Elvis Costello & Iggy Pop – “No Flag (En Français)”
About a month ago, canonized rock ‘n’ roll great and masterfully bitchy music commentator Elvis Costello released Hey Clockface, an album that he recorded in Helsinki with a small jazz combo just before the pandemic. Today, Costello has released a new version of one of that album’s singles. On this one, Costello doesn’t sing the lead vocal. Instead, his fellow quasi-punk hero Iggy Pop sings the song, and he sings it in French.
Costello and Pop recently sat down to have a Zoom conversation for Rolling Stone‘s current Musicians On Musicians series. In their conversation, Costello mentions that he meant “No Flag,” the ferociously queasy Hey Clockface single, as an homage to Pop’s old band the Stooges: “That should have been a clue right away. It shared one word and one letter with a famous song of yours [‘No Fun’], but nobody spotted where it was drawing from, because nobody expects me to take a cue from you.”
In conjunction with that interview, Pop and Costello have shared the new version of “No Flag” that they made together. Costello played every instrument on the track, and Iggy Pop sings it, translating all the lyrics into French. (Pop has sung in French before; he released a French-language jazz album in 2009.) The Iggy Pop on this song isn’t the lounge-singer one that we sometimes get. Instead, he’s gone into this one with full fire-eyed vengeance. Listen below, via Rolling Stone.
Hey Clockface is out now on Concord Records.