If helping to invent both punk rock and stage diving while publicly rolling in peanut-butter-coated shards of glass for years doesn’t put some lines on your face (and chest), then a former nasty heroin habit might – especially once you reach age 66. There’s a reason Iggy Pop resembles a leather prune: reckless pioneers tend to age as such. And Iggy and the Stooges’ fifth collage, Ready to Die is his musical reflection on this exhausting lifestyle. While both the grooves and lyrics are hit-and-miss, they all show a tired band who recognize and half-accept their inevitable waning and are, for lack of a better phrase, ‘ready to die’. Here are the five best examples of their weathering.

Sex and Money

With his most intense live antics and drug use behind him, Iggy finds that “sex and money” are his only “two things [left] to give” and possibly his only “reasons to live,” as well. One of the several tracks on this album that takes an adolescent-punk, straightforward lyrical approach to dark personal revelations, Iggy uses his insomnia as a jumping pad to find his lifestyle. Combined with his age, he finds himself “confusing his thoughts and dreams” and feeling like a well-paid freak show carnie: [LISTEN]

The truth is a motherfucker
I’m looking for a reason to live (sex and money)
I only got but two things to give (sex and money)

Like swallowing razor blades
To live in this mess I’ve made
It’s something to see, for sale

Unfriendly World

The Stooges sonically accept aging on this ballad which surpasses all of Ready to Die’s punk burners in quality, giving Iggy a chance to impart bass-crooning advice about this “unfriendly world” like your seasoned grandpa. There isn’t even a hint of “punk” to be found here, just some slide-guitar as these rock vets reach their sunset and look back: [LISTEN]

An old movie magazine
Go and wrap it in between
Pages yellowing like me
Will I ever be free?
Hang on to your girl
‘Cause this is an unfriendly world

Ready to Die

Iggy may be ready to die – noted not only by this track, but the album title and its suicide-bomber artwork – but it’s an awkward wish at this point. He may have a “depression that won’t let go,” and recognize the physical reality of his “skin wearing thin,” but this album can’t decide whether he’s going to burn out or fade away. He may be 66 and unable to do the stuff he pulled off in his youth, but he’s still a punk icon damnit – unfortunately, the resulting musical middle ground confuses a bit in this mid-tempo power-chord plod-along: [LISTEN]

Got a depression and it won’t let go
Got a depression and I hate it so
It’s a lonesome town and it’s got me down
What a luxury to wear this frown
Now this lonely skin is wearing thin
How I hate and judge the world I’m in
I’m shooting for the sky
Because I’m ready to die

Dirty Deal

Still, Pop is going to go down swinging – here at crooked business men. Likely based on Iggy’s interactions with music industry suits, these lyrics could also apply smooth-talking executives with deep wallets and Faustian offers in any industry – the type that get you to “sign the dirty deal” and then “hang you on a chain-link fence:” [LISTEN]

Met a creep who gets things done
He told me I’m the number one
He knew I was innocent
I knew he was fucking bent

Welcome to the real world
Where trouble loves a pretty girl
Simple people praise the lord
Smarter people steal and hoard

The Departed

Like “Unfriendly World,” Pop reaches soothingly deep to match this ballad’s slow pace and to look back. However, “The Departed” has no kernel of wisdom wrapped inside to pass along – just a depressing admission that all of his “lights are burned out” and a longing to return to “the life [they] started.” Pop’s vibrato is a bit distracting, but otherwise these ballads feel like a band accepting their new reality and hitting a new stride, dark as it may be: [LISTEN]

The life of the party’s gone
The guests are still remained

I can’t feel nothing real
My lights are all burned out