Music is the soundtrack to our lives. And on Christmas Day 2012, four days after the world was supposed to end, GuysNation columnist Bryan Lienesch was given the book ’1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die’. As he flipped through it, an idea dawned on him right then and there: he would attempt to knock all 1,001 albums off his list. Not just before he dies, but as fast as life would allow.
This is the Bucket Beats List.
When you first listen to The Stooges’ third album, you’ll quickly double check to see whose playing. The 1973 release seems to have all the riffs and rhythms of countless iconic punk bands. So was this some sort of homage to the greats?
No. Iggy And The Stooges came first.
Most would say the core concept behind punk is rebellion and willingness to break the mold. In this spirit, Raw Power parallels perfectly. Iggy Pop temporarily disbanded the band after they and their first label, Elektra, had a falling out. When Columbia picked them up for Raw Power, the new label was initially none too pleased. In fact, they even brought in David Bowie to “salvage” the album.
In Columbia’s defense, Raw Power sounded nothing like the sort of glam rock that was very prevalent at the time. The chaotic, thrashing riffs and ear-splitting jamming seemed to have only one purpose in mind: to have the fuzz called for a noise complaint.
But what Columbia lacked at the time was foresight. Raw Power, as time has proven, was an inspiration to countless great bands that followed. For 1973, it’s wholly unique: old school, beep-bopping rock and roll seasoned heavily with reckless abandon. You can’t listen to the record without imagining the band completely trashing the studio in the process.
The first two tracks, ‘Search and Destroy’ and ‘Gimme Danger’, are sheer heavyweights. The anti-war vibes that made so many bands before them timeless are seeded here in dark, groovy tracks that set up the albums intent to follow none of the “accepted norms” perfectly.
Buried way down in the middle of the record is ‘Raw Power’, the album’s titular track. This was the first of the eight to be recorded and, while it’s a step or two behind the couple I’ve already mentioned, it too reminds you just what the zeitgeist of the record is intended to be.
Critics might say that the album, even with only eight songs, is monotonous, that it lacks the dynamic range of greater bands. That’s one way to put it. Another way is that it’s consistent. For all 33 minutes and change, the head-banging doesn’t let up. It’s a half hour of anarchic destruction and it doesn’t pretend to make any apologies for it.
If you know punk or if you’ve heard it before, you know it’s not for everyone. Half the people walking around in Dead Kennedys tees haven’t actually listened to their music or have and don’t like it. That’s okay, punk doesn’t need them.
And Iggy And The Stooges don’t need you to like Raw Power. But you should. You really, really should.
3. I Need Somebody
2. Search and Destroy
1. Gimme Danger
Least Favorite Tracks?
2. Death Trip
1. Shake Appeal
Do you really need to listen to this album before you die?
For the sake of understanding the roots of such a widely popular genre today, yes.
Make sure to follow Bryan on Twitter @bclienesch for all sorts of GuysNation shenanigans!