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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 70
Mon. March 19, 2012

Mass Production
Iggy Pop
1977

“♫ I’m buried deep in mass production/ You’re not nothing new […] ♫”

I know what you’re thinking, why a song called Mass Production? According to Joe Ambrose’s Iggy biography Gimme Danger, Pop explained what Bowie wanted in the song: “[…] he just said I want you to write a song about mass production, ‘ because I would always talk to him about how much I admired the beauty of the American industrial culture […] “

Bowie told Dave Thompson in the book Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell how he marveled at way Iggy would make up the words right on the spot in the studio. “I’ve never seen anybody able to make up lyrics out of his head to the track. […] He just opened his mouth and the lyrics spilled out.

While some critics point to Iggy’s Mass Production as proof to the creation of Joy Division sound I have a different theory. (Rumor has it that Mass Production is the last song Ian Curtis listened to before ending his life.) “Mass Production” is a 70’s electro re-take of The Stooges We Will Fall. With Bowie assistance, Mass Production is a postmodern mantra, a melody of machines—the madness, noises that fascinated Iggy while growing up in Michigan. Instead of having the chanting, the synth-keys keep the recycled monotone soaring, shivering with possibilities.

Both songs tackle Pop’s fear of rejection. “We Will Fall” has a young Iggy singing to his soon to be arriving ideal mate hoping she won’t rebuff his advances. “Mass Productions” has a more cocksure Pop over a car leaning on his mass produced lines on the wrong girl. Iggy the crooning seducer is getting closer to completing his lyrical conquests.

Speaking of cars, the theme of Mass Productions mirrors the plot to a movie I finally saw this weekend. Mass Productions should’ve been the theme song for Ryan Gosling film—Drive. I wasn’t enamored with the cheesy 80’s electro songs selected for the movie. Gosling deserved a soundtrack equal to his performance and Mass Production is this song. Go ahead listen to Mass Production and watch the opening of Drive and tell me it doesn’t fit? A timeless film warrants a vintage song like Iggy Pop’s Mass Production to reflect it’s story. Oh well, make it your next road trip song. Iggy’s cacophony that is “Mass Production” will only liven your driving adventure.

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