I have learned through all of this, the true connectivity of the “Unholy Trinity” of punk/alternative music of the early 1970s, between David Bowie and his two proteges, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. Today’s album is “Raw Power” by The Stooges, which is the first album to surface from loudersound.com’s Top 10 Greatest Punk Rock albums of all time. There is no doubt, this album, which was ultimately mixed and guided by Bowie, is a landmark in punk rock evolution. The distorted guitars, the aggressive lyrics, the intense vocals, it all just builds on everything we have heard previously from Iggy Pop and the Stooges.
With new guitarist James Williamson in tow, Iggy had a new writing partner, and not surprisingly, they created and recorded this whirlwind of distortion in a very short period of time. I was amused to read that the label (once again, the commercial ears of Columbia Records) insisted on a “ballad” for each side of the album. I would be hard-pressed to label anything by the Stooges as a “ballad”, but “Gimme Danger” and especially “I Need Somebody”, which almost has a bluesy feel to it and is my favorite song on the album, do bring some diversity of style to the record.
Most of the rest of the album is more what you would expect, with “Search and Destroy” and of course, “Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell”, setting the tone early and often. Taken with full sincerity or with an amused eye, the intense pace, the distorted guitars and powerful delivery from Iggy makes for a great combination. Not unlike “Transformer” from Lou Reed, there are some impressive tunes on this album with great hooks, which is all I really need. It is a more “in your face” style than anything we would get from the stylistic Bowie or Reed, but the uniqueness and fresh surge of energy makes it easy for me to see why this was embraced by an ever-growing audience looking for a new sound.