1978 – RCA
This album receives a lot of hate (only one star on allmusic.com), and, generally being a fan of Iggy Pop, I just had to listen to it and find out why. After this good hard listen I came to the conclusion that there are a lot of issues with this record, but it’s really not as bad as everyone says.
As you may have gathered it is a live album recorded in 1977. There is nothing wrong with this in itself, but it does create an issue when the album is comprised of a number of different recordings taken from different shows and then not edited together very well, as is the case with TV Eye. There just seems to be no continuity between the tracks, and I certainly didn’t get the feeling that I was listening to a live album. It was more like hearing bits and pieces of shows without ever having enough time to get a feel for what the gig was all about.
Another major issue with the record is that the recording quality and mixing is really very poor. Lust for Life and Nightclubbing in particular are just a mess in the musical department with noises bleeding, vocals being too quiet or loud or unclear, riffs being almost indistinguishable etc. In fact, none of the tracks on here are well recorded or mixed – the listener almost needs to already be a big Iggy fan the work out what’s going on sometimes.
Aside from the technical sound issues this album is just pretty mediocre in general. The musicians have no energy and neither do the vocals. Sometimes Iggy sounds like he’s just going through the motions and he gives little to no indication that he actually believes in what he’s doing. This, for me, is a huge downside when it comes to punk, one of the most energetic and confronting of musical styles.
Some tracks are a little bit better than the others. I Got A Right and I Wanna Be Your Dog have slightly better sound and a bit more energy and sincerity in them, but they still don’t stand up to their album counterparts.
When I come into a live album I really don’t want to just listen to bad versions of songs I like, and even on the better tracks that’s what I got here. There was one exception, however; Dirt, while the sound is not great, is actually performed really well. You can hear the pain and strain in Iggy’s voice as he croons out his self-deprecation. This track was a well deserved treat in the middle of this lacklustre piece of work.
In summation I would say that TV Eye Live 1977 doesn’t deserve to be as ragged on as it has been. It’s pretty bad compared to Iggy Pop standards, but just on the lower end of average if you’re applying broader standards. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who isn’t already a fan of the godfather of punk, but if you’re a rabid fan or aficionado it might be worth a spin.
The title track from Iggy Pop’s live record.