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Iggy & The Stooges: Ready To Die

iggyIggy & The Stooges
Ready To Die
(Fat Possum Records)

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The loud, splashy “Burn” opens Iggy and The Stooges new 10-song Ready To Die and chunks along as good as the next track, “Sex and Money,” though I like the latter better with an almost talking Iggy verse, cool hand claps and female “I wanna.”

By the time “Unfriendly World” starts, it’s a welcome slow slide guitar ballad, sounding slightly like the Stones, but Iggy’s voice and the odd lyrics (which work great) stain it a Stooges’ tune…for about as much of the Stooge sound we really have left anymore. (These days, The Stooges consists of original drummer Scott Asheton, bassist Mike Watt, Iggy and James Williamson. Williamson is responsible for most of the sound and songs here, I feel.)

The title track wails; it’s a great, roiling, big guitar tune with a teasing Iggy vocal (he sounds actually pretty youthful here). There’s that horn again (Steve Mackay plays them throughout) and Watt chunking along on “DD’s” – yes a tribute to big breasts. “Beat That Guy” again sees Williamson playing acoustic, which is something I love behind Pop’s voice, and Iggy really sings expressively with a really good lead line.

“The Departed” is for and about “departed” Stooge Ron Asheton and “the transition from careless youth to wary older age,” as Iggy told NPR. Again, Williamson creates a perfect, delicate mix behind Iggy’s talking vocal with his dobro playing. This is a fitting song to a dead band member and brother as I feel Ready to Die is a fitting and decent modern Stooges album.

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