Review Summary: A underrated highlight worth checking out...
Long before he had a Lust for Life and proclaimed he had New Values, Iggy Pop was practically down in the gutters. The Stooges recently disbanded, and his heroin addiction was at its worst. While his mental state was rapidly deteriorating, he would admit himself into a mental hospital in order to attempt to kick his addiction. While in rehab, Pop and former bandmate, James Williamson, recorded what would be known as ‘Kill City’.
‘Kill City’ would be recorded as a demo to send to labels in hopes of getting Pop a new contract. These attempts to promote the demo would fail, leaving the album shelved. Not long after the success of ‘The Idiot’ and ‘Lust for Life’, Williamson would receive an advance from Bomp Records to finish the album and get it released. It would be released in late 1977. ‘Kill City’ shows the beginning of a solo career, albeit much different from what one would expect from someone like Iggy Pop, who started his solo career with the art rock classic, ‘The Idiot’. ‘Kill City’ though, aims for a simple rock-oriented sound, somewhat similar of the Raw Power era Stooges. For someone as messed up as Pop, he manages to churn out one of his best vocal performances on the album, especially with the title track, “Johanna”, and “Sell Your Love”. A big difference from the Stooges albums when it comes to Pop’s attitude, with him being calm, but keeping the trademark intensity he always maintained on his work with the Stooges and his later solo work. Other tracks, such as “Consolation Prizes” and “Beyond The Law” showcase Williamson’s expertise when it comes to playing the guitar, with it complementing the synthesizer and saxophones used in those specific songs. ‘Night Theme’ and its reprise however, are complete tripe, and break the momentum that the album held.
‘Kill City’ may not be one of Pop’s best records, but when considering his discography as a whole, it sure beats listening to ‘Party’ or ‘Naughty Little Doggie’. Give ‘Kill City’ a try, it won’t kill you to do so.