Recorded before Low but released afterwards, The Idiot feels in many ways like the missing link between “The Berlin Trilogy” and Station to Station. Though it’s Iggy’s solo debut, it is the least Iggy Pop album he recorded, as far as I know. I do think the criticism that Bowie hijacked Iggy for his own ends is fair.
But that doesn’t mean the record is bad; far from it. This is a different side of Iggy but it’s one he handles just about as well as the maniacal rock and roll demon that he usually inhabits.The songs are generally strong (also, I prefer this version of “China Girl” and full of the same kind of invention Bowie had already deployed and would continue to deploy (though it’s less experimental than Low).
It’s also worth thinking about all the stunned Stooges fans (however few that would have been) who would have bought this only to hear something so manifestly un-Stooges. That’s cool.
I like the sequel better for two reasons: the first is that it feels like it’s more of an actual Iggy Pop record. The second is that I think songs are, on the whole, significantly stronger.
PS: Bizarrely, RYM has this album listed as “post punk,” even though punk was brand new at this point.