Iggy Pop's French Connection

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Iggy Pop has appeared in Paris to announce the release of a jazz-influenced album via EMI France.

The Stooges singer said today (March 26) that he was inspired by the novel "The possibility of an Island," written by controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq.

"I recognized a lot of myself in this book," he said. "It might be because I'm interested in sex, death and the end of the human race. Like Daniel, the book's protagonist, I too have grown weary of a career as an entertainer and I wish for a new life."

He initially wrote the songs to be synched on a documentary about Houellebecq, not intending it to be an Iggy Pop album.

The rock veteran told journalists during a press conference that he used an "old wooden guitar" to write the music he had in his head when reading the book. Although he joked that he initially did it for the money, Pop said "it then grew to create the music that's on the record."

The album, called "Preliminaires" ("Foreplay"), was produced by Hal Cragin. In a video posted on his website, he describes it as a "quieter album, with some jazz overtones, because at one point, I just got sick of listening to idiot thugs with guitars banging out crappy music and I've started listening to a lot of New Orleans-era, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton type of jazz."

"Preliminaires" features a cover of the popular 1940s song "Les Feuilles Mortes" ('Autumn Leaves') in its original French language.

"I've wanted to sing 'Autumn Leaves' for a dozen years,' explained Pop, who suggested the song after seeing Houellebecq wandering around in the documentary footage. "But the rights [of the English adaptation] were too expensive for the movie, so they told me 'If you sing it in French, I think we don't have to pay rights.'"

The album also features a cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim's bossa nova standard "How Insensitive."

After joking about all the good reasons people from all over the world would like the record, Pop predicted that American jazz experts would criticize it "to death" and rock people wouldn't like it.

A global release is scheduled on May 18, followed in the U.S. on Astralwerks on June 2. No tour is yet planned to support the album.