skip to Main Content

Week 38 | Lust for Life (1977)

The first time I heard, “Lust for Life,” I thought I had discovered the great missing Bowie album.  Of course it is one of Iggy Pop’s best known albums, but Bowie was intimately involved in the project as a producer, co-writer, backup singer (he also played instruments as well).  That can be said about many albums for which Bowie was not the featured artist, but unlike some of the others,  “Lust for Life” feels like a Bowie album.  Along with Iggy’s “The Idiot,” this came out of the same period as Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy.  Taken together, there is a certain consistency, so the trilogy can really be thought of as whatever the word is that goes with a set of five.  In my mind I associate “The Idiot” with “Low,” while I think of “Lust For Life” as kind of as companion to “Heroes.”

Bowie wrote or co-wrote all but two of the songs on “Lust for Life.”  The two exceptions were “Sixteen” and “The Passenger,” which ironically are two of my favorite songs on the album (though even here he was involved in that he and and played at least on “The Passenger”). 

There are other Bowie links.  Much as Bowie later covered, “China Girl” off “The Idiot,” he covered “Neighborhood Threat” from this album along with, “Tonight” on “Tonight,” which, while much maligned today probably made the song, “Tonight” more of a Bowie song than an Iggy song.  The album, “Tonight,” is kind of an inverse of “Lust for Life” in that Iggy wrote most of the songs that Bowie performed on that one, though it doesn’t sound like a typical Iggy Pop album at all.

Neither, really does “Lust for Life.”  One of Iggy’s best, it isn’t representative of his more typical harder, proto-punk style.  Most of his collaborations with Bowie depart from that style, and most of them work.  It was a strange and productive relationship that seemed to wrap up after the mid-late 1980s, which is too bad because both Bowie and Iggy would go on making quality music on their own and probably could have made more together.  

Another benefit of Bowie’s collaboration with Iggy is that the songs performed on albums by Iggy were fair game for Bowie in concert.  Elsewhere I have posted great live videos of Bowie singing, “Sister Midnight” from “The Idiot” and “Lust for Life,” which might be Iggy’s best-known song but was co-written by Bowie.  He sings these songs like they are his (and indeed he has a legitimate claim).  But “Lust for Life” sounds great with Iggy as lead singer (here I mean the whole album, not just the song).  

So, “Lust For Life” might not be the great missing Bowie album, because it isn’t really missing, but I think it can safely be characterized as a Bowie album.  And a good one at that!

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top