REVIEW: IGGY AND THE STOOGES: READY TO DIE

Although many of the songs were in English, Iggy Pop’s last two albums, Preliminaires and Après, were essentially French pop albums. Iggy is a national icon in France, arguably as popular as Elvis is in the States, so I’m sure one of the reasons he made those albums was to thank his devoted French fans. Then again, Iggy has always seemed like an eclectic guy to me, so maybe he was just sick of punk rock. Plus, he can sing in a lot of different styles; I believe he’s a baritone, so he probably wanted to use the full range of his voice for a change. Regardless, this new record, which reunites him with The Stooges’ guitarist James Williamson, is sure to satisfy any fans who were disgruntled over Iggy’s French pop detour. To that end, this is a full-scale, punk rock attack that proudly raises a middle finger at the establishment. Williamson was the guitarist who bled all over the Stooges’ 1973 juggernaut Raw Power and his playing here is, well, raw and powerful. “Money is a waste of time, of course I made sure I got mine,” Iggy proclaims during the downright infectious “Gun,” which pokes fun at the U.S.A. for things like killing Indians. The album is not without a soft spot, though, and it comes in the form of the acoustic guitar-driven “Unfriendly World,” which would not have seemed out of place on Iggy’s French Pop albums. It’s also a song I would have loved to hear Johnny Cash sing. “So hang on to your girl, ’cause this is an unfriendly world,” Iggy croons. And you wouldn’t be wrong to think of Lou Reed or even Leonard Cohen. Another must-hear track is the equally mellow “The Departed,” a homage to the late Stooge member Ron Asheton that actually calls to mind Willie Nelson, who really ought to cover it. That said, the main reason to buy this record is to rock the fuck out and remember what punk music was before bands like Green Day decided to make it accessible to Top 40 radio.

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Paris365

An entertainment journalist for 20 years, Michael McCarthy was a columnist and contributing editor for the magazines Lollipop and LiveWire. He co-created and wrote for Cinezine, one of the '90's most popular movie E-zines. The only time he's not listening to music is when he's watching television shows and movies or reading, usually music magazines.

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