Oneohtrix Point Never - "The Pure and the Damned" (ft. Iggy Pop)

Photo: Tim Saccenti

"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





The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.


The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.


Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.


'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.


'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"


Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.


The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".


GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".


Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".


Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.


Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.


The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".


Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.


Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.