Reviews The Stooges The Weirdness

The Stooges

The Weirdness

This metaphor has been used in other instances and with different figures at the head of the punchline. But believe me when I say that when the smoke clears after the apocalypse, be it biblical or manufactured, the only thing left alive will be cockroaches and Iggy Pop.

Mr. Pop has had about as wild and varied a career as just about anyone that released a debut album in the 60's that is still around today to talk about it. His music has been covered by countless artists including, but not limited to, Siouxie and the Banshees, Rage Against the Machine, The Sex Pistols, Tom Jones, The Damned, R.E.M. and Grace Jones, not to mention the ubiquitous "Lust For Life," which has become the media anthem for well, just about everything. The man has been releasing albums with no more than a two-year break in between for almost forty years. In that time there have been great albums, good albums, and not so good albums. Through it all, Iggy has managed to remain current and vital, and dare I say…. relevant.

The best albums were with his first band, The Stooges, who formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan along with Scott and Ron Asheton. Together, they were responsible for some of the best music that the genre known as "punk" has to offer. Now, after thirty-four years, countless lineups featuring "The Fuckups" and "The Trolls" but really, amounting to little more than "The Flunkies", we've come full circle with a new album from The Stooges, The Weirdness. The Stooges' first album in decades manages to surprise in a number of ways, some good, some…not so good.

The first thing one notices is the minimalist packaging. The band logo and album title is scrawled on the upper portion of a black background framed in silver. Even the name, "The Stooges," not "Iggy and The Stooges" as the band was known on their last album, Raw Power, back in 1973 is simple.

Press play and it becomes glaringly clear that the Asheton brothers aren't here to fuck around. Ron sounds absolutely vicious in the guitar position he once relinquished to James Williamson way back in the day. Backed up by his brother Scott on drums and legendary bassist Mike Watt, this all culminates into a very, very good thing. Unfortunately, Iggy just doesn't sound half as excited to sing it as we, the listener, are to hear it. This has been the bane of many of the man's less-than-memorable albums with sub-par writing and musicianship. But this is The Stooges for god's sake. His voice lacks the anger and intensity the riffs call for. However, this all will mean less than jackshit when the band plays live - always Iggy's forte. His brilliant, manic energy has remained virtually uncaptured in the studio for decades. Which brings us to the next disappointment: Steve Albini, producer of some of the most seminal albums of the 1990's has taken a group of legends and done…absolutely nothing. It's not the abysmal job a certain Mr. Bowie did producing the aforementioned Raw Power, but a man of Albini's credentials could have certainly done the album more justice.

So, how does the album rate compared to say, Raw Poweror Funhouse? It doesn't. A huge part of the reason they were classics is because of the time they were released - the moment, the whole lightning in a bottle thing. They were young and dangerous. The Weirdness is essentially a continuation of the four songs featured on Skull Ring, Iggy's last album, and has the same dumb charm as all the band's releases and indeed the same dumb charm that has made Iggy's career. This album does absolutely nothing to taint that legacy, but manages to enhance it in the way that it's just frigging impressive that three guys can reunite after decades apart and sound like they never split in the first place.

7.4 / 10Kevin Fitzpatrick
KFAI - Undead
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7.4 / 10

7.4 / 10

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