Iggy and the Stooges-THE WEIRDNESS CD (Virgin)
I was wonderin' what Tim Ellison meant when he wrote "awaiting your Stooges review" in the previous post's comment box! Turns out that yeah, the Stooges DO have a new album out, something which usually wouldn't excite me that much after all of the reunion burns that I've encountered over the years but somehow I had the feeling that Iggy and crew would still have the testosterone to pull it off with elan. After all, that Skydog live disque I reviewed a few months back was the proverbial mofo, so why shouldn't this one be as well even though it has the taint of major label hijinx attached to it? Tim's own blog points the way to where one can hear a free download of the thing (which is, to be polite about it, titled THE WEIRDNESS) and in order to save yourself a trip over to his site which is certainly worth hitting after you read mine, I thought I'd link it up for your own pleasure right here so maybe you can listen to it as well and tell me where I'm wrong.
And, as I sorta half-hearted expected, the Stooges turned out another good one. Yeah I was worried, especially after Iggy went through just about as many ch-ch-ch-ch-changes as mentor Bowie to the point where he was Mister Clean during the antiseptic eighties and wasted grungefather in the fecal nineties, but thankfully the Asheton Brothers were able to harness the original Ig Power back to its purest form and what we've got for it is a pretty fun (and fun like it's 1973 and you're a teenager on the PROWL!) record. Now it ain't prime cut Stooges like those classic '69-'73 sides were, but it's sure a lot better'n solo Iggy embarrassing himself (and everyone who stuck up for him) with lackluster-to-downright-horrid material and a general toss off style that, come to think of it, was about as shallow as all of those nineties geeks who were emulating the Ig inna first place were!
Smart playing (Ron Asheton having lost none of his chops despite playing in a series of nowhere bands post-Destroy All Monsters), smart lyrics (I kinda likes that surprise line on opener "Trollin'" where Iggy compares a certain appendage of his to a tree, something which I doubt has been done in the history of said appendage comparisons) and especially smart music make THE WEIRDNESS a true-blue winner that even I'm surprised could've been created by a buncha guys I never thought woulda made it outta the mid-seventies alive! All of the hot chic flash of ROCK SCENE and heavy metal madness of CREEM coupled with the rebirth of the back room at Max's Kansas City can be heard on this album, and it's especially potent in the here-and-now considering there's no more high-energy rock press to bolster our cravings or even a back room at Max's to appear bohemian snat. Heck, there ain't even a CBGB left so what's a fellow to do when he wants to come off decadent in an age when even the faggots wanna act like THE BRADY BUNCH!!!
Like Elliot Murphy, I ain't gonna give this a track-by-track rundown even though I'm positive a good portion of you readers were top notch students when it came to better living through chemistry. But take it from Uncle Chris...just about every number here is pretty hot, in varying increments mind ya but hotsy-totsy nonetheless. The ones I especially grooved on were the title track (which is to "Harlem Nocturne" [or was it "I Only Have Eyes For You"???] what "I Need Somebody" was to "St. James Infirmary"), "Mexican Guy" (a neat-o reminiscence of El Lay '74 complete with refs to Iggy spotting Chuck Berry, Frank Zappa ["eating a lowly hot dog"!!!!] and the Troggs that captures the essence of the place and era so well that you kinda'd expect Don Waller or Kim Fowley to figure into it somehow!) and "Free and Freaky" (the Dictators' "I Stand Tall" for the oh-oh's!). The others might vary in energy quotients but it ain't like they're duffers...in fact there ain't one in the batch and you can tell that by the song titles which are some of the wildest since the first Budgie album. I mean, how can you lose with tuneage going under such slick monikers as "I'm Fried," "Passing Cloud," "ATM" (the Stooges are one band that keeps up with current technological trends...it ain't like they've been in a Vietnamese re-education camp these past thirtysome years!) and "She Took My Money" anyway? Or even a numbuh with the provocative title of "The End of Christianity" and I dunno what it's about despite three spins so maybe you Jesus Freaks out there'll get into it like I did!
And it is pretty smart like I mentioned earlier. The playing is excellent, the sound hot nerve-scrape, and even Steve Mackay or a good imitator gets a few sax licks in here 'n there! And with the miracle of modern internet you don't even have to buy yourself a copy! Just download it and save yourself the moolah even though Ig and crew will hafta stay macrobiotic in the process. Well, just think of their health for once!
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