It almost doesn’t matter what your opinion is of Iggy & The Stooges’ new record Ready To Die, because it’s a piece of music history regardless. While Iggy Pop has had a long and successful solo career, this is the first time since 1973’s Raw Power that the band has released an album under this moniker. (Not counting the ill-fated Weirdness released under the name “The Stooges” in 2007.) Point: the record is worth the price of the vinyl for the simple fact that it’s a record released by Iggy & The Stooges in the twenty-teens. Forget about how good or bad it is.
That being said–it actually is quite good, completely living up to the moniker after all this time.
It’s almost hard to believe that Iggy Pop is in his late ‘60s, even more difficult to wrap your mind around the fact that he is able to rock as hard as he does on Ready To Die. Sure, the years are apparent in the fact that Iggy sings about an octave lower than he did in the early days–but then again, the vocal rawness only adds to the garage-y vibe, so it works. And of course, there is original Stooge drummer Scott Asheton, often-Stooge guitarist James Williamson, and bassist Mike Watt, who stepped in after the death of Ron Asheton in 2009. If Iggy is keeping the pace this well at his age, these guys are keeping up just as well. The result is that what David Bowie recently proved in glam-rock with his album The Next Day, Iggy & The Stooges are proving with Ready To Die: they aren’t done yet. Not by a long shot.
The song content should not surprise anyone: sex, drugs, and rock & roll. With a twist of violence, of course. These guys were politically incorrect before political incorrectness was a thing, so yeah. There’s “Gun”, for instance: “If I had a f**kin’ gun / I could shoot at everyone.” And the blatantly naughty “DD”: “I’m on my knees for those double-D’s”–followed up by Iggy’s expressed interest in both looking at and touching said double-Ds. The crass hormonal urges of a 13-year-old boy, sung by a 66-year-old. (Nothing like uniting the generations.) But after all–this is rock & roll.
Here’s the irony: this is an album played by people old enough to be your grandparents…but this is definitely not your grandparents’ music. Ready To Die actually proves that Iggy & The Stooges…aren’t.
Ready to die, that is.