One of the wildest and rawest-sounding albums in my collection, “Raw Power” has a special place in my (rather limited) life.
“Power” singlehandedly carried me through the tail end of my high school years and influenced nearly all of my listening choices during my first year at university. In all candor, this album is virtual dynamite. Plain and simple. This album rocks like no other album before or after it; it’s just that simple, really. Succinctly put, it fucking rocks!
See, “Power” is an incredibly powerful and emotionally explosive set of “recordings”, if we could call them that. If James Brown’s “Apollo” is a “wrecking ball”, then this is unapologetically an atom bomb, utterly demolishing everything in its path. The gritty vibrancy, incalculable volatility and dirty energy present within this is insurmountable. Really.
Iggy and Co. sound as if they’re embittered cavemen emerging from the fiery depths of Hell itself. Williamson’s guitar work is brazenly magnificent and electric; Scott Asheton’s drumming is perfectly primitive (unfortunately, Ron Asheton’s bass playing is so quiet that it’s almost non-existent). Let’s talk about the absolute driving force behind it all: the man himself, the godfather of punk, Iggy Pop. Pop screams his heart out during the entire runtime. He sounds like a frenzied and twisted conglomeration of a half-man/half-beast hybrid. He never sounded more intimidating, mysterious or scarier. Just listen to those intense growls and impassioned yelps!
Here comes the toughest part: choosing my favorite track. Unlike any other album I’ve reviewed thus far, “Power” seems to be the toughest for me to choose such a special track. Because, unlike any other album I have (with the possible exception of “Fun House”), this is such a gritty and perverse spectacle of an album.
That’s the incredibly unhinged beauty of “Power”: each song is as angry, aggressive and in-your-face as all the others. We’re in for such a wild and gruesome ride, peering into the minds of a set of monumentally talented, drug-addled proto-punk heathens. In all candor, I’d have to go with “Gimme Danger”. It’s a ballad in the sense that the Stooges are conventional; it’s fucking explosive and unstable, much like Pop himself. Pop sounds like some sort of manic alien, from a far-away planet, extolling the virtues of distorted and wildly perverse love. “Danger” perfectly sums up the band’s utter disillusionment with life up to this point. Ahhhh, “gimme danger lil’ stranger…”.
There’s nothing quite like this album. It’s an absolute gem. An atom bomb personified. Most definitely, a desert island pick.
My Grade: A