‘No Flag’, which is the second track from Costello’s album that was released in October, has been re-versioned largely in French by the punk legend.
Costello said in a recent Musician on Musicians interview with Iggy for Rolling Stone that the original ‘No Flag’ was a nod to Iggy And The Stooges’ 1969 classic ‘No Fun’.
The artist told Pop he was surprised no one had picked up on the link. “[The title] should have been a clue right away,” he said. “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 an arguably roundabout way to drive the connection home, Costello asked Pop to cover the song in French. Notably, Pop’s 2012 record ‘Après’ has several French language tracks.
You can listen to Iggy’s French cover of ‘No Flag’ below:
Pop said that singing ‘No Flag’ almost entirely in French rather than English was still quite a challenge. “There’s a uniqueness to the French language,” said Pop. “No other language has vowels that sound like that. Learning a song that’s as quick as ‘No Flag’ took a month of practice because my lips weren’t used to those combinations…I [worked on it] for 40 minutes a day for about five weeks. You don’t want to do too much work on it at once or it’s not fun anymore.”
Costello said of Pop’s singing: “You sound absolutely convincing in French. When I played your version to Murial [Téodori – French-speaking wife of Costello’s backing bandmember Steve Nieve] she said: ‘This is unbelievable. You’re so inside the song.’”
In other news, earlier this month Pop inducted Nine Inch Nails virtually into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, while Costello said recently that Steve Albini made PJ Harvey’s ‘Rid Of Me’ album sound “like shit”.