is a portrait of a woman who might not be completely sure of her life outside the studio but finally understands who she is inside of it. CV

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