Sunday, November 13, 2016

By Sean Wu

On Friday, November 4th, FilmScene began showing the new documentary from Jim Jarmusch, Gimme Danger, explores the influential proto-punk act famously led by Iggy Pop, the Stooges. In celebration of the upcoming movie and the Stooges, the Bijou Blog will be posting reviews of the Stooges first three albums. Finally, 1973’s Raw Power.

It is hard to call this a Stooges album. Raw Power was released with a credit not to “The Stooges”, but to “Iggy and the Stooges”. On Spotify, the album is attributed to Iggy Pop and Iggy Pop only. It is not listed under the Stooges releases.

This is a shame, because the Stooges are even better here than they were on Funhouse. Their punk sound is punkier than ever, and all the more dangerous. This album feels like the Citizen Kane of its genre, at the very least The Rules of the Game. David Bowie’s production is great here. Listening today feels like a reminder of how strong and versatile of a musician the late great was.

But regardless of how good the band sounds here, this is mostly Iggy’s album. This his scowling voice. The band is just background noise, albeit great background noise. The songwriting on Raw Power is sometimes breathtaking. Consider the first verse from album opener “Search and Destroy”.

I'm a street walking cheetah/

With a heart full of napalm/

I'm a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb/

I am a world's forgotten boy/

The one who searches and destroys/

“Search and Destroy” is an outstanding opener. It sets the stage for what the rest of the album sounds like. Like Funhouse, Raw Power is a cohesive album. In a way, it all feels like one long song. Believe it or not, the album has two ballads – “Gimme Danger” and “I Need Somebody”, both are two of the most authentic and hardcore ballads ever recorded. There’s an explicit and sexually frank nature to the whole project, especially in “Penetration” and the second half of “Shake Appeal”. The album doesn’t feel dated. It feels very much of its time, but it makes the listener nostalgic for a period of musical passion perfectly incapsulated by Iggy and the Stooges.

Sean Wu is both a movie and music lover. He is currently a part of Bijou Horizons. More of his writing can be read here.