Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Stooges - The Weirdness (Virgin, 2007)

Many people were surprised when Iggy Pop reunited with the Asheton brothers and recruited bassist Mike Watt to re-form the legendary rock band The Stooges. Their original reunion concerts were a huge success and paved the way for many festival appearances and this, their first album of new music in thirty years. Since The Stooges were pioneers of "stoopid rock" you know that the music and lyrics are going to be lewd and crude and Iggy and the boys don't disappoint, tossing out sexual innuendo and metaphor with bravado and swagger of men half their age. That's where a lot of the reviewers who have been panning this album are missing the point, The Stooges aren't out to write sonnets of lost love - if that's what you're after try Arcade Fire or the Decemberists. Instead, slashing primal rock and roll is the key here and the Asheton brothers still sound great on guitar and drums, and Steve Mackay adds some ripping free-jazz saxophone to the proceedings. The production of the album holds things back a little bit, with Iggy sounding removed from the band rather than getting is raw live sound that would have benefited everyone. While some of the songs genuinely are throwaways, there are some good moments like in "Mexican Guy" when Iggy's lady runs off with a man from south of the border and he sarcastically contemplates relief in "pills and Dr. Phil" or the sheer malice that is sneered out in "My Idea of Fun." So while this can't stand on an equal footing with The Stooges classic LPs, I think it's far from the embarrassment some are painting it to be. It's a solid rock 'n' roll album and some of the material truly deserves to be praised.

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