One of the all-time classic rock albums--Raw Power by Iggy and the Stooges--is being reissued this week with bonus tracks, a live show from Richards in Atlanta, October 1973. For those holding out and splurging for the Deluxe Edition, you'll get a 4-disc package, including a DVD of the Making of the Record, with a special 48-page softcover book with an essay by Henry Rollins and testimonials from Lou Reed, Joan Jett, Tom Morello and others explaining how you, too, can lose lose weight listening to this fine album.
Here's my simple 10-step reasoning why you should be listening to this album today.
10) Iggy & The Stooges Are Louder Than You'll Ever Be: Bands might play faster, "heavier," slower, you name it, but Iggy's music sounds like a genuine trainwreck and he still managed to write some memorable tunes in the process.
9) James Williamson Plays Guitar Like The Rest Of The Band Isn't There: From the first burst of lead guitar on "Search And Destroy," it's obvious that James Williamson is out to dominate these tracks. He comes on like a kamikaze pilot who hasn't been paid in weeks. He's mad. He also sounds like he's playing so loud, he's drowning out the rest of the band and he really doesn't care what they're up to.
8) David Bowie's Idea Of Production Was To Turn Knobs And See What They Did: With the new 2010 mastering, it's said the world will now hear what David Bowie intended. The 2007 Iggy mix will still be available as part of the Original Album Classics series. But the first time I heard Raw Power it sounded like the guy producing the record kept hitting different buttons and twisting different knobs to see what would happen and didn't really know what he was doing. Or was trying to sabotage the project (after all, none of Bowie's records sounded like this.) Of course, one man's accident is another man's genius. Now we know to blame the mastering engineer!
7) There Was A Time When A Major Label Would Release Raw Power: If you consider that The Stooges didn't sell many records when they were on Elektra, it's mind-boggling these days to think they'd be picked up by another major label. These days, they'd be working for UPS.
6) There Is A Time Now When A Major Label Is Re-Releasing Raw Power: You have to thank the times for what they are, whether it means getting to hear the entire Fela catalog in one big gulp or reacquainting yourself with an album that doesn't have any neighbors.
5) You Never Know When Iggy Will Re-Mix It Again: That said, grab it while it's hot. You never know when Iggy will decide it's all wrong and you'll be forced to download it from some site that makes it sound like a computer file. It's funny to think that such a sonically flawed album needs the proper presentation, but it does.
4) They Perfected The Mix Of Junkie Antics And Anarchic Rock N' Roll: While Bowie and the mastering engineer might have been at odds, Iggy and his band mastered the ability to be rock 'n' roll druggies and still put out great music. These days, musicians either go straight to junkiedom without making classic music or they look like they might be considering a job in investment banking if this whole rock 'n' roll thing doesn't work out.
3) If Iggy At 63 Can Out Rock You, Iggy At 26 Could Destroy You: Have you seen Iggy lately? He can still out rock 'n' roll you (and me) any day of the week. So, imagine what he could do when he was just a kid.
2) It Ain't Happening A Second Time: Like all the greatest moments in art and music, it will never happen again. People will continue to record endless albums of "alt.country." There will always be alternative rock bands mumbling to the jangle or to the downcast grunge chords. There will always be another hip-hop artist bragging about how much money they have. But an accident only happens once.
1) You Don't Have To Rationalize It: In the end, you don't have to explain why "Search And Destroy," "Gimme Danger," "I Need Somebody" and "Raw Power" shake you to the core of your soul. You just have to listen.