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The highly anticipated new Iggy and The Stooges album ‘Ready to Die’, released on Fat Possum Records, arrived one week in advance, pleasingly surprising the tons of fans who were craving the new work of the Godfather of Punk and his band. The album will be officially released on April 30, but it is already available for streaming.
Many are doubtful when it comes to an old band reuniting or working on new material. The criticism of the old still doing what made it great is a characteristic of the current music scene. Iggy and The Stooges, with this new album, help to prove how wrong this attitude is. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Iggy Pop explained the simple, and yet admirable, reason why the band decided not to just ride the train of eternal self-celebration, benefiting from the timeless fame acquired by creating one of the most influential albums of all time, ‘Raw Power’. Iggy Pop stated “I didn’t do this expecting to make money out of it. It’s a lot of work, but I felt it was something that had to be done. This is my teenage dream, having a band that makes records and plays gigs. That’s still the glory of it, and I wanted to honor the institution and honor the group.”
So basically, being in a band should lead to music making. Well said Iggy, and well done. ‘Ready to Die’ does not disappoint those who were expecting some real rock ‘n’ roll to be on the plate. With songs written by Iggy Pop and James Williamson for the first time after ‘Raw Power’, the album is straightforward and raw; the listener does not face an overly-polished work, rather a lesson on how rock ‘n’ roll should be played. It has something that many, although luckily not all, rock albums are missing lately: it sounds real.
The album presents a powerful dynamic which, although classical, here works perfectly. It moves from louder and harder tracks, such as “Burn,” “Ready to Die” and “Dirty Deal,” to some delicate ballads and intimate songs, such as “The Departed,” dedicated to the late Ron Asheton. The lyrics are also very dynamic; Iggy Pop takes a close look at the world around, the “Unfriendly World,” as the title of one of the tracks suggests. There is the description and criticism of some of current society’s issues (“Gun”) and of people’s feelings. Some of the tracks present deeply involving and reflective lyrics, which help to create an intimacy with the band’s sonority. Iggy Pop mixes in this album his hard and punk attitude with his emotional side, towards which he definitively opened the gate for fans through his latest solo album ‘Après’. Some other lyrics are instead very simple and careless, stressing an easygoing attitude pertaining to part of the early punk movement, which presented not only a social condemnation approach, but also an irreverent and ironic one.
‘Ready to Die’ is a powerful and pleasant album which needs no comparison to ‘Raw Power‘ since it plays a very different role in the band’s career and in the current music scene. It is easy to listen to and captures the listener’s attention right away. Nevertheless, it is possible to grasp more and more at every listen. It is a record which gives a lot to those who listen with open ears and an open soul.
Well produced and appreciable by those loving rock ‘n’ roll, it is a strong statement of presence by a band which has made history. The renovation operated by Iggy and the Stooges in ’Ready to Die’ starts exactly from the band’s roots. Iggy and The Stooges do not present a completely new sound, but rather refresh the original one, transforming it in an adequate and relevant sonority for the present. With ‘Ready to Die’ Iggy and The Stooges take their past and make it meet with the present without cheating on themselves.
Rating: EXCELLENT 4.5/5
Image credit: Iggy And The Stooges via Facebook