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4.7 out of 5 stars54
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 17 December 2003
This is the second (and final) Stooges album made by the original and best lineup. This is the one that was recorded in a brick-walled studio with the volume up to 11, never mind all that soundproofing sh*t, in an attempt to capture the band's incendiary live show. This is the one that features bop jazz sax weaving in and out of the band's crazed jamming all over Side 2. This is the one that culminates in the fabulous "LA Blues". This is the one that got them sacked from Elektra. This is the one sold diddly squat on its' first release, but went on to become one of the most influential rock albums anywhere, anytime. This is the one that every discerning rock fan should know and love. Buy it today, listen and marvel.
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on 14 February 2010
I remember my surprise when Nude & Rude - The best of Iggy Pop was released and there wasn't a single track from Funhouse on it. Surely this was The Stooges' finest hour - the one time when flawed (or maybe floored?) genius Iggy got everything right. Then it dawned on me, you just can't take a song from this album in isolation and clumsily wedge it into a 'best of'. This isn't so much a collection of songs but more a rock 'n' roll symphony in seven movements perfectly charting a trajectory from taut, muscular rock to pure primal noise.
The album opens superbly with the driving, rhythmic 'Down on the Street' more direct, more pounding than anything on the first Stooges album. Then they effortlessly go up a gear with Loose: an incredibly catchy bass line underpins a superbly aggressive guitar workout. The onslaught continues with 'TV eye', with its Stone Age drumming, ear splitting guitar, and Iggy's extraordinary primal scream. Where do you go from there? The album's centrepiece and one of the finest songs the Stooges recorded, 'Dirt'. It's a sexy, slow-burning, seven minute garage-blues workout - a million miles from the dull filler 'We Will Fall' on their first album. "Do you feel it when you touch me? There's a fire" recites Iggy.
Dirt marks the turning point between the more structured songs on the first half of the record and the perfectly orchestrated degeneration into pure noise on the second half. This starts with '1970' which picks up where TV Eye left off but turns into an infectious wig-out with wailing saxophone joining in as the band whip themselves into a frenzy. Then comes the title track which is a loose-limbed continuation on the same theme with blasting sax perfectly interwoven with Ron Asheton's guitar playing, from the word go and Iggy rapping at the mic, improvising off of the rhythm like some kind of garage rock James Brown.
The Stooges start this album like a tightly coiled spring and unravel gloriously as the album progresses. Hence, 'L.A. Blues' brings the record to a close in the only possible way: complete meltdown. It's 5 minutes of pure discord which must have been recorded in a single take as it's impossible to imagine anybody putting themselves through that more than once. Yet it isn't unbearable or pointless as most tracks of its type usually are (who has ever listened to 'Revolution 9' by The Beatles more than once?). It has no lyrics, it has no tune, it has no need of either, it is a truly beautiful piece of noise. Essentially with Funhouse the Stooges are peeling away the layers of Rock 'n' Roll and stripping it back to find out what lays at the heart of their music and L.A blues is just that - like a painting of a pure emotion.
So, there's only one way to listen to Funhouse: right through from start to finish and turned up as loud as possible. I personally find that it's the most cathartic experience rock 'n' roll has yet produced - This is the best of Iggy Pop.
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Given the option, I would have rated this at least 6 stars, despite the last track being something of a disappointment (we'll come back to that...)
First off, this 35 years old album still sounds utterly contemporary. So much wouldn't have happened without it, and none of the innumerable bands influenced by it have come close to equalling it.
Second, let's dispel the notion that this is a bunch of spontaneous stuff they just came up with in the studio. What it IS is their live set of the time, honed by regular gigs and (superbly) recorded live in the studio through a p.a. with no overdubs. Anyone who's heard the sadly no longer available "Complete Funhouse Sessions" will know that they arrived in the studio with these songs pretty much already worked out, and the multiple takes (over 30 on some songs) were just a case of nailing the best possible version. These guys weren't virtuosi, but they could lay down a murderous groove to rival anyone - and as for the singer...
Down In The Street is a mean, lowdown, almost funky opener, with some superb whoops and yells from Iggy. Loose (which took the most takes) is an awesome full on floor the accelerator three chord blast, with some great dynamics. TV Eye keeps up the energy level with a bit more structure. Absolutely superb, especially the bit where Ron Asheton just chugs away on guitar with Iggy's unearthly yowling over the top. And then possibly the greatest thing they ever recorded - Dirt. This is an epic ballad, alternating between a vicious, jerking riff and an almost plaintive section, with a cool guitar solo thrown in and Iggy snarling "do you feel it when you cut me?" with terrifying conviction.
The second half is patchier - opener 1970 is probably the least good actual song on here (still damn fine though), but also marks the debut of excellent sax player Steve Mackay, who plays throughout the rest of the album. The title track is a vicious and extended workout showing clear evidence Iggy had been listening to James Brown, though by no means trying to copy proper funk. It seethes with superb vocals and sax. Check out the 2 CD version for some great out-takes of this. Lastly, we get to LA Blues. Unfortunately the producer wouldn't let them do what they did live, which was break down into LA Blues from the end of Fun House, after building up a full head of steam. Instead, they had to start it cold, and it shows - you really have to be in the mood to make a free-form freakout like this work, and they weren't, especially drummer Scott Asheton - he had to overdub a new drum part over the edit (from a 17 minute jam) used for the album - which was never going to yield ideal results.
So five and a half good tracks out of seven, on a 33 minute album - doesn't sound that hot. But be assured that those five and half tracks are at the absolute pinnacle of loud, vicious, evil, dirty (fill in more adjectives when you've heard it) rock music. Just doesn't get any better than this.
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on 27 August 2007
Now dont listen to the below reviewer who spouts rubbish, this album may not be as tecnhically good as Sabbath or Zeppelin but for its influence and its down and dirty sound (rivalled only by Funkadelic or James Brown at the time) is not to be forgotten.
The album with 3 piping hot numbers (Down on the Street,Loose, and T.V EYE respectively) which hit you over the head with a guitar while iggy pop trips you up with a mic stand. T.V Eye in particular is incredible with its manic impactful opener of Iggy screaming "LOOOORRRRRD!" coupled with Ron Asheton's (contrary to the below reviews) incredibly streamlined and intense guitar riff, make this an iconic classic of 70's rock.
The album does stray from the afforementioned songs in the second half however although Dirt and 1970 are both psychadelic and enjoyable the other songs are crippled for me by the presense of the kingsmens saxophoner. This may well enhance the music for many but not for me.
But that aside this album is a classic and a must own to any self respecting Muso or Rocker. Iconic.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 February 2014
Strangely enough, the title of The Stooges' (or Iggy and The Stooges, if you want to be pedantic) third album could easily be used to describe any of the band's first three 'LPs'. For me, although the third outing, which saw guitarist Ron Asheton 'relegated' to bass guitar duties (succeeding Dave Alexander), whilst James Williamson came in on lead (as well as co-writing the songs with Iggy) saw the band at their most 'sophisticated' (and best), it is on Fun House where their raw, earthy qualities are at their most potent.

These qualities are evident from the first Iggy yelps, screams and howls (indeed, 'the Wolf' being a particular Iggy 'target for emulation' here) of opener Down On The Street, whose decadent urban tale pulsates to Asheton's riff, to be followed by Loose's similarly themed straight-ahead rhythm, with Iggy's repeated lewd refrain, 'I'll stick it deep inside'. Riff-wise, however, the album probably achieves is greatest notoriety with Asheton's pounding motif (and later solo) on T.V. Eye, wherein, following an initial scream of 'Lo-o-o-o-rd', Iggy conducts a love affair as only he can (television or transgender-based, who knows?). Similarly, on album highpoint 1970, Asheton again excels with riff and solo, as the album's mood begins to mirror the positivity and revelry of its title (and saxophonist Steve Mackay adds a new dimension to the band's sound). Incidentally, The Damned's debut album cover of 1970 (under the title I Feel Alright) is also well worth a listen.

Arguably, the album's magnum opuses (or opi, if you prefer), though, are its title song, on which Iggy provides (even for him) a particularly versatile vocal turn and Mackay is allowed more room to play (giving the song a jazzy feel) and (another highlight) Dirt. This latter song, whose sophistication (and feel) is something of a precursor to Raw Power's brilliant Gimme Danger (having started like a sort of No Fun Part 2, as it were), features a particularly heartfelt and soulful Iggy in a tale of unusual romantic positivity, as well as containing another top Asheton solo. And even though album closer, L.A. Blues does overdo the chaotic self-indulgence more than a little, this cannot really detract overmuch from what is a seminal album of the genre.
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on 4 February 2002
To me, the classic Stooges albums are the first two records. "Fun House" being their greatest moment and one of rock's sleaziest statements ever committed to tape. For those born in the 70's or even later, you must remember what NYC used to be like before Giuliani. "Fun House" was recorded in an age when Times Square was full of seedy bars, porn shops, dirty old men, and junkies. This album, along with the band themselves, inhabited those warrens, and are lucky to have escaped alive. "Fun House" is quite possibly the sleaziest album ever recorded. It is not pretty, nor is it clean. Track 2 sums this album up perfectly. Loose. If this album had not been recorded there would never have been The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, or all the other numerous punk bands that have come our way in the last 30 years. The amazing thing about "Fun House" is that it sounds as if it was recorded yesterday. It has aged well and rocks harder than most bands today. A true classic that no rock fan should go without.
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on 1 September 2005
Iggy Pop. He'll soon get an OAPs bus pass and he still prances round the stage like he's 18 and loaded on ketamine. As much as he can run rings around any new musician, this album is the best he has ever produced.
Let's just get to the point here. This album created punk rock. This album invented Sonic Youth. This album was regarded by Lester Bangs as one of the best albums of all time. This album simply rocks. At its most primal, most fun, most dangerous. If you have never heard it, you are in for a real treat, as the new remastering job is superb, and the bonus tracks very enjoyable.
However nothing can beat the force of 1970, when the free jazz saxophone solo kicks in...the future is born.
I love this album-could write about it forever, but I'm not-instead I'm gonna go into the other room, crank up Down on the Street and throw myself around like an 18 year old on ketamine.
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on 14 February 2010
I remember my surprise when Nude & Rude - The best of Iggy Pop was released and there wasn't a single track from Funhouse on it. Surely this was The Stooges' finest hour - the one time when flawed (or maybe floored?) genius Iggy got everything right. Then it dawned on me, you just can't take a song from this album in isolation and clumsily wedge it into a 'best of'. This isn't so much a collection of songs but more a rock 'n' roll symphony in seven movements perfectly charting a trajectory from taut, muscular rock to pure primal noise.
The album opens superbly with the driving, rhythmic 'Down on the Street' more direct, more pounding than anything on the first Stooges album then they effortlessly go up a gear with 'Loose': an incredibly catchy bass line underpins a superbly aggressive guitar workout. The onslaught continues with 'TV Eye', with its Stone Age drumming, ear splitting guitar, and Iggy's extraordinary primal scream. Where do you go from there? The album's centrepiece and one of the finest songs the Stooges recorded, 'Dirt'. It's a sexy, slow-burning, seven minute garage-blues workout - a million miles from the dull filler 'We Will Fall' on their first album. "Do you feel it when you touch me? There's a fire" recites Iggy.
Dirt marks the turning point between the more structured songs on the first half of the record and the perfectly orchestrated degeneration into pure noise on the second half. This starts with '1970' which picks up where TV Eye left off but turns into an infectious wig-out with wailing saxophone joining in as the band whip themselves into a frenzy. Then comes the title track which is more a loose-limbed continuation on the same theme with blasting sax perfectly interwoven with Ron Asheton's guitar playing right from the word go and Iggy rapping at the mic, improvising off of the rhythm like some kind of garage rock James Brown.
The Stooges start this album like a tightly coiled spring and unravel gloriously as the it progresses. Hence, L.A. Blues brings it to a close in the only possible way: complete meltdown. It's 5 minutes of pure discord which must have been recorded in a single take as it's impossible to imagine anybody putting themselves through that more than once. Yet it isn't unbearable or pointless as most tracks of its type usually are (who has ever listened to 'Revolution 9' by the Beatles more than once?). It has no lyrics, it has no tune, it has no need of either, it is a truly beautiful piece of noise. Essentially with Funhouse the Stooges are peeling away the layers of Rock n' Roll and stripping it back to find out what lays at the heart of their music and L.A blues is just that - a bit like a painting of a pure emotion.
So there's only one way to listen to Funhouse: right through from start to finish and turned up as loud as possible. I personally find that it's the most cathartic experience rock 'n' roll has yet produced - This is the best of Iggy Pop.
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on 5 February 2013
If you haven't heard Funhouse, just buy it. It is difficult to believe that any other rock band could produce an album such as powerful as this. There is an undiluted arrogance, desperation and humour in this record that reflects the lives of the people who performed it. This is amongst the greatest rock music in history. It hasn't aged a minute.
Funhouse convinces because, intentionally or not, there is a truth to it. The reason that this album's brutality cannot be compared to other rock bands (such as uriah heep commented on in other reviews) is because other groups music is "performance". This isn't an act.
To create the music of the first three stooges albums, Iggy, at least, appears to have led an extremely destructive lifestyle. This is particularly evident on this album. It is understandable that few albums have this power, who in their right mind would want to experience iggy's lifestyle to reflect and produce such music.

I think Funhouse is flawless:- the production; magnificent singing; Ron Asheton's chiming, echoey, ghost guitar; the group's collective performance; even the (u.s.) album design. I am pleased that Iggy has finally reaped the rewards of his efforts. He is a fascinating character responsible for five of the the best albums ever made. This is his masterpiece, The star rating should be at six for this one.
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on 8 January 2009
Just under four decades since this one was released, and still punk has failed to produce anything as vicious, feral and aggressive as this here beauty despite valiant and noble attempts by such heroes as Henry Rollins and Nick 'The Stripper' Cave et al. All seven originals are absolute punk classics, from opener "Down On the Street" with its crunching riff to the spastic, convuluting, revolting ender "L.A. Blues."

The extra tracks are, incidentally, excellent. One gets a real, tangible insight into how the album got its unique energy -- live take after live take after live take, until the songs entered the band's very soul and the band's Detroit street soul enters the songs.

Few bands manage to make artistic progressions like these boys did at all, let alone in as short a time as the second album. Fun little garage rock classic, followed by this loose, vicious, verging-on-jazzy proto-punk definer, followed by an snarling slice of classic American rock with schorching hot guitar lines for zombies. To call this a sophomore slump, however, is totally correct: Iggy & co are so slumped by the second album they're neanderthal, and that's just what rock and roll was always about: music a chimp would be able to recreate. For an album that arrived so early in punk's history so long ago it sure does sound fresh to these ears.
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