After the Stooges’ break-up, his self-imposed hospitalization and his ordeals with addiction, Iggy Pop and David Bowie moved to Berlin for a new start. One of the results, besides ‘Low’, ‘Heroes’ and ‘Lodger’- the famous Berlin trilogy, was the debut solo album for Iggy, ‘The Idiot’, whose title was inspired by Dostoyevsky’s novel ‘The Idiot’.
The album is a fine mixture of krautrock, funk, & 1930’s German cabaret, combined with avant-garde sounds. The production took place at Chateau d’Hérouville, in France, Musicland Studios in Munich and Hansa Studio in Berlin from July 1976 to February 1977 and David Bowie was the man behind it. The personnel involved in the recording were: Iggy Pop (vocals), David Bowie (keyboards, synthesizers, piano and saxophone, xylophone, backing vocals), Carlos Alomar (guitar), Dennis Davis (drums), George Murray (bass guitar, drums) and Phil Pulmer (guitar).
The opener, ‘Sister Midnight‘, is a great robotic funk credited to Iggy, Bowie and Carlos Alomar, while its lyrics were inspired by a weird dream that Iggy had had and set the tone of the album. The songs that follow are the minimal ‘Nightclubbing‘ and the explosive ‘Funtime‘, while ‘Baby‘ is a more relaxed tune taking you on a walk down the street of chance. Little can one say about the rest of the songs on the album; the famous ‘China Girl‘ with its raw production and the screaming vocals, the brilliant art rock masterpiece ‘Dum Dum Boys‘, a tribute, or maybe a lament, to the Stooges bandmates, the low tempo cabaret style ‘Tiny Girls‘ and the chaotic closing anthem ‘Mass Production‘.
In my humble opinion, ‘The Idiot’ is Iggy’ s best work, a true art rock masterpiece and a truly innovative album for the new wave and post punk for generations to come. In a few words: You must own it and listen to it before you die….
“Nightclubbing we’re nightclubbing
We’re what’s happening
Nightclubbing we’re nightclubbing
We’re an ice machine
We see people brand new people
They’re something to see
When we’re nightclubbing
Oh isn’t it wild?”