Iggy Pop and Josh Homme have provided an in-depth look at the creation of their Post Pop Depression cut “American Valhalla” in the latest episode of the Song Exploder podcast, with the duo breaking down the track’s lyrics, arrangement and production.
“The gestation of ‘American Valhalla’ is as follows: Josh sent me a shitty demo labeled ‘Shitty Demo’ that began with this steel drum and vibraphone motif,” Pop said. “That steel drum, that’s a really, really unusual melody.” Homme then noted that the vibraphone is a machine that needs to be plugged in to create its trademark woozy effect. The musician, however, played the notes with the instrument off, creating the song’s eerie opening notes.
The song’s title “American Valhalla” is the result of a text message conversation between Homme and Pop about how the Norse version of heaven is the best “paradise” compared to the afterlives of other cultures. “This raises the question: Is there an American Valhalla? Where is it? What is it?” Pop texted to Homme. “After that exchange, I spent a day sitting in my car in the carport, coming up with words.”
The pair later discuss how opera, reverb, the military and even Bugs Bunny inspired the Post Pop Depression track. “Before I called Josh, I felt stifled. I thought I have to do something but I’m gonna need help, but before I need help, I need to look into myself and see what I’ve got,” Pop said of his “valedictory” new album, which the singer admits could be the last one in his legendary 50-year career.
Pop and Homme’s tour in support of their new album kicks off March 28th in Seattle.Watch the five things you didn’t know about Iggy Pop.