The Stooges: The Stooges (1969)
At some point, it occurred to me that I should check out the real Stooges, and finally got around to listening to the first album. Though I was already a huge fan of the Velvet Underground by then, the other late 60s act who share credit as the two essential proto-punk forebears, I'd been a little frightened to delve into the Stooges. While Lou Reed had his softer side -- for all the Velvets' rep for their more noisy and transgressive work, they also had songs like "Sunday Morning" and "Femme Fatale" and the gorgeous self-titled third album -- Iggy Pop was just flat-out scary, right?
But I took the plunge and...
Yeah, pure catharsis.
It's a record I reach for now and then when I just want a sheer, mindless blast of rock and roll thunder free of pretension or pop. "1969," "No Fun," "Real Cool Time," and of course "I Wanna Be Your Dog" take their 3-4 chords, drive them through Dave Davies' broken guitar amp from "You Really Got Me" about 10 times, and tack on Iggy's perfectly simplistic no-frills lyrics, and arrive at a blissed out pre-punk joyful fury.
To be fair, the album is a little slight. Those four tracks are pretty much it; five if you count "Little Doll," which is also great but essentially a "1969" reprise. I can do without the more metallic "Not Right," leaving just the quiet, spooky "Ann" and agonizing long dirge "We Will Fall," which sound better suited to their label-mates the Doors. (Ok, they have their place, and provide some hints of what Iggy and Bowie would later come up with, but that's not the mood I'm after when I pull out my Stooges records.) So for me, I take those five killer tracks, tack on the highlights of the follow-up album (most notably "T.V. Eye," perhaps my favorite Stooges track), and make myself a single, relentlessly-rocking Stooges album.
Here's the actual album (deluxe version with alternate mixes):