Friday, July 16, 2010

Review #138: The Stooges - The Stooges (1969)


Year: 1969
Genre: Punk Rock, Garage Rock
Label: Elektra Records
Tracks: 8
Length: 34 Minutes
Style: Rebellious/Fun/Mysterious
My Rating: 8/8

The Stooges... well... what can I say? They're a pretty damn good band. This album is truthfully all I've heard of them. In fact, this is probably the oldest album I really really like. And I guess that makes me sort of musically ignorant, but I still like this record. The Stooges are usually considered to be sort of the early leaders of the "proto-punk" (a.k.a. punk rock before they had a name for it) movement, and it really shows here. They also play garage-rock styled music (similar to the Velvet Underground and a lot of modern indie-rock bands). I like the harder stuff better, personally. If this was the first band to sound like this, then that's pretty damn impressive. The group formed in 1967 and supposedly also used household objects in their early performances. The band's famous frontman, Iggy Pop, often performed shocking stage antics such as cutting himself, cussing, diving into the stage, and fighting, something was emulated by future artists in the decades to come. By 1968, the band was signed to Elektra Records and began recording their first album. This the result...

1. 1969
1969. 19... 69. 19. 69. 69. He-he! "69"... ohohohoho! The song begins with a slow intro and a wah-ooh-wahh guitar sound effect. Then the rhythm changes and a more normal-sounding guitar riff is played, and there's hand-claps as well. This song describes boredom and apathy towards the then-new year of 1969, in which Iggy expects nothing exciting to happen. Actually, they say some pretty exciting stuff DID happen in '69. I wasn't there, though. It's kinda fun, 'cause with the guitars, there's always something happening in one ear and then something else happening in the other. Bring on the funky guitar noises and great lead solos! Iggy lets out a truly animalistic scream towards the end.

2. I Wanna Be Your Dog
A classic. The first song I'd ever heard of the Stooges from, 'cause Sonic Youth covered this song and put it on one of their albums. This version's better, though. One of the first great punk rock songs, with a deep-cutting riff, sexy lyrics, and nice little ching-ching sounds alongside the beat. And the solo is fucking amazing... you have to listen to know what I mean (if you haven't already). Not much else I can say. Great song.

3. We Will Fall
A very slow, loooong song. Not as hard or energetic as the two songs before it, it incorporates an ancient tribal chant continuing throughout the entire song. Iggy sings in a softer, less abrasive voice. To be completely honest, this song doesn't interest me a whole ton, but maybe that's just because I'm not mature/stoned enough. If you love the Velvet Underground, you'll probably really like this one, 'cause that's one band this reminds me of. A lot of little treakets of lead guitar whisping around along the sides of your ears, like bats in a dark cave. The faint droning sounds feel like a candle in the dark, as the chants and singing echoes throughout the stony walls. That's what this song feels like to me. No drums, just soft beats, probably made on a different instrument. But yeah, this iz the end of Side 1.

4. No Fun
Now for something a little more up-beat! The riff is pretty nice here, and there's some more clapping to the beat of the song. Now the lyrics, I feel like I can relate to. Being alone and bored, having trouble deciding whether to go out and do nothing or stay at home and do nothing. That's just the way it goes. Ironically, the song is pretty fun-sounding in itself. Halfway through, we get another nice guitar solo. "Well, come on!"

5. Real Cool Time
Now, Iggy decides to have a Real Cool Time instead of No Fun... anyways, originally, the Stooges had only written five songs for the album -- the four songs that have just been reviewed so far, and a song called "Ann" which comes after the fifth song on the album. Well, it'd be a shame if they stopped there! Elektra did not feel that they had enough songs for an entire album, so the group was forced to write three more songs in order to get their album released... and these songs were really good! This is the first of these songs, and it's the best song on the album in my opinion! Unfortunately, it's also the shortest. Oh my (and boo-hoo)! Oh well. One of the greatest guitar riffs, a steady bass-line, and just orgasming wahh-wahh guitar as well! Geez, this song sure ROCKS. I'd fuck to it. Just listen to it!

6. Ann
Another more garage-y song. It's a somber, depressing love song. Kind of blues-y, also. More emphasis on the bass guitar, here. The song gets louder and more aggressive around the end of the song. Then it sorta fades out.

7. Not Right
Know what? I think that it's "Not Right" to have "No Fun". Hee-hee! This one is sort of like the first hardcore punk song in a sense, 'cause the distortion is pretty up here, the riff sounds like that genre, and it's more speedy and aggressive than a lot of the other songs here. However, there's also a lot more emphasis on lead guitar and such here. Another song I really like on this album.

8. Little Doll
This one reminds me of heavy metal a bit (a genre this band also influenced). Not a whole lot I can think of to say for this song, but it's another love song and one of the songs that the band wrote in order to please Elektra. Thus, the lyrics are pretty simplistic here. But, that's the end! THE END.

Well, I probably didn't do this album enough justice with this review. Some old-timer who was actually THERE when this record came out or hipster will probably read all this and jump on me for not worshipping such a historically significant record hard enough. Well, sorry! Yeah, most people think either the Velvet Underground or the Stooges started the whole punk thing. Which is a pretty good accomplishment alone, in my opinion! I'd die happy if I'd done that. But, this album should appeal to all fans of hard rock. Well, most of 'em. It's pretty ahead of its time, this sound has become the standard in rock n' roll. And deservingly so. Back in 1969, this was the face of underground rock! And they weren't from New York or England... they were from Detroit in Michigan! I actually own this album on vinyl (bought it for about $19) and I listen to it quite often. You should also if you're interested. Well, I'm pretty thirsty, so I'm gonna leave it at this for now. Bye bye!!

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Real Cool Time
2. I Wanna Be Your Dog
3. No Fun

1 comment:

  1. there was many great bands in the 60s, 13th floor elevators, the beatles, the who, the shaggs...
    all the stooges albums are awesome. you should definitely give them all a listen.