Song Review: Shades by Iggy Pop

Your host makes a triple-exposure self-portrait on the floor of my Shawnee, Oklahoma apartment in 1986.
Your host makes a triple-exposure self-portrait on the floor of my Shawnee, Oklahoma apartment in 1986.

Shades by Iggy Pop (whose actual name is James Newell Osterberg Jr.) shares a lot with the 1980s sound: primitive gated reverb drum tracks, that ringing rhythm guitar, the obvious and predictable bass line (blum, bluh-blum), and the exactly-in-1986 lyrics. And do I hear a keytar in there somewhere?

I guess there were certainly worse songs produced and performed in the mid-1980s, but this song hits almost every 80s point, right down to being produced by David Bowie. Once you learn that Bowie produced it, you can’t unhear his hand in it.

I really like the lead-in and lead-out guitar and the “whoo-hoo”s.

I know there is a place in the music salon for tunes like this, but checking another “no thanks” box for me is how instantly and vividly it brings back that time for me. In 1986, I was 23, and dating a tomboy named Kathy. Kathy and I spent late nights watching videos on TBS and MTV. She was a huge U2 fan. It was a very intense relationship, one I can almost still smell on me, and it didn’t end at all well.

If I can set aside those criticisms, though, I found myself enjoying this song. It’s a catchy tune, dressed up with just enough synth and glitz to keep it complex and interesting to the ear.

This Wikimedia image of Iggy Pop is from 1987.
This Wikimedia image of Iggy Pop is from 1987.

 

1 Comment

  1. Yes, a heavy Eighties influence on this track. I was 20 when I fell in love with it. So much honest emotion expressed over a simple, unexpected gesture. I thought of happier, simpler times when I played it again a couple of weeks ago, and the album raced to the top of my favorites from the Eighties. As to the style, well, some forms must be observed, I suppose. There were certainly many that were a lot worse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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