Hideaway

Hideaway.
Hideaway (live, 1988).

Much of Blah-Blah-Blah is a man trying to stand still for once in his life, shoring up what he has left, and the backdrop is kept vague—an apartment in a city somewhere, with a TV flickering in the corner. But once in a while Iggy Pop turns and watches the set, first with irritation, then becoming consumed with disgust and fear. The title track finds Pop ranting in front of his television, cursing everything that’s hurled at him, while “Hideaway” finds him at his limit, considering fleeing into Mexico.

So “Hideaway” is another of the album’s pledges of commitment and renewal, driven here by the shopworn hope that love will serve as a makeshift refuge from an awful world. The lyric moves from an opening lament about how “big industry” has blighted the earth to Pop’s realization that he’s been complicit in the ruin—the last verse, which Pop sings supported only by an unchanging synth line and the Linn Drum, finds him pledging that he won’t waste the one resource he has left. (Try to ignore the cliché-infested bridge, where Pop is moved upon hearing children’s voices). It comes down to a typical Pop aphorism: “They say, ‘So what?’/I say, ‘So this.’

Anchored on the Linn, a run of parrying riffs on keyboard by Erdal Kizilcay and Kevin Armstrong’s over-busy guitar (there’s a hint of Roy Orbison’s “Running Scared” in his main riff), “Hideaway” builds to a simple, stone-solid melody–only eight sung notes in 12 bars—in its chorus, with Bowie again heard in the backing choir. With songs like this as album cuts, Blah really was the great lost classic rock record: it could’ve dominated AOR radio in the late Eighties as much as, say, Back in the High Life did.

Recorded late April-May 1986, Mountain Studios, Montreux, Switzerland. On Blah Blah Blah, and performed on Pop’s 1986-1988 tours; a recording from the Whiskey-a-Go-Go in LA on 9 July 1988 is on the Official Live Experience Vol. 2.

Top: S. Fitzstephens, “Jaco Pastorius, Gerde’s Folk City, March 1986.”

11 Responses to Hideaway

  1. scarymonster says:

    Majestic…truly.

    In all its 80s celebratory swagger, I’d forgotten how much I used to love this album. It’s aged so much better than most of The Dame’s own post-Chic output of the decade. I really must get out my turntable and spin it for possibly the first time since ’87. Of course, the sleeve itself was always a disappointment, when compared to Lust and Idiot, but you can’t have it all, can you?

  2. Frankie says:

    A great song, except for the hollow, metallic production that mostly gets in the way of repeated enthusiastic listening. That can be fine for the music sometimes but I keep wishing Iggy’s voice wasn’t hiding away in all that reverb. I really like the way Iggy’s voice was recorded on Lust for Life better, a lot more dry, crisp and direct, more up front and personal but I think Bowie was much too enamored with that Underground drench on Labyrinth! This also goes to show that sound production decisions can mar what should have been a fantastic album -just think of the problems with Lodger in terms of the sonics. I guess that’s a whole other subject worth investigation: potentially monster albums destroyed by questionable production esthetics.

  3. Pierce says:

    A great song. One of the many great songson the underrated Blah Blah Blah. Sure the production values are extremely 80s but what can you do. Just enjoy a fine album from rocks greatest survivor.

  4. Jeremy says:

    Wow – what a great song! I’d totally forgotten. Have to get out the vinyl and see if it improves the production any. Oh wait, it can’t work miracles!

    I don’t mind the reverb though. It’s the drum sound I dislike. Typical 80’s that ironically Bowie helped to foster

  5. algeriatouchshriek says:

    Possibly my favourite track on Blah. And I rather like the 80’s production, but then I’m also a sucker for the 80’s HI-NRG sound of Divine et al. I really like the spartan sound of the drums and the epic swirl of the guitar.

  6. Diamond Duke says:

    Another one that I haven’t heard yet! A really nice song. Overall, Blah-Blah-Blah strikes me as being a rather atypical album for Iggy, and perhaps that’s because it’s got more of Bowie’s fingerprints on it than Iggy’s. I actually prefer Iggy in his manically rocking, high-decibel mode. But if this is actually Bowie’s great “lost ’80s album” then the songwriting feels perhaps a bit more confident and assured – if no less commercial – than on the albums he put out in the ’80s under his own name (even though I must confess that Never Let Me Down is a fave guilty pleasure of mine within the Bowie canon).

    • Frankie says:

      Original material from The Man is always worth hearing once. Count yourself lucky and declare yourself not guilty, and enjoy your favorite pleasure more!

  7. Maj says:

    Another great song. Probably my 2nd or 3rd favourite on the album. Is it just me or is the guitar riff a bit similar to that of Wild America from his ’93 album American Caesar? And you say it’s already derived from Running Scared…is anything in popular music original anymore? ha!
    I’d like to thank to this blog for bringing me back to Blah. I never gave the album the attention it clearly deserved…Long live Iggy. :o)

  8. Maj says:

    that was supposed to be a🙂

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