Album Of The Day: The Stooges’ Raw Power
In Friday’s MetalSucks Question of the Week, u caught a glimpse of MS writer Andy O’Connor’s rabid love of Raw Power, the 1973 record by heavy punk godfathers The Stooges. Tantalized, we begged Andy to revisit Raw Power for a full Album Of The Day examination (he agreed)! Are u about to join Andy in the Raw Power worship circle? Have u already hailed its genius? Do u feel skeptical about old records that flopped in their day but are now cult classics? Read on!
Few bands have two classic albums, but with Raw Power, The Stooges managed to match their monster second album, Fun House. But only Raw Power encapsulates the band at their deranged prime. You can’t call this album “out of control” cause there was no control to begin with: When an album BEGINS with a banger like “Search and Destroy” by a band on the warpath with that much backed-up cum and bleeding cuts, it makes most rock and metal records sound as limp as The Fray.
In its chrous, frontman Iggy Pop chants “I AM THE WORLD’S FORGOTTEN BOY/THE ONE WHO SEARCHES AND DESTROYS,” thereby channeling the band’s cool commercial reception into an anthem of joyous self-mutilation. But its amazing opening track can’t overshadow the rest of the record. “Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell” is what “in the red” is all about, with James Williamson’s guitar defining “noise rock” better than any AmRep band. Iggy never sounded so bloodlusty, his voice made of every hatefuck he went through. Hell, he liked him some mindless action, as evidenced by Power‘s closing bender “Death Trip”: “Honey, come and be my enemy so I can love you true.” Only adversarial romance can be thought of as real love; if there ain’t scratch marks and cigarette burns on your back, why bother?
Raw Power‘s title track features what sounds like piano played by Jerry Lee Lewis if he’d just stumbled upon a naked teenage pool party. Williamson also strangles out — that’s the only way to describe his guitar playing — one of the world’s catchiest riffs, cause while smashing your entire self it’s still important to hum along — as Iggy states, “Raw Power, honey, just won’t quit.” Yeah, what you’re reading here keeps references sex. Why? Because Raw Power is animalistic, and forgoes sophistication for overstimulating instinct. Even the albums ballads (more like “ballads”) “I Need Somebody” and fan favorite “Gimme Danger” are drenched in sleaze.
Tip: Get Iggy’s 1997 remix of the record, not the original by his onetime mentor David Bowie. The former brings out Raw Power‘s every bit of skronky cacophony. Another tip: Don’t form a band. You can’t rock this hard. Henry Rollins nearly died trying, and that guy is more man than most of us.