The one aspect of Iggy Pop's career that has been ignored -- his voice -- is in full force on "Avenue B." That's not necessarily a good thing. The godfather of punk was always more potent as a performer than as a singer, and this half-hearted collection of hazy memoirs -- Iggy's most introspective CD -- sadly makes for an uneasy listen. It's obviously not a reflection on his adventurous life -- just the current state of his songwriting abilities.
The energetic Iggy lacks the literary bent of Lou Reed and the dandyism of David Bowie. "Shakin' All Over" has a taste of the familiar Stooges wah-wah guitar, but the session players simply don't rock. The organs and conga drums on "Ya Yo Habla Español" sound like a poorly contrived punk-rock Santana. In "Corruption," he screams, "Order in the court/ decision to abort." Both the music and the lyrics, including three short spoken-word pieces, are far from eloquent. Yet Iggy has never been consistent and predictable. Remember, it's 1999, so don't expect to hear 1969.