Monday, July 2nd, 2018

Underworld & Iggy Pop – Bells & Circles

Underworld and Iggy Pop, to two decimal places…


Kat Stevens: “I made an error in judgement!” proclaims Iggy, reminiscing about days when you could get away with irresponsible behaviour, but where the effects of the genie’s wish might not always turn out exactly how you expected. A meandering tale of wings and failed revolutions over a motoring rhythm ticks off several Fall tropes, and Iggy does a decent job capturing the late Mark E Smith’s trademark mix of anger, regret, and bafflement at the current state of things. Somewhere, a wish has been granted, even if the result is a little unheimlich.

Ian Mathers: At this point it feels like a small cottage industry, having Iggy Pop show up to say whatever’s on his mind on your otherwise unrelated track. Underworld, however, both get the most spirited version of this mode of Iggy’s (if occasionally dumbass, although from this angle none of it feels as gross as I was very worried it would be), and between the laughter and him belting out “sunlight on my wings” with Karl Hyde it feels joyous. And, you know, the fact that separate from Iggy this is just a solid-to-great Underworld track in their pleasantly overwhelming mode that has room for him but doesn’t need him means he could sound a lot less committed or happy and I’d still be here for this.

Ryo Miyauchi: This is the piss-drunk punk-rave version of Daft Punk’s “Giorgio by Moroder” with Iggy recollecting a slice of his destructive early life that may or may not be fiction. As expected, this flows in no sober structure, which doesn’t give this some arty cred of experimentalism; it simply fails to give a tangible reason to why such a head-scratching record was made public. It’s tone-deaf, for one; Iggy’s tales of the world on fire aren’t alluringly evil, but merely a rant at the clouds about how the current generation doesn’t know the meaning of glamor. It only makes me grateful people can no longer smoke on airplanes.

Will Adams: Somehow, the driving drum loop and brief flashes of chorus are enough to hold my attention for seven minutes of what is basically “#Selfie” but with a crusty white dude.

Alfred Soto: Just what I needed — Igs doing “Losing My Edge.”

Vikram Joseph: It just boggles the mind to think about what Underworld were going for here, unless the actual intended vibe was “your creepy uncle goes to Ministry of Sound, takes drugs and rails against modern society” (in which case, good work lads, you fucking nailed it). It could almost read as a savage satire on regressive baby boomers, but I don’t think Iggy Pop’s in on the joke. Still, gains a point for, “There will be no revolution, and that’s why… it won’t be televised,” which is a dad joke so monumentally bad it almost transcends itself. Brexit/10.

Thomas Inskeep: No, this song, basically a solid Underworld instrumental with Pop monologue-ing over the top of it about the old days of air travel, does not pass the #MeToo test: Iggy apparently really liked how when, if a stewardess was “hot,” you could “try to pick her up!” (He’s also a big fan of the time when you could smoke on aircraft.) I can’t decide if he sounds like your goofy old grandpa, or your creepy old grandpa, and that’s the problem here. Underworld can do no wrong, though “Bells & Circles” seems a little off-brand for them thanks to Iggy’s routine. This is kind of interesting, but I’m not sure how much I like it. An instrumental sans Iggy would be better. 

Katherine St Asaph: I once ruined a relationship for a couple days by playing the clip of Lou Reed wondering, over “Walk on the Wild Side,” whether Robert Christgau was a “toefucker.” Can’t imagine what this would do, besides prove there is no sub-“what’s up with airline food?” monologue I won’t listen to if the backing track’s compelling enough.

Reader average: [3.5] (2 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Comments are closed.