Photo: Tim Saccenti

Oneohtrix Point Never – “The Pure and the Damned” (ft. Iggy Pop)

"The Pure and the Damned" is majestic and awe-inspiring. Why can’t more collaborations turn out like this?

Tristan Kneschke: Last year’s Post Pop Depression was a revelation, with tracks like “Break Into Your Heart” and “Gardenia” reminding us that Iggy could actually sing. Though Iggy has lent his gruff voice to productions since White Zombie’s “Black Sunshine”, Post Pop still seemed like a gamble to see how far he could stretch himself vocally. He clearly likes the direction, digging into the feeling again on “The Pure and the Damned”, an unlikely but exciting joint effort with Oneohtrix Point Never. The track is essentially a duet between Ig and a spare, somber piano recalling later Johnny Cash until tasteful string and synth elements bleed through the edges. The result is majestic and awe-inspiring. Why can’t more collaborations turn out like this? [9/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: Regret reigns on the latest from spooky synth master Oneohtrix Point Never and noted Star Trek: Deep Space Nine guest star Iggy Pop. A slow buildup of rusty electronics adds texture to a minimalist melody, while Iggy Pop sounds like he’s seen some things. Oneohtrix Point Never couldn’t have picked a better living singer to get that weathered sound out of. At its core, “The Pure and the Damned” is a memento mori, but one that looks forward to the end of all things. It’s a downer, but one with a sense of acceptance to it, and one that hasn’t forgotten that love is what made life worth living in the first place. [7/10]

Spyros Stasis: In a very interesting team-up, Oneohtrix Point Never and Iggy Pop contribute a track to the soundtrack of the upcoming film Good Time. The result is a more straightforward take than we are used to from OPN, enacting a darker ambiance through subtle piano lines and a wandering background orchestration. Pop’s performance remains the focal point, as a deep delivery comes through with a downtrodden feeling. As an experiment alone this is an interesting song to listen to, but there does not seem to be much of a point in revisiting it. [6/10]

Mike Schiller: Well, if you ever were looking for the polar opposite of “Lust for Life”, this is it. A tired and resigned Iggy Pop faces his mortality, the endlessly talented Daniel Lopatin bends synths and plays pianos behind him. “Death, make me brave / Death, leave me swinging,” sings Iggy Pop, and while it’s not a million miles from some of the sentiments of his last studio album Post Pop Depression, pairing him with Lopatin pushes him into honesty without a smirk (maybe aside from the line about petting the crocodiles), poetry without irony. Hearing Iggy Pop this vulnerable is uncomfortable in the best way. [9/10]

Paul Carr: Iggy Pop. Survivor. A leftover punk oddity who took the punches and came back swinging. A man whose raucous stage persona belies a fragile soul. With every battle, he has fought and every ally he has lost, it’s understandable that this is a sombre reflection on death and the legacy people leave behind. In a low croak backed by delicate and haunting electronica, Pop sounds like he is making peace with death itself as he croons “Death make me brave / Death leave me swinging.” This sounds like a man no longer afraid of what comes next. An icon who has located his Valhalla. [8/10]

Ian Rushbury: This moves as slowly as tectonic plates and Iggy Pop alternates between a Las Vegas croon and talking like your grandpa after a few drinks. Seriously, whats not to like? It’s four and a half minutes long, and it feels like a movie. Cool as a glacier. [7/10]

Chris Ingalls: Oneohtrix Point Never collaborating with Iggy Pop is a beautiful thing. The sparse nature of the arrangement works surprisingly well as Iggy dials down his over-the-top presence and delivers a gleaming, stripped-down, pure ballad that sounds like Tom Waits crossed with Johnny Cash. This isn’t the sound of Iggy Pop going soft — it’s the sound of him being honest and laying it all out for everyone to hear. [8/10]

Christopher Thiessen: “The pure always act from love / The damned always act from love,” Iggy Pop delivers in a late Leonard Cohen-like minimalism of light melody and spoken word. Written for the movie Good Time about a man doing all he can to free his brother from prison, this song gives insight into the themes of the film, but more broadly speak to the world we find ourselves in where love gives us hope for a better future. Oneohtrix Point Never’s light piano melodies over droning synths are heartbreaking, yet heartwarming and make this a memorable track. [7/10]

SCORE: 7.63