Iggy & The Stooges, ‘Ready to Die’ (Fat Possum)
Iggy Pop and The Stooges are back and they are mad. On their new record, “Ready to Die,” Pop gleefully and violently excoriates two-faced record companies, consumer society and dead-end jobs, among other targets.
Sonically, the album is an eclectic mixture of the classic, overdriven Stooges sound — “Sex and Money,” “Gun” and “Ready to Die” — and other numbers that verge on balladry — “Unfriendly World,” “Beat that Guy” — albeit with a fair dose of grit.
Surprisingly, the standout on the album is not the enigmatic lead vocalist, but rather the group’s “Raw Power”-era lead guitarist James Williamson, who was brought back into the fold after the untimely passing of Ron Asheton in 2009. Williamson makes an impact immediately on the first track, “Burn,” a guitar-heavy number slightly reminiscent of the classic “Search and Destroy,” and continues to shine through the rest of the album.
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While “Ready to Die” lacks the intensity of The Stooges’ late-’60s and early-’70s releases — could you imagine a 12-string acoustic guitar, or strings, on “Funhouse”? – it is a solid record that finds the band grappling with its own legacy while simultaneously pushing the sonic envelope forward.
Corbin Reiff, Seattle Times freelancer
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L L Cool J, “Authentic” (429 Records)