IGGY POP Beat 'Em Up


Virgin Records 2001

Iggy Pop "Beat 'Em Up"
Sound Bytes Story
newsnet5.com/
Clevelanad/Akron, Ohio


Besides Motown, Detroit's only musical exports in the '60s and '70s were a few long-haired, full-throttle guitar bands. Although they all shared a love of power chords, they were divided between those who allegedly had artistic integrity and those who didn't. Some became early proponents of punk (the MC5), while the rest took metal to America's arenas (Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper).

Iggy Pop (and his early band, the Stooges) walked the line between the two camps. His music was every bit as brainy and ballsy as the MC5, but coated in machismo like the loin-cloth clad Nugent. Iggy was a closet intellectual seeking to legitimize the Id. Cutting through all pleasantries, he proved that songs about scoring, rife with barking riffs, were no longer embarrassing, adolescent delights to be enjoyed only behind closed doors -- nor were they the exclusive property of the Kiss army. He was being honest.

Since the late '70s, Iggy has delivered inconsistent records, the worst of which caught him imitating his old material. It got so bad in the '80s ad '90s that you couldn't tell the difference between Pop and Nugent's hair-metal progeny.

So it's a surprise that Pop's new album, "Beat 'Em Up," is a full 12 rounds of sweaty, sonic ferocity. While the sound of 1973's "Raw Power" had Pop riding waves of growling guitars, "Beat 'Em Up" is all bottom ?- Pop and the guitars hovering above the lunging bass and drum rumble.

The first cut, "Mask," features guitars screeching overhead and a pile-driving rhythm with Pop's caustic lyrics damning everyone and everything, pointing fingers in every direction. "Where is the soul? Where is the love? Where am I?" he howls.

In his Stooges days, Iggy's voice blazed its own cadence within the songs, sometimes pushing the beat or competing with the guitar. Thirty years later, his vocal lines still seem unpredictable, although his voice now occupies well-worn niches in the songs.

On the title track and "L.O.S.T.," Pop's vocals prance beside booming guitar onslaughts. Although you can't make out half of what he's yelling during the latter track, the chorus explicitly mimics "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida."

For the finale, "V.I.P.," Pop offers yet another surprise: he reveals the poet within him. With no guitars, he talks in rhythm about the hassles of fame for more than six minutes before the record quietly fades out. After a couple minutes of silence, he regroups for one last hand-pumping rocker.

Overall, "Beat 'Em Up" shows that this old dog has learned some new tricks in addition to re-mastering his old ones.

Iggy Pop: Beat 'Em Up
Teresa Gubbins
The Dallas Morning News/ kmsb.com
A-
(Virgin) In stores Tuesday
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Beat 'Em Up marks the return of the rocking Iggy Pop (as opposed to the personal, confessional Iggy who appeared in the '99 release, Avenue B). The songs are simple but refined – just good, solid rock with a danceable base. Guitars are scrungy and raw – electronic expression at its most basic. Iggy's vocals show breadth, from the sizzle of the title song to the Nick Cave hollowness of "Talking Snake."

The tendency toward musicians such as Iggy Pop – ones who have been around a while and continue to do good, interesting work – is to take them for granted. In this world of excess, it's hard to recognize the economy of someone such as Iggy Pop. On Beat 'Em Up, he strips things down to the essential notes, nothing more, nothing less – never wasting his listeners' time.

Iggy Pop: Beat ‘Em Up
Virgin Records
hybridmagazine.com

Don’t be fooled by the cover of Beat ‘Em Up…it’s not as nasty on the inside as it is on the outside. Yes, it rocks and it rolls and so on, but why is Iggy’s sound so fresh and clean? He’s always had a beautiful voice, and he’s made a career of abusing it in delightful ways, and that voice, often times, stood out in contrast to the raw sounds that his bands produced (most famously, of course, The Stooges). Even on the Beat ‘Em Up tracks that at least threaten the listener with a good sound beating, the twinkle and sparkle of polished production soften whatever blows might have connected.

Beat ‘Em Up does have its moments. "Mask" opens it up with Iggy ripping on America’s soul-crushing corporate culture over a throbbing rhythm, asking "where is the soul…where is the love?" What comes next is a whole lot of filler…tracks that go nowhere for far too long. In "Weasels", Iggy (predictably) rails that "Weasels control rock and roll," and yeah, sure, that’s been obvious for ages, but hey…do weasels control Iggy as well? Virgin has as many rodents running around in suits as the next Entertainment Giant, so I have to wonder…is Iggy bitching in general about the weasels that run Rock Manufacturing Inc., or is he straining against the leash he’s on? Honestly, folks…the sound is soooo benign on a few of these tracks, you’d think that this was Ozzy’s latest dopey opus if not for Iggy’s pipes.

GG Allin was a newer, more frightening model of what Iggy was in an earlier age, hatched a mutant to entertain a meaner generation. GG never got any real respect because, when he wasn’t masturbating onstage or cutting himself up and bleeding all over everyone, he was macing all the people in the front row with one hand and flinging his own poop toward the folks in the back with the other. He wasn’t a very good singer either, HOWEVER…GG always had a great rock band behind him. The Murder Junkies come to mind…they seemed to play on raw instinct, knowing exactly where to go at exactly the right time. When they went into the studio to record, they played with the same sort of precision recklessness that propelled their live shows. Since there were no suits around, (GG smelled pretty bad and if he maced his fans, imagine what he’d do to record company weasels…) there was no filter, and the result was great and powerful rock music. GG eventually died for his sins, but Iggy’s been clean longer than GG was alive, and he’s still here making records so…I wonder if The Murder Junkies are available?

Beat ‘Em Up ends up being more threat than promise, although Iggy’s old moves still flash into sight. On "Ugliness", easily the best track on the record, you can barely hear Iggy clapping in time just below the mike while he describes all the bad and awful things people deal with on a daily basis. Just when you expect to hear another tired guitar solo smack dab in the middle of the thing, he lays into a one note car horn instead, and the track comes off as totally spontaneous…the way rock music should sound.

—Jeff Noise

IGGY POP: Beat 'Em Up
virginmegastore.com has requested that I direct you here for their review.

Rock Visionaries Return to Form
By Shannon Zimmerman
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Iggy Pop used to crawl through broken glass for his audience, but lately it's been tough for him just to put two strong tracks back-to-back on a CD. Recent-vintage Pop includes both the dimwitted punk-metal of 1996's "Naughty Little Doggie" and 1999's career nadir, "Avenue B," on which the former James Osterberg inexplicably tried his hand at faux-jazz, lush string arrangements, and Charles Bukowski-style confessional poetry. Reeking of the kind of "sophistication" that instantly sprouts quotation marks, that CD was enough to make a grown punk cry.

On the new "Beat Em Up," Pop wisely lurches back over to the wrong side of the tracks, serving up plenty of the snarling punk nuggets that have made him both an icon and a fringe artist. New songs like the disc's scathing opener, "Mask," and the malfeasant follow-up, "L.O.S.T.," recall the singer's incendiary early work with the Stooges, while the hard-rocking "Savior" and the LP's caustic title track make good on the promise of "Instinct," Pop's 1988 metal-laced record. Afflicted with a terminal case of dyspepsia, these are the songs of a perpetual juvenile delinquent hellbent on wrecking the neighbors' peace and quiet.

Pop is in fine, gut-wrenching voice throughout the disc, growling and howling across 72 minutes of the kind of feral noise-rock that he and the Stooges invented more than 30 years ago. A solid album that, amazingly, finds the 54-year-old singer warding off creeping musical irrelevance yet again, "Beat Em Up" is especially recommended to listeners who know Pop's music primarily through those annoying cruise line commercials that feature the classic "Lust for Life." On "Beat Em Up," there is no smooth sailing.

Perry Farrell


If Iggy Pop is the godfather of punk, Perry Farrell is the henchman who helped create alterna-rock. The singer can count among his musical progeny both the trend-setting Jane's Addiction and the generation-defining Lollapalooza, the traveling musical road show that colonized the Alternative Nation. Freaked by the success of both, Farrell disbanded Jane's, relinquished control of Lollapalooza and finally resurfaced with the relatively low-key Porno for Pyros.

On his first full length solo effort, "Song Yet to Be Sung," the always inscrutable Farrell borrows a page from Madonna's playbook, belatedly embracing electronic soundscapes and fusing them with both a newfound spiritual sensibility and his own rangy, arena-ready vocalizing. On "Happy Birthday Jubilee," the album's trancy opener, Farrell wails like an Old Testament prophet, albeit one who's probably been to a rave or two. "The red heifer is here," Farrell sings over the track's percolating synthesizers and relentless machine drums. "And cousins of twelve tribes / Count up all our faces."

On the considerably less mystical "Did You Forget," Farrell samples U2-style rocktronica, looking around for his inner Bono and coming up with a simple but pointed catchphrase for the song's chorus: "Did you forget? / That is who you are," which Farrell manages to make sound both accusatory and redemptive.

Elsewhere, the singer indulges in the kind of earnest but candy-coated dance pop that Jane's Addiction reacted against. On "Shekina" especially, you keep waiting for Farrell to affect a British accent and start singing about watching the world wake up from history.

But that never happens. On his serious-minded new album, Farrell mostly sounds like he's on a mission from God -- not Jesus Jones.

In an interview for the album's press kit, Farrell even outlines his plan to "take this Jubilee around the world," culminating in a kind of spiritualized Lollapalooza in Israel next year. Until then, Farrell's faithful can make do with "Song Yet to Be Sung," a hit-and-miss solo debut that's equal parts euphoria and devotion.

 

Iggy Pop Beat's 'Em Up
By Jane Stevenson
Toronto Sun
Sunday, July 15, 2001

Pop's latest blast of aggro-rock, in stores Tuesday, finds him unhappy with the world in general.

He takes on phoneys (Mask), losers (Jerk), record executives (Weasels), the record industry (Drink New Blood) and basically all of humanity (It's All Sh--, Ugliness).

But the punk rock veteran saves the best almost for last -- there is a hidden track ---with the scathing, spoken-word number V.I.P., in which he successfuly skewers celebritydom and those who hang onto it.

"Another interesting phenomenon associated with V.I.P. celebrityhood is the V.I.P. reflection effect during which anyone associated with the V.I.P becomes a sort of V.I.P. in their own right," Pop says in the track. "Such as the son of the V.I.P., guitar player for the V.I.P., girlfriend with the V.I.P., accountants of the V.I.P., the maid, the dog, the music publisher, all enjoy a sort of reflected glory."

There are also slower, darker, more helpless songs like Savior, Talking Snake and Death Is Certain.

After 1999's more introspective Avenue B, Beat 'Em Up is a refreshing return to Pop's punk rock roots, with plenty of heavy metal flourish thrown in courtesy of Calgary's Whitey Kirst -- Pop's songwriting collaborator and lead guitarist -- on songs like L.O.S.T., Howl, the raging title track, Death Is Certain, Go For The Throat and Ugliness.

Iggy over midlife crisis
By Darryl Sterdan
Winnipeg Sun
Friday, July 13, 2001

Looks like Iggy's over his little midlife crisis.

After three decades as the self-styled "streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm," Iggy Pop finally seemed to be settling down on his last album, 1999's Avenue B. A mature, introspective set of late-night ballads, it found the former James Osterberg re-examining his life and priorities through the darkened prism of advancing age and eternal loneliness.

And what did he learn? Well, apparently, that he's way too old to start growing up. So like lotsa guys his age, the 54-year-old is embarking on his second childhood. Thing is, when the Ig does something, he goes all the way. His new CD Beat Em Up isn't just a rockier Avenue B, or the kind of nostalgically safe affair critics like to call "a return to form." No, this sucker is a full-blown regression to the raw power and coiled, seething anger of his nihilistic glory days. Iggy is on a search-and-destroy mission to reclaim his punk-rock crown from the nu-metal and rap-rock pretenders -- and he's armed with the rawest, raunchiest, heaviest, snottiest, loudest, grittiest, angriest disc he's made in decades.

And the simplest. This trip is definitely a no-frills flight. There's no big-name producer, no fancy-pants guest stars, no synthesizers, no silky backup vocals. Just Iggy abusing the mic, twiddling the knobs and leading a loud, guitar-driven band through 72 minutes of high-octane rock 'n' roll reminiscent of his early work with The Stooges. That's no idle comparison. Iggy's new band The Trolls have a lot in common with Iggy's old combo. They're a power trio. They have two brothers on guitar and drums -- Whitey and Alex Kirst. Whitey's snarling, crackling riffs bear more than passing resemblance to Stooge Ron Asheton's electrifying style. Alex's propulsive, primal beats aren't too far removed from those of Scott Asheton. Another comparison is sadder -- as it was in The Stooges, death has claimed their bassist. Former Body Count member Lloyd (Mooseman) Roberts was killed in a drive-by shooting in L.A. shortly after finishing work on this album.

The trip to Stoogeland continues in the tunes themselves. Beat Em Up's 16 tracks are mainly ragged, loosely structured jams, topped by Iggy at his most cathartic -- bellowing, grumbling, growling, belching, howling, yelling, sneering, screaming himself hoarse, even heckling his own band ("Come on Whitey, is that the best you can do?" he taunts during one guitar solo). Most cuts have the sort of three-chord simplicity and immediacy that suggest they were recorded within minutes of being written. Some, Iggy has said, actually were. One is the opener Mask, a chugging battering-ram of angst that was inspired by an exchange between a Slipknot member and a fan ("Which mask are you?") but also serves as one of Iggy's trademark rants against our duplicitous times ("Where is the soul?").

That poison cloud hovers over most of Beat Em Up, from the grim fatalism of Death is Certain ("There's no cure") and It's All Sh*t ("Nobody cares") to bite-the-hand-that-feeds-him showbiz indictments like Weasels ("Weasels suck and weasels blow / Weasels control rock 'n' roll"). Beat Em Up's capper, though, is V.I.P., a sardonic, sarcastic examination of celebrity's pitfalls and perqs ("When I go to the bathroom, I go in the V.I.P. toilet," Iggy boasts smugly).

So after all that self-examination, it comes down to this: Iggy's just one of those guys who ain't happy unless he's got something to bitch about. He oughta be having the time of his life these days. Listening to Beat Em Up, we sure are.

Pop Goes Iggy
By Scott Grimm
July 18th, 2001
newmusicmedia.com

Often public-television shows, health teachers, and science journals remind us that the human body is one of nature’s miracles. Nothing proves that more than the fact that Iggy Pop is still living. Typically, indicators of longevity don’t include years of onstage mutilation, using piles of drugs in single nights, and a propensity towards violence. Long after his apotheosis as the godfather of punk and decades of unbridled self-abuse on a level with which only Ozzy Osbourne and Evil Kneivel have competed, he continues to weather trends and release records. “Mask,” the first track on “Beat Em Up,” his new album, demonstrates a surplus of energy that most teenagers have trouble faking, let alone possessing, as he croons with scorn, “You’re wearin’ a mask/ You look better that way.” (The lyrics to this song, like most Iggy Pop songs, shouldn’t be taken personally.)

Pop’s last album in 1999, “Avenue B,” was a meditative effort showing an older, wiser Iggy. Luckily for us, he moved out of his Avenue B apartment in New York, rightly claiming that the city had lost its atmosphere of danger, to Miami, where he apparently swapped older and wiser for brash and surly. Pop is ably aided by a muscular backing band, which, although sometimes delving into metal clichés, keeps the music better than interesting. But the main reason to buy a brand-new Iggy Pop record these days is not for the music, since the chance of it surpassing the music of his records with The Stooges is incalculably slim, but for the persona that crawls through in his cracked lyrics. Glancing at the song titles will prepare you for the world-view contained within: “The Jerk,” “Death Is Certain,” “It’s All Sh*t,” and “Ugliness” show the pessimism with which Iggy, rock ’n’ roll’s answer to Schopenhauer, has infused the record. Throughout, the lyrics show an off-the-cuff attitude and urgency, as if he were singing what he just thought about on the drive to the studio.

The record cover deserves special mention since it is an excellent piece of sophisticated juvenilia. It features a cartoon body of a woman, whose face is suspiciously absent, clad in a bikini with a revolver strategically placed so as to question the femininity of the woman. On the Iggy Pop website, the cover art becomes interactive and even more juvenile and disturbing as you are allowed to disrobe the female gunslinger and make her gun shoot. It’s filth most certainly, but it is also fun filth, like all good punk, and jarring, like all good ideas.

In 1990, it made sense that when Iggy finally had a song, “Candy,” reach the Top 40, the song was more tame and mature than the volatile proto-punk he first became famous for with The Stooges. What doesn’t make sense is that his mellowing simply stopped and his new record is refreshingly the loudest and most juvenile thing he has done in decades. Whether things make sense is certainly outside of the sphere of Iggy Pop’s cares. It is just a pleasure to hear him reclaim his ability to share a little of his personal hell with the rest of us.

Iggy Pop: Beat 'Em Up
Virgin
Released 07/17/2001
mtv.com


After the relatively low-key, confessional and pretty much tedious grown-up statement of 1999's Avenue B, Iggy Pop has re-girded his musical loins, roaring back with his most consistently slamming release since 1990's Brick by Brick. With his musical backing stripped down to two guitars (Whitey Kirst and Pete Marshall), bass (the late Lloyd "Mooseman" Roberts), and drums (Alex Kirst), and with his familiar enfant terrible persona in full effect, the past master of idiot nihilism shows that he can still yowl with the best of them, snarling angrily about the general wretchedness of life with all its hypocrisy, cheesiness and pervasive not-niceness. It takes a staunch and (dare one say it) sensitive soul to maintain this level of heated prickliness for so long — most 50-somethings are a bit more resigned to life's horrors — and the Ig is rarely less than convincing. And if the eternal wild child does occasionally lapse into a rote stance, chalk it up to the demands of having to fill an entire CD.

Beat Em Up asserts its rawly powerful intentions right out of the gate with the opener, "Mask" (RealAudio excerpt). Over a grinding guitar, Pop delivers a double dose of contempt: "You're wearing a mask/ You look better that way." It's the most Stooges-like bit on the album, all urgent simplicity — at least up until this burst of verbosity: "Complicated, crushed-up, disappointed, squirming, angry, thrusting, stabbing, regretting, starving, greedy human alien being ... on your way to the morgue." That's a lot of bitter punches to cram into one sentence; it's as if he's set out to outdo the darker wing of the metal contingent, to show his "children" just how hyped-up despair should be done.

Actually, nothing else on the disc quite matches "Mask"'s intensity, though lyrically the mood is maintained. On "L.O.S.T" (RealAudio excerpt), Kirst and Marshall supply conventional metal support while Iggy keeps things downer and dirtier: "I walk through the filthy sterile wasteland/ When I'm no good they'll dump me on the scrap heap to die." Death and uselessness and feeling like you've had the stuffing kicked out of you are the recurring themes here. On "Football" (RealAudio excerpt), it all comes together in one simple but effective metaphor: "I'm a football baby/ Rolling around the field/ I've been passed and fumbled/ 'Til I don't know what I feel."

The accumulative effect of all this bleak bluntness is slightly comic: by the time we get to "Death Is Certain," "Drink New Blood" and "It's All Sh--," it's hard not to laugh at the absurd grimness of it all. But taken in proper doses, it's nice to hear an old provocateur near the top of his game. And besides, who else could sing "Where is the love?" (as he does on "Mask") without sounding like a wuss? Probably nobody.
Richard C. Walls

Iggy Pop: Beat Em Up
Tom Mallon: CMJ New Music Report Issue: 723 - Jul 16, 2001

With David Bowie currently remaking his early folk songs and Lou Reed still recovering from the overlong and overboring Ecstasy, things haven't been looking too good for former glam-punk heroes; leave it to Iggy Pop to deliver a swift kick in the nuts just when it was needed. That kick is Beat 'Em Up, his thirteenth solo effort and probably the heaviest thing he's delivered since the Stooges. Every bit of the rock absent on 1999's quiet, introspective Avenue B has returned and then some. Iggy can once again thank a team of brothers for a sonic shot in the arm; the guitar/drum duo of Whitey and Alex Kirst lends Beat 'Em Up the same burst of energy that Hunt and Tony Sales gave Lust For Life. Album opener "Mask" roars out of the box with a double-time two-chord stomp that sounds like it was ripped straight from a lost Raw Power session; the title track throws gang-style backup vocals over thunderous metal; and "Drink New Blood" boasts a breakneck riff that makes the whole track feel like it's bursting at the seams. Fans of his slower material will appreciate "Football," "Savior" and "Talking Snake," which recapture the world-weary feel of The Idiot. There are, of course, a few bad moves (the overwrought yelping of "Howl," the lyrical disaster "Jerk"), but it's inspiring to see Iggy kicking ass and taking names while his peers go soft.

Iggy Pop Beat ‘Em Up
Frank Meyer, Managing Editor, KNAC.com
Friday, July 20, 2001 02:56 PM
(Virgin)

Iggy Pop. The man. The myth. The living legend.

The “world’s forgotten boy” has returned with another slab of fiery, punk-fueled hard rock that lays to rest the theory that rockers have to mellow out as they get older. While he may not be a boy any longer, Iggy can still out rock, out punk, out perform and outlast even the youngest, hippest MTV flavor of the month rock poster boy. The man has more soul and passion in his skinny little finger than most artists have in their entire lazy-ass, designer clothed body, takes more chances on one album than many songwriters do in their entire career, and has influenced three generation of rebellious rockers. Iggy was saying fuck you to authority and corporate America back when it got you on the FBI’s most wanted list, was moshing and stagediving back when it was called aggravated assault, and was overdosing on drugs when Nikki Sixx was still a Tator Tot chewing toddler. He has defined entire genres of music within one song and defied entire genres within one album. He was underground back when it meant “unsuccessful” and indie back when it meant “no major label will sign you.” A true icon in every sense of the word, Iggy Pop has stood the test of time and flourished in the face of adversity time and time again.

His last album, Ave B., was a brief excursion into the mature side of the godfather of punk, one where he let his guard down and tried to grow up a little. But fans cried foul and the Iggster must have taken some good advice from someone because Beat ‘Em Up rocks so hard and heavy it makes up for any missteps he might have made over the last coupla decades. Yes folks, this album ain’t just a rocker, and it definitely ain’t punk…this is a friggin’ metal album!!!!

Yup, you heard me right. Not since 1988’s Instinct has Iggy sounded so metal. But whereas Instinct, which generated the Steve Jones co-written minor hit “Cold Metal,” was basically a straight ahead hard rock album with some particularly heavy guitar riffs, this album is a full frontal metallic assault, complete with bombastic, jagged detuned guitars, distorted, rocket-fueled basslines, and brutal, thrashing drums. Where Iggy’s recent output has been sort of thinking mans punk, very introspective and focused, Beat ‘Em Up is Iggy at his most dumb, simple and glorious. Practically every lyric is an angry fuck you to some social mutant that taints Iggy’s world. From yuppies, to Hollywood phonies, to broken lovers, Iggy hits just about everything and everybody with his subatomic shitstorm and lyrical terrorism. Quite frankly, he sounds as pissed and ready to destroy as ever throughout this entire beast. From the opening thunderstorm of “Mask” (supposedly about a backstage encounter with Slipknot) to the cage rattling audio fisticuffs of “L.O.S.T.,” the Iguana king lashes out at an array of targets and hits every single one with deadly accuracy. I mean, just take one look at some of the songs titles and you know Iggy is ready to down to kill on this one: “Go For The Throat,” “Death Is Certain,” “Weasels,” “Drink New Blood,” “It’s All Shit,” “Ugliness,” etc.

Vocally, the man is in top form throughout this sonic fuck-fest, banshee wailing one moment, crooning on another, and voicing some spoken word the next. Granted, his voice is an acquired taste and he definitely ain’t no Rob Halford, but what he lacks in range he makes up for in spades with character, emotion and style. Iggy has always had a talent for wrapping himself around a lyric like no other and on Beat ‘Em Up, he bitchslaps every song with his patented psycho strut and mad dog attitude. His performance on the soul-bearing “Howl” is nothing short of amazing, as he cries throughout each chorus like a wolf about to be put out of his misery, unleashing his final howl of life into his killers face. Another highlight is the mid-tempo “Savior,” a rant against the fake images of gangstas, rappers and rock deities. Iggy paints a pretty frightening picture of where our society is headed if we allow these guys to run the show. A heady subject, but one that is handled with simplicity and taste by our hero.

Yeah, sure there are some missteps along the way (the silly ballad “Football” is just too basic of an analogy to get too excited about and the rap rock chant of the title track sounds a little forced), but you gotta fall before you can fly…and he certainly soars high on most all of this platter.

The backing band is basically Iggy’s regular live band plus the late great Body Count bassist Mooseman, who died right after recording this (and his presence is felt in a big way on the title track and general heavy bottom end of this entire affair). They may not have the on-the-verge-of-destruction appeal of Iggy’s influential first band The Stooges (possibly the greatest rock band of all time), or the ahead-of-its-time fascination of his David Bowie-era line-up from the late ‘70s, but they ain’t no slouches either. Longtime guitarist Whitey in particular rips it up on every track, especially on the spoken word jazz odyssey of the closing track, “VIP,” and the raucous untitled bonus cut.

So, yes, Iggy is back and harder then ever with his first real foray into molten metal and the result is a glorious brilliant mess, and fans would expect nothing less. The man is simply amazing. The fact that at his age he can still churn out records like this is nothing less than astounding. He truly is a maverick in every way. With The Stooges, he destroyed the ‘60s flower power movement with the violent discontent of their self-titled 1968debut album, practically defined heavy metal with the 1970 follow-up effort, Funhouse, and sculpted death rock, goth and punk with Raw Power in 1973. In the late’70s, with Bowie, he helped invent industrial and new romantic music, and ushering in new wave in the early ‘80s. Since then he has churned out some of the strongest most lyrically poignant albums of the ‘90s (Brick By Brick, American Caesar and the severely under appreciated Naughty Little Doggy). Not since Neil Young has a musician from the ‘60s stayed so relevant and meaningful and just plain great as Iggy has over the last three decades or so. Plus, he is still the most high energy, ass kicking live performer on the planet who will rip yer friggin’ head off when he hits the stage every time and still runs circles around frontmen half his age.

Amazing…simply amazing…

****
Ready For A 'Beat'ing
Billboard Magazine
July 16, 2001, 12:35 PM

With his new Virgin release "Beat 'Em Up," punk icon Iggy Pop says he was looking to create a garage-rock album that was also "kind of a '70s revival, classic rock album." At the same time, Virgin was hungry for an album that was "mindful of new rock," one that could "be played on the radio and will appeal to the new demographic," he says.

The result is a solid mixture of both, a batch of songs that veers deeply into Pop's Stooges past on one track, only to leap decades into the future and mimic a Korn/Slipknot/Limp Bizkit riff on the next. "I wanted something with some integrity to it," he offers. "And then, having said that, I wanted to try and make it as accessible as possible."

The songs on "Beat 'Em Up" -- produced by Pop and engineered by Danny Kader -- are among the first batch Pop has written since his recent move to Miami, ending a run of more than 10 years in New York. So, why does the 54-year-old Pop still crank out new material? What drives him? "A fierce desire to do something that doesn't suck," he replies.

Beat Em Up
Rolling Stone Magazine
BARRY WALTERS
(RS 873 - July 19, 2001)

RS Rating: 3 stars Reader Rating: 4 stars

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.

Iggy Pop
Beat 'Em Up

(Virgin)
Bob Doombus
CDNOW Contributing Writer

Most rockers attempt to age gracefully by turning down the volume and contemplating the greater meaning of things. Not Iggy Pop. It isn't possible for him to get louder -- having already accomplished the apex of cataclysm with his original band the Stooges -- but Iggy isn't backing down for anyone.

1999's Avenue B may have struck some as retrenchment, with its odd spoken -word passages, but there's no longer any question of Pop's renewed dedication to noise. Beat 'Em Up is a relentless 72-minute attack of what Pop does best: tossed off asides, hard rock swagger, and tons of attitude, with song titles ("Jerk," "Death Is Certain," "Weasels") that sum it up nicely.

The twin-guitar attack of Whitey Kirst and Pete Marshall interweaves throughout, providing power chords and churning rhythms, while Pop himself isn't afraid to warble slightly off-key in search of emotion. It's an understatement to say he won't go gentle into the good night.

Iggy Pop
Beat 'Em Up

Mojo Magazine
Reviewed: June 2001
Genre: Rock
Label: VIRGIN
Key Tracks: Mask Beat 'Em Up Weasels


Sixty-six minutes of 'raw fucking power' from the 53-year-old master of the art.

On last year's muted, melancholy Avenue B album, our Iggy was jilted, contemplating his mortality and, he noted, holed up alone in his New York apartment reading books. Good news: he now lives in Miami, moseys from beach to beach with an Argentinian beauty at his side and is right back at the hard-rock coalface again. His 14th studio album since The Stooges' demise, it starts - with Mask - at the highest velocity (and standard) of any he's done, and it proves to be a violent, uncompromising record throughout, as witnessed by titles like It's All Shit, Go For The Throat, Weasels (they "control rock 'n' roll", apparently) and Beat 'Em Up itself. It's perhaps a tad long overall, but you're left in no doubt that Mr Pop is the same old dog he always wanted to be, and there's life in him yet.

Reviewed by Andrew Perry

'Beat 'Em Up'
dotmusic.com
Thu 14 Jun 2001 12:34
Released on: Mon 18 Jun 2001
IGGY POP - 'BEAT 'EM UP' (VIRGIN)

Iggy Pop is a rock icon. He's influenced generations of rock bands from The Ramones to The Jesus & Mary Chain, from the New York Dolls to At The Drive-In. It's not just his music but also his attitude. On the 1976 Stooges live album 'Metallic K.O', Iggy tells a bottle throwing audience to "f**k off". His 1977 solo album 'Kill City' was recorded during weekend leave from the UCLA hospital where he was recovering from drug addiction. Nineteen ninety nine's 'Avenue B' meanwhile, documented the break up of Iggy's marriage and was produced by Don Was, best known for the hit single 'Walk The Dinosaur'. Go figure.

"Pop is still snapping and snarling away like some mad old uncle who smells of wee."
Let's face it Iggy is a dinosaur. Look at that gnarled and twisted body of his. He should be dead. Yet on his fourteenth solo effort 'Beat 'Em Up', Pop is still snapping and snarling away like some mad old uncle who smells of wee. Or at the very least Jack Daniels. It's pointless telling Iggy to piss off to the nursing home. He won't go quietly. Instead, he cranks up the volume once again, rinses his tonsils in acid and delivers another blast of tub-thumping punk metal.

If only... 'Beat 'Em Up' is a glorious mess lurching from the lunatic 'Drink New Blood', which would make Alice Cooper blush, to the ludicrous 'Howl' which had this reviewer's dog ripping up the stereo speakers. 'Beat 'Em Up' is at turns painful - the bruising title track and 'Death Is Certain'- and funny too - 'VIP' describes in graphic detail the surreal goldfish bowl life celebrities inhabit. Then there's 'It's All Shit' which is both painful and (arguably) funny. Sample lyric 'It 'Walks like shit, it talks like shit, it must be shit.' Get the drift?

'Beat 'Em Up' is not shit but ain't exactly loveable either. However, it does confirm that Iggy Pop can still kick up a fuss with the best of them even if the end result isn't as legendary as the man who produced it.

Anthony Gibbons

Beat Em Up, Iggy Pop (Virgin)
Still A Contender
sonicnet.com
By Richard C. Walls

After the relatively low-key, confessional and pretty much tedious grown-up statement of 1999's Avenue B, Iggy Pop has re-girded his musical loins, roaring back with his most consistently slamming release since 1990's Brick by Brick. With his musical backing stripped down to two guitars (Whitey Kirst and Pete Marshall), bass (the late Lloyd "Mooseman" Roberts), and drums (Alex Kirst), and with his familiar enfant terrible persona in full effect, the past master of idiot nihilism shows that he can still yowl with the best of them, snarling angrily about the general wretchedness of life with all its hypocrisy, cheesiness and pervasive not-niceness. It takes a staunch and (dare one say it) sensitive soul to maintain this level of heated prickliness for so long — most 50-somethings are a bit more resigned to life's horrors — and the Ig is rarely less than convincing. And if the eternal wild child does occasionally lapse into a rote stance, chalk it up to the demands of having to fill an entire CD. The past master of idiot nihilism shows he can still yowl with the best of them.

Beat Em Up asserts its rawly powerful intentions right out of the gate with the opener, "Mask" (RealAudio excerpt). Over a grinding guitar, Pop delivers a double dose of contempt: "You're wearing a mask/ You look better that way." It's the most Stooges-like bit on the album, all urgent simplicity — at least up until this burst of verbosity: "Complicated, crushed-up, disappointed, squirming, angry, thrusting, stabbing, regretting, starving, greedy human alien being ... on your way to the morgue." That's a lot of bitter punches to cram into one sentence; it's as if he's set out to outdo the darker wing of the metal contingent, to show his "children" just how hyped-up despair should be done.

Actually, nothing else on the disc quite matches "Mask"'s intensity, though lyrically the mood is maintained. On "L.O.S.T" (RealAudio excerpt), Kirst and Marshall supply conventional metal support while Iggy keeps things downer and dirtier: "I walk through the filthy sterile wasteland/ When I'm no good they'll dump me on the scrap heap to die." Death and uselessness and feeling like you've had the stuffing kicked out of you are the recurring themes here. On "Football" (RealAudio excerpt), it all comes together in one simple but effective metaphor: "I'm a football baby/ Rolling around the field/ I've been passed and fumbled/ 'Til I don't know what I feel."

The accumulative effect of all this bleak bluntness is slightly comic: by the time we get to "Death Is Certain," "Drink New Blood" and "It's All Sh--," it's hard not to laugh at the absurd grimness of it all. But taken in proper doses, it's nice to hear an old provocateur near the top of his game. And besides, who else could sing "Where is the love?" (as he does on "Mask") without sounding like a wuss? Probably nobody.

Sonicnet.com Rating: 3 1/2

Readers' Rating: 4

Iggy Pop
Beat 'Em Up

Artist / Band: Iggy Pop
Record Label: Virgin Records
Release Date: July 17, 2001
E-Online.com

It's both frightening and inspiring to see Iggy Pop, nearly 60, still flailing away, shirtless, in the frantic testosterone-fueled mania of adolescence. Most rockers his age would have simply crept off quietly to the oldies circuit by now. Not Ig. For better or worse (sadly more worse, here), he continues to rage against the dying of the light, with tunes like "L.O.S.T." (a portrait of a broken soul in search of salvation) and "Talking Snake" (an ode to paradise lost, delivered with a sensitivity Iggy has seldom shown us). Elsewhere, as on "Football," "Death Is Certain" and the title track, his backing band's heavy-metal veering leans toward the generic. Only the Igster's sometimes fierce (but fading) yowl adds enough soul--and insanity--to make them at least momentarily credible.

Iggy Pop : Beat 'Em Up
(Virgin)
Mark Beaumont
New Musical Express

Now this might be extremely Freudian but the 'o' and 'p' at the end of Pop, as scrawled by the Iggster himself on the cover of his tenth solo album, look like a saggy, limp, stinking old man's cock. Fittingly, that's exactly what the record sounds like.

After the introspective 'Avenue B' in 1999, 'Beat 'Em Up' is an attempt at capturing the Iggy Pop live experience on record, and it works. Iggy sounds knackered throughout, seems to have got his backing band from Muddy Sabbaff Powerchords R Us and comes across as a fairly ludicrous old guffer. There he goes, poor befuddled fool, barking like a dog on 'Howl', which could have been recorded in any geriatric ward in the country. You can almost hear him fiddling with himself on 'Jerk' as he tries to convince some skinny young lovely that he looks better in the mornings. Ah, and he's still the incisive social philosophiser, preaching that we all, like, hide behind masks on 'Mask' and awaking us to the fact, without a flinch, that 'Death Is Certain'. Woah, no shit Aristotle.

He's been the father of punk, the grandfather of grunge and now he's having a go at being the great-grandaddy of nu-metal. And it's as embarrassing as your granny pissing herself at a wedding while dancing to Oxide & Neutrino. The lust for life is still in evidence, he just can't get it up on the relevance front any more.

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2001 concert reviews here, some of which are available, TRADE ONLY, at  Dirt's Iggy Pop Tradelist