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The Stooges

Landmark debut by the godfathers of punk…it is what it is…kind of underwhelming though aside from a couple of classics…premonition of the rawness and decadence that was to come in the next decade.

7.6

Fun House

The Stooges

1970

This is easily the best Stooges album in my book, and really the only one I would dub worthy of the "classic" label.  Their 1st album was fairly groundbreaking but also not particularly good, and while "Raw Power" has it's moments, it doesn't live up to the raw fury of "Fun House".  They say The Stooges were the godfather's of punk, but this just sounds like a fiery and kickass rock n'roll record to these ears.  It's got an abrasive, exhilarating energy about it, like the frantic rush in the underbelly of the big city on a Saturday night.  It sounds decadent, druggy, and most of all: raw.  Fun House is pretty direct and most of the songs are pretty infectious, with some harsh avart-garde experimentation on the back-half of the album.  In a nutshell, this was probably the most heavy, kick-ass record of all-time when it first came out...and it still holds up fairly well today too.

8.5

Raw Power

The Stooges

1973

Ironically lacks the "raw power" of Funhouse.  It's a weirder album, a hazier album, but not necessarily in a compelling way.  It's got a dingy, dirty vibe about it (as would be expected) but the 2nd half of the album doesn't live up to the first half…probably need to listen to it more, but the notorious production issues make it really difficult to do that...and enjoy it.  Overall, perhaps because of that, Raw Power has never really done much for me personally.

7.7

The Idiot

Iggy Pop

1977

Shortly after the release of Raw Power, The Stooges broke up in large part because of Iggy's continued drug abuse and associated erratic behavior.  Things only went downhill from there for Iggy, as he eventually checked himself into a mental institution in the coming years before being rescued by none other than The Thin White Duke himself, David Bowie.  Bowie effectively took Iggy under his wing and produced this, his first solo record, The Idiot, an album that has Bowie's Berlin-era fingerprints all over it.  The Idiot sounds virtually nothing like anything Iggy recorded with The Stooges, sporting a drab, dingy, experimental, and somewhat artsy flair that is very unique in his broader catalog.  Much like Bowie's Berlin era-albums, the sound can be a bit draining to listen to at times, but the generally bleak and otherworldly mood of the music is undeniably compelling. This is especially true in Iggy's case, as he brings a certain druggy, raw, mentally unbalanced vibe to the table whereas Bowie always kept things generally more well crafted, restrained, and sophisticated by comparison. Ultimately, this is a druggy mood record, perfect for dreadfully hopeless winter days, when you want to fully immerse yourself in the pain and suffering of the season.  Might not sound appealing to most people, but, along with Eno's early solo records, and of course the aforementioned Berlin-era Bowie records, The Idiot is an essential and profound listening experience if the mood suits you.

7.9

Lust For Life

Iggy Pop

1977

Perhaps Iggy Pop's finest hour, Lust for Life was recorded shortly after release of The Idiot, which is interesting considering the two albums have very little in common either mood-wise or sonically.  Lust For Life is a decidedly more upbeat and engaging album by comparison, sporting more of a "rock" sound, but it is certainly no less decadent and compelling in nature.  Case in point is the the classic title-track which kicks off the album in raucously infectious fashion, and things stay thoroughly engaging from there on out.  From the sleazy and harsh "Sixteen", to the desperate and profound "Some Weird Sin", and the haunting and compelling "The Passenger", Lust For Life is chalk full of highlights.  Iggy even channels Lou Reed on the sinister "Turn Blue", taking a predominately spoken-word/loungy approach to a tragic drug overdose tale.  Granted Lou and Iggy are cut from the same cloth to a degree, but Lust For Life sounds like a somewhat more invigorating and focused version of what Lou was doing at the time.  Basically Iggy really stepped up his lyrical and musical game here, while maintaining his trademark sense of danger and flair.  The result is a classic album that most people, including yours truly, consider to be his best.

8.8

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