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Rock 'n' Roll Stripped to the Bone,
This review is from: Fun House (Deluxe Edition) (Audio CD)
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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Initial post: 3 Jan 2011 23:23:10 GMT
The same review twice - sort it out Amazon!
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